Is possible with rsync to copy multiple files from a source directory to a dest directory with multiple subdirectories that don't exist? Or use install -D with multiples files to a directory that doesn't exist?

Also I looked at cp --parents but used the name of the source directory. Is it possible that cp can select a destination directory that doesn't exist and copy all files to it after it makes it?

I have this question: Copy a file to a directory that doesn't exist with only one command (Linux) Merge with: How can I copy a file and create the target directories at the same time?

But the solutions for copying one file, I looking at something like:

cp /etc/*.conf ~/mytest/ 

where mytest doesn't exist and /etc/*.conf is more than one file. Is it possible with cp and with only one command is better?

1 Answer 1


Try with rsync command:

rsync -av /etc/*.conf ~/mytest

In general you can use

rsync -av In/*conf Out/NewDir

The situation before is:

├── d1.conf
├── d2.conf
├── d3.txt
├── Sub_In_1
└── Sub_In_2.conf
    └── SubIn2.Files

└── Out_OldFiles

After the command will be

├── NewDir
│   ├── d1.conf
│   ├── d2.conf
│   └── Sub_In_2.conf
│       └── SubIn2.Files
└── Out_OldFiles

In this case you select not only common files *.conf but even directory Sub_In_2.conf. You will copy all the selection (files and directory) in a newly created directory NewDir below the Out directory.

The option -a include even the -r one (recurse into directories)

  -a, --archive               archive mode; equals -rlptgoD (no -H,-A,-X)


  • The rsync recursive option is -r (and not -R).
  • In cp -r and -R correspond to the same option.
  • The option -v is not necessary it gives only some info more.
  • Withrsync you can be used even between 2 different computer using host1 for the origin host and host2 for the destination host.

The last command is

rsync  -av host1:InputDir host2:OutputDir/NewDirThatDidNotExists
  • This should be an edit to your exisiting answer...
    – jasonwryan
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 22:48
  • I start to answer before you modify and clarify the question. Now it is more clear, before it should be one of the 2 cases (slightly different)... More practical examples can help different people maybe...
    – Hastur
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 23:01
  • Compacted the answer is one. @jasonwryan Check if it's better now. For JHG Does it solve?
    – Hastur
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 7:39

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