I'm having problems when copying large files using nautilus (it gets stuck). I need to copy, using cp. I would like to know if there are any parameters that shows the % copied and also the transfer speed.

  • 3
    Midnight Commander also works well, and has a pretty text-based UI with progress bars, but might not be installed. Try mc on the command prompt. Also, obviously, it's not cp.
    – user
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 14:24
  • 4
    Using rsync with --progress just made me figure out what is happening. It gets stuck when it reaches the 100%, and then last a couple of minutes in end up. I think is the same that is happening with nautilus. Anyway that is another question already, so the best answer for this question is the rsync --progress, it shows size, %, speed and elapsed time.
    – user27807
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 15:16
  • I have a question about the rsync --progress. Assume that I have the directory A with files a and b and the empty directory B, when I copy A to B it shows the progress of each file, i.e. the progress of a and the progress of b. Is there any way to show the overall progress?
    – user27807
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 15:33
  • 2
    one problem with rsync is that it runs slower than a pure copy. On my big server, the difference is 60MB/s and 300MB/s respectively.
    – pdwalker
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 17:37
  • 1
    @pdwalker even with the -W option? on all my hosts rsync is almost as fast as cp ... so close i regularly use rsync instead of cp.
    – Skaperen
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 10:48

19 Answers 19


rsync version 3.0.9+ has a --progress flag, which shows progress per file:

rsync --progress SOURCE DEST

rsync of any version has a --info=progress2 flag, which shows the overall percentage:

rsync --info=progress2 SOURCE DEST
  • 6
    --info=progress2 still hasn't made it into a default repository and here it is 2015. Seems like a good idea. Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 8:27
  • 2
    --info=progress2 finally included on version 3.1.0 protocol version 31. Maybe you could edit your answer, yzT. Commented May 9, 2015 at 21:14
  • 3
    @ReneFroger although that might be the real speed (depending on device), often in Linux that fast speed is really false, and after the copy has been finished the system is still writing to the device, unlike in Windows that you can eject the device almost immediately. If you copy large files you can notice how it start at that fast speed but then it goes down till the standard one.
    – user27807
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 5:46
  • 12
    it worked for me with just --progress. rsync version 3.0.9
    – adrianTNT
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:11
  • 2
    rsync --info=progress2 source dest produces error skipping directory source. You must add a -r or -a option, or similar, to fix this. I recommend -a and also adding --stats to show a nice output summary at the end. Lastly, add time in front to see how long the total process took. So, do this instead: time rsync -a --info=progress2 --stats source destination. Using this command I just duplicated a 42GB directory within a fast SSD drive in ~2.5 minutes! Incredible! Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 2:48

If you allow other tools than cp it's surely possible. For a single file you can use pv. It's a small tool providing nice statistics.

pv inputfile > outputfile

If you have multiple files or directories you can use tar:

tar c sourceDirectory | pv | tar x -C destinationDirectory

You can wrap it in a shell function. It's less to type and you get semantics close to the ones of cp. Here's a very simple (and not error-proof!) function:

cpstat () {
  tar c "$1" | pv | tar x -C "$2"

Note that some versions of tar don't support the abovementioned syntax (e.g. Solaris tar) and you have to use the following variant:

cpstat () {
  tar cf - "$1" | pv | (cd "$2";tar xf -)

You call it like this

cpstat sourceDirectory destinationDirectory

You can enhance it further, so that pv provides an estimation of the remaining time.

Another solution (as frostschutz mentioned in a comment) is to use rsync with the --progress option:

rsync --progress -a sourceDirectory destinationDirectory
  • 8
    This will give you transfer speed, but not ETA, because pv doesn't know how much data will come through the pipe. You can specify this using -s. E.g. first do du -sh sourceDirectory to get a (rough) idea, and then pass it to pv, like this: pv -s 100m.
    – Jan Fabry
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 15:25
  • 1
    --info=progress2 gives you directory level progress statistics. Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 23:40
  • vbuf (debian, ubuntu) is a good bit faster than pv, probably because of its virtual ring buffer
    – Skaperen
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 10:56
  • @Skaperen I don't know vbuf. But as it seems it is in Debian unstable at the moment and therefore often not available on Servers which are usually running Debian stable.
    – Marco
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 18:35
  • 1
    Of you want speed, amount copied, % copied, time, and ETA: cat $1 | pv -a -r -b -p -e -s $(stat --printf="%s" $1) > $2 Note that pv will slow it down if you have very fast disks.
    – sudo
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 18:51

rsync works the best for showing the progress during the copying progress.


rsync -avh --progress sourceDirectory destinationDirectory

Is it possible to see cp speed and percent copied?

Yes, it is possible to display the progress of the command cp on the terminal.

Method #1: (use progress)

Open a new terminal and type progress it will display the progress of cp command and others command such as:

cp, mv, dd, tar, cat, rsync, grep, fgrep, egrep, cut, sort, md5sum, sha1sum, sha224sum, sha256sum, sha384sum, sha512sum, adb, gzip, gunzip, bzip2, bunzip2, xz, unxz, lzma, unlzma, 7z, zcat, bzcat, lzcat, split, gpg

If you didn't install progress, you can install it from repository, for example in the CentOS with this command: yum -y install progress.

