XCOPY command : Using the /EXCLUDE flag

XCOPY is a command that is present in XP’s command prompt.

XCOPY allows one to copy both files and directories in one command vs copying a folder or files in a folder one at a time using the COPY command. COPY does not allow you to copy subdirectories w/the *.*

Here is an example of when would use XCOPY vs COPY:

I have a folder on my C: drive called DATA
and under this folder i have a ton of text files (.txt) and also 3 folders called 1 2 and 3 which also have .txt files in them.

However, in the folders there are files with the name SECRET on them that i do not want copied.

I want to then copy this data w/the folder structure intact to a folder called BKUP on my C: drive.

Here is how we would use XCOPY and the /EXCLUDE tag to do this:

1. either open command prompt up or create new text file (if you plan to make .bat file). we will do a new text file and in turn make it into a batch file. after we create the new text file, rename it to test.bat for now.

2. right click the test.bat file and choose to Edit or Open With > Notepad.

3. we will add this command (i will explain each flag used)

XCOPY C:\DATA\*.* C:\BKUP /S /I /Y /EXCLUDE:c:\excludelist.txt

the /S flag = copies all directories and subdirectories except empty ones (use the /E instead if you want empty folders also copied)

the /I flag = If the destination does not exist and we are copying more than one file, it will assume the destination is a folder

the /Y flag = Suppresses all prompts to overwrite destination file if it already exists

the /EXCLUDE flag = this will point to a file that has the excluded file types or folder or file names. in my example, i created a text file called: excludelist.txt in the root of my C: drive.

in that excludelist.txt, i then added the word SECRET on the first line. If you have more than one excluded item; be sure to put each on a new line.

So once i run this batch file, it will look at the excludelist.txt file and then exclude any thing that contains the terms i put in the file from being copied (so none of my files w/SECRET in the name will be copied).

The main thing to remember when using the /EXCLUDE flag is that you have to put the location of the excluded file list after the flag; not the actual excluded items/terms. That initially was the most confusing part. You can create multiple excluded file lists; you would need to use the + list (ie XCOPY c:\* v:\ /EXCLUDE:c:\excluded1.txt+c:\excluded2.txt )


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