Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know that xcopy has more options however are there any benefits to using copy rather than xcopy?

share|improve this question
Which copy? This one? This one? – JdeBP Feb 9 '12 at 12:12
up vote 21 down vote accepted
  1. xcopy is an external program, while copy is part of the interpreter (cmd.exe, This means that xcopy might not be present on another machine or a rescue disk.

    Since we have Windows and rescue CDs, that isn't really an issue anymore.

  2. copy can concatenate files.

    copy file1 + file2 file3

    creates a file (file3) which contains file1's and file2's contents.

  3. copy can copy more than just files.

    For example,

    copy con file

    lets you write directly from the keyboard (console) to file.

    Likewise, you can print a file using

    copy file prn
    copy file \\computer\printer

    where the latter is for shared printers.

    You can even combine the above: The command

    copy con prn

    lets you write directly to the printer.

share|improve this answer
Also, it's one less character to type when invoking it. :) – Scandalon May 31 '12 at 21:33
Wow, thanks for info regarding files concatenation. I've just found out it and understood why my result file was so big. You've made my day. – Johnny_D Oct 10 '13 at 13:57

I think the main difference is (or was) that xcopy is able to copy folder hierarchies and copy was intended to work on files only.
That being said, I don't think there is anything to gain (functionality- or performance-wise) from using copy.

Please note, even xcopy is outdated by today's standards. Robocopy is the new copy utility of choice on modern Windows platforms.

Also note that all the mentioned copy utilities have Wikipedia articles that could contain further information:

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .