Ilya Zakharevich


File::Copy - Copy files or filehandles


        use File::Copy;


        use POSIX;
        use File::Copy cp;



The File::Copy module provides a basic function copy which takes two parameters: a file to copy from and a file to copy to. Either argument may be a string, a FileHandle reference or a FileHandle glob. Obviously, if the first argument is a filehandle of some sort, it will be read from, and if it is a file name it will be opened for reading. Likewise, the second argument will be written to (and created if need be). Note that passing in files as handles instead of names may lead to loss of information on some operating systems; it is recommended that you use file names whenever possible.

An optional third parameter can be used to specify the buffer size used for copying. This is the number of bytes from the first file, that wil be held in memory at any given time, before being written to the second file. The default buffer size depends upon the file, but will generally be the whole file (up to 2Mb), or 1k for filehandles that do not reference files (eg. sockets).

You may use the syntax use File::Copy "cp" to get at the "cp" alias for this function. The syntax is exactly the same.

File::Copy also provides the syscopy routine, which copies the file specified in the first parameter to the file specified in the second parameter, preserving OS-specific attributes and file structure. For Unix systems, this is equivalent to the simple copy routine. For VMS systems, this calls the rmscopy routine (see below). For OS/2 systems, this calls the syscopy XSUB directly.

Special behavior under VMS

If the second argument to copy is not a file handle for an already opened file, then copy will perform an RMS copy of the input file to a new output file, in order to preserve file attributes, indexed file structure, etc. The buffer size parameter is ignored. If the second argument to copy is a Perl handle to an opened file, then data is copied using Perl operators, and no effort is made to preserve file attributes or record structure.

The RMS copy routine may also be called directly under VMS as File::Copy::rmscopy (or File::Copy::syscopy, which is just an alias for this routine).


The first and second arguments may be strings, typeglobs, or typeglob references; they are used in all cases to obtain the filespec of the input and output files, respectively. The name and type of the input file are used as defaults for the output file, if necessary.

A new version of the output file is always created, which inherits the structure and RMS attributes of the input file, except for owner and protections (and possibly timestamps; see below). All data from the input file is copied to the output file; if either of the first two parameters to rmscopy is a file handle, its position is unchanged. (Note that this means a file handle pointing to the output file will be associated with an old version of that file after rmscopy returns, not the newly created version.)

The third parameter is an integer flag, which tells rmscopy how to handle timestamps. If it is < 0, none of the input file's timestamps are propagated to the output file. If it is > 0, then it is interpreted as a bitmask: if bit 0 (the LSB) is set, then timestamps other than the revision date are propagated; if bit 1 is set, the revision date is propagated. If the third parameter to rmscopy is 0, then it behaves much like the DCL COPY command: if the name or type of the output file was explicitly specified, then no timestamps are propagated, but if they were taken implicitly from the input filespec, then all timestamps other than the revision date are propagated. If this parameter is not supplied, it defaults to 0.

Like copy, rmscopy returns 1 on success. If an error occurs, it sets $!, deletes the output file, and returns 0.


Returns 1 on success, 0 on failure. $! will be set if an error was encountered.


File::Copy was written by Aaron Sherman <> in 1995. The VMS-specific code was added by Charles Bailey <> in March 1996.

2 POD Errors

The following errors were encountered while parsing the POD:

Around line 176:

'=item' outside of any '=over'

Around line 210:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head1'