I'd like to use xcopy on a Windows machine to pull out all files with .png extension into a single directory.

I tried xcopy C:\folder\*.png /s C:\png\, but it is keeping the sub-directories inside \folder, (for example in C:\png, there is C:\png\a\b\c\img.png) which I don't want. I simply want all .png inside C:\png without it retaining the directory structure that was in C:\folder.


3 Answers 3


This can be done with good old for:

for /r C:\Folder %f in (*.png) do @copy "%f" C:\png

Nothing fancy.

  • 1
    It works! Care to explain what the %f is for?
    – bobobobo
    Nov 18, 2010 at 19:13
  • It's the loop variable.
    – Joey
    Nov 18, 2010 at 21:53
  • 5
    This didn't work for me, I got something to the effect of f" was unexpected at this time. Changing %f to %%f worked. However, I was running this in a batch file: If you are using the FOR command at the command line rather than in a batch program, use just one percent sign: %G instead of %%G. ss64.com/nt/for.html Dec 8, 2014 at 0:27
  • 1
    Uhm, yes. That's expected and exactly as you quoted. Where I'd your confusion coming from?
    – Joey
    Dec 8, 2014 at 22:00
  • 1
    @kayleeFrye_onDeck: As far as I know there are no special variables. The only thing that springs to mind is that people unfamiliar with for may get confused about the two different d in things like %~dd. The for documentation suggests to use uppercase letters for variables to avoid confusion, but substitutions are still clearly distinguishable from the variable name, I think.
    – Joey
    Jan 20, 2017 at 8:29

If you have cygwin installed, this would be a job for find:

cp `find /cygdrive/c/folder/* -name '*png'` /cygdrive/c/png/

(though that will have trouble if any of the filenames have spaces in them - you'll find some variant of a find command that will work in all circumstances though)

If you are running Vista, 2003 or 2008 then the less flexible but still useful "forfiles" is your friend. Something like:

FORFILES /P c:\folder\ /M *.png /S /C "cmd /c copy @file c:\png\"

Note: I've not tested either of the above commands, but in theory they should work...

  • +1 just verified that the FORFILES command works. I ran it twice and it copied the 2nd time w/out prompt, so I assume it just overwrites if it finds duplicates.
    – hyperslug
    Aug 8, 2009 at 18:39

The batch file below is what I've ended up using for a bit more flexibility.
It builds on the accepted solution.

echo off

REM Copying all files with specified pattern recursively from source-directory and sub-folders into destination folder
REM Variables
REM   SRCFOLDER: Specifiy source directory. Search is recursivly done within that location. 
REM   SRCPATTERN: Search patter of one or multiple files, separated by space  (Used in "for in ()" type  loop
REM   DSTFOLDER: Specifiy destination directory. All files get copied into it.
REM   XCOPYOPTONS: Specify some copy options. /d only copies "newer" files, /y  suppresses overwrite prompts
set DSTFOLDER=C:\temp\found\
set SRCFOLDER=C:\temp\test\
set SRCPATTERN=*.txt *.asc

for /R %SRCFOLDER% %%f in (%SRCPATTERN%) do xcopy "%%f" %DSTFOLDER% %XCOPYOPTIONS%

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