Then after you run cp command in the background, or after run cp normally, open another terminal, so just try this command:

# progress -m

See output:

[30904] cp /home/user/file.mp4
        2.3% (200.9 MiB / 8.4 GiB) 3.6 MiB/s remaining 0:38:58

Method #2: (use patch cp)

Or download the GNU coreutils and patch it.

cd /tmp
wget http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/coreutils/coreutils-8.21.tar.xz
tar -xvJf coreutils-8.21.tar.xz
cd coreutils-8.21
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/atdt/advcpmv/master/advcpmv-0.5-8.21.patch
patch -p1 -i advcpmv-0.5-8.21.patch



Copy the two files cp and mv loacated under coreutils-8.21/src/ to /usr/local/bin:

cp src/cp /usr/local/bin/cp
cp src/mv /usr/local/bin/mv

Or copy it using your file manager as root

Add the following lines to your ~/.bashrc:

alias cp='cp -gR'
alias mv='mv -g'

Logout and Login

The progress bar can be displayed without the –g or –progress-bar as recommended by the Author

See output:

0 files copied so far...                                              194.4 MiB /   8.4 GiB
[||--------------------------------------------------------------------------------]  2.3 %
Copying at   3.3 MiB/s (about 0h 5m 47s remaining)
/home/user/file.mp4                                                   194.4 MiB / 446.1 MiB
[||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||----------------------------------------------] 43.6 %



As explained in other answers, cp doesn't provide that functionality. However, progress (formerly called cv) is a small tool which is very helpful in providing this missing feature.

This tool can be described as a Tiny Dirty Linux Only* C command that looks for coreutils basic commands (cp, mv, dd, tar, gzip/gunzip, cat, ...) currently running on your system and displays the percentage of copied data.

I've been using it for the past few months and it's solid.

  • doesn't seem to work with all filesystems (e.g. cifs) but +1, didn't know such crazy ting exits Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 17:23
  • 1
    Note that this project is now called "progress - Coreutils Progress Viewer (formerly known as cv)".
    – chappjc
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 17:34
  • 2
    This progress tool appears to be fairly rudimentary. I just tried it to monitor the progress of a large cp -a job copying many files and directories (recursive). It seems to be only capable of showing the progress of the currently copying file, not the whole cp job. Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 5:25
  • 1
    progress is another one of these underappreciated tools that the unix world is full of.
    – Popup
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 9:31

Noticed this posting was somewhat old. But as I made a solution to the issue at hand, I thought I'd post my solution.

Scenario: We have a very large directory-structure we want to copy, so we issue the command cp -R sourcedir destdir in one terminal window.

Open another terminal window or push the process to the background (Ctrl+Z,bg<CR>), then let's make a progress indicator the ghetto way:

We first get the total size of the directory structure we want to copy, you do this with:

du -sh /path/sourcedirectory/

Convert the result to gigabytes (G), then substitute the n for the result you got in the variable sourcesize. Once you've inserted the sourcesize and destdir (destination directory), run the command below.

while true; do sourcesize=n destdir=/path/destinationdirectory/ copyprogress="$(export | du -sh $destdir | awk '{print $1}' | sed 's/[^0-9.]*//g' )" ; echo "scale=3 ; $copyprogress / $sourcesize * 100" | bc | xargs echo -n ; echo % completed ; sleep 10 ; done

This will print the progress every 10 seconds with messages like:

0.100% completed
0.200% completed
0.300% completed 
... etc

I'm aware that this solution did not address the speed of copying, but it would be possible to add that by by expanding the commands above, possibly making it into a bash script so it would be easier to read. For instance by checking how much data is copied pr. n time unit, the speed should be trivial to calculate and display.

  • This is actually perfect for my use case, so thanks for posting it! I want to know about the progress of copying a huge directory with thousands of files, not just one file, so the other solutions don't really help me.
    – Ibrahim
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 18:09
  • This is great, especially in cases such as the one I am experiencing right now: Remotely started a huge mv-job to move terrabytes of backups from one storage pool to another, without thinking about the implications beforehand. Now I can easily background the process and peek in on it. Awesome!
    – Riley
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 23:13

To improve on Marco's answer, today I wrote this version of cpstat, so you can copy many directories and use the last parameter as the destination path. Note that if you use a relative deep path as source, you can, thanks to tar, automatically create the same dependent directory tree.

function cpstat () {

    tar -cf - "${@: 1: $#-1}" |
    pv -s "$( du -cs -BK --apparent-size "${@: 1: $#-1}" |
              tail -n 1 |
              cut -d "$(echo -e "\t")" -f 1)" |
    ( cd "${@: $#}"; tar -xf - )


dd status=progress

Option added in GNU Coreutils 8.24+ (Ubuntu 16.04):

dd if=src of=dst status=progress

Stdout is a periodically updated line like:

462858752 bytes (463 MB, 441 MiB) copied, 38 s, 12,2 MB/s

See also: How do you monitor the progress of dd? | Ask Ubuntu


Not in a standard version of cp.

