How to Copy & Paste Files Using Command Prompt

Although many people regard the command line as something to be relegated to the dustbin of computing history and forgotten, it is still a powerful tool for accomplishing any number of basic computer tasks. One task that is commonly done using a graphical user interface is the copying of files. In a GUI, this procedure takes two distinct steps--copying and pasting--on a command line, it can be done in a single step.

Businesswoman typing on computer
credit: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Finding the file to be copied

Step

Open a command prompt. On a Windows computer, press "Windows-R" to get the run prompt, and then type in "CMD.exe." On a Unix-based machine, open your terminal program.

Step

Wait for the terminal to appear. On a Windows machine, type in the following to select the drive your files are located on: ":/" Replacewith the appropriate letter corresponding to your drive. Skip this step for a Unix-based operating system.

Step

Type in the following: "cd/" Replacewith the name of the folder that your target folder resides in. Replacewith the target folder's name. There may be more than one parent folder; if so, add the them into the path as follows: "cd//"

Step

Make a note of the destination folder you wish to copy your files into. It should be something like this: "/"

Step

Enter the following command to copy your chosen file from the original folder to the new one:

Step

In Windows: "copy:///"

Step

In Unix: "cp///

Step

Replace the variables with the above-mentioned info, and make sure to include all of the spaces and slashes.