You could background the cp and list the size while waiting for cp to finish.

I use this perl to monitor growth of a single file but it runs externally to the cp (or whatever else I'm doing)


I found this to use, worked great:

sudo watch lsof -p`pgrep -x cp`

from a comment by Mike on the question how to check progress of running cp


Even though rsync will give you some progress stats, if you want a progress bar you should use pv.

You can use cpv, a wrapper for pv with an easier syntax, more similar to that of cp that you can use to recursively copy directories

enter image description here

You can get it here


Another simple solution is to just watch the output folder as follows:

Linux/Cygwin: watch -n 10 --differences du -sk --apparent-size <WATCHED_FOLDER>

FreeBSD: gnu-watch -n 10 --differences du -sk <WATCHED_FOLDER>

This handy utility will run du and highlight the differences.

One other potential solution would be to write a simple script that loops, calling du and spitting out a rough estimate of the throughput.


Using a tool like mc (midnight commander) can be a good alternate option to other answers.

It's a simple file manager that shows you copy / move progress.


I just had a case where cp was more or less blocked due to a FUSE bug in the receiving filesystem.

If you can't just switch from cp (i.e. because --sparse=always) and want something that is actually reliable for progress, go via /proc.

Every 2.0s: cat /proc/20977/io                                                      Thu Sep 28 04:08:57 2017

rchar: 268573800
wchar: 268500992
syscr: 4112
syscw: 4097
read_bytes: 268697600
write_bytes: 0
cancelled_write_bytes: 0

Use rsync. However, rsync --info=progress2 source dest produces error skipping directory source. You must add a -r or -a option, or similar, to fix this. I recommend -a and also adding --stats to show a nice output summary at the end. Lastly, add time in front to see how long the total process took.

So, do this instead:

time rsync -a --info=progress2 --stats source destination 

See my other answer here for more details.

Using this command I just duplicated a 42GB directory within a fast SSD drive in ~2.5 minutes! Incredible!

Here's the output. Notice that the "real" time this run took was 2.798 seconds. That's because I forgot to use time on the first run where it actually did the copy, so this is just what the output looks like when everything is already the same in source and destination.

$ time rsync -a --info=progress2 --stats mydir mydir_copy
              0   0%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (xfr#0, to-chk=0/289187)   

Number of files: 289,187 (reg: 266,595, dir: 22,580, link: 12)
Number of created files: 0
Number of deleted files: 0
Number of regular files transferred: 0
Total file size: 48,621,942,935 bytes
Total transferred file size: 0 bytes
Literal data: 0 bytes
Matched data: 0 bytes
File list size: 2,096,688
File list generation time: 0.017 seconds
File list transfer time: 0.000 seconds
Total bytes sent: 11,036,784
Total bytes received: 24,420

sent 11,036,784 bytes  received 24,420 bytes  4,424,481.60 bytes/sec
total size is 48,621,942,935  speedup is 4,395.72

real    0m2.798s
user    0m1.115s
sys 0m1.935s


Here's what it looks like doing a full copy of a 48GB folder. It took 3 min 13.408 sec!

$ time rsync -a --info=progress2 --stats mydir mydir_bak
 48,621,942,066  99%  239.88MB/s    0:03:13 (xfr#266595, to-chk=0/289188)   

Number of files: 289,188 (reg: 266,595, dir: 22,581, link: 12)
Number of created files: 289,188 (reg: 266,595, dir: 22,581, link: 12)
Number of deleted files: 0
Number of regular files transferred: 266,595
Total file size: 48,621,942,935 bytes
Total transferred file size: 48,621,942,066 bytes
Literal data: 48,621,942,066 bytes
Matched data: 0 bytes
File list size: 12,515,323
File list generation time: 0.034 seconds
File list transfer time: 0.000 seconds
Total bytes sent: 48,656,219,349
Total bytes received: 5,209,801

sent 48,656,219,349 bytes  received 5,209,801 bytes  251,480,254.01 bytes/sec
total size is 48,621,942,935  speedup is 1.00

real    3m13.408s
user    2m40.937s
sys 1m0.627s


  1. [my answer] Detailed description and examples of many ways to use rsync, including mirroring (with deletion not just addition of files): https://superuser.com/questions/1271882/convert-ntfs-partition-to-ext4-how-to-copy-the-data/1464264#1464264
  2. [my answer] https://askubuntu.com/questions/17275/how-to-show-the-transfer-progress-and-speed-when-copying-files-with-cp/1275972#1275972

VCP – copy files in a curses interface (Show the Progress Bar in Linux).

DESCRIPTION: vcp copies files and directories in a curses interface, with text only output available.  its options and output are similar to BSD's cp while adding some new features.

It provides information on:

  • files copied and left to copy
  • data written and total data size
  • data being written every second
  • two status bars, one showing current file status, the other total status (except with 1 file, both show current), and percentage

when output is sent to the console:

  • a status bar
  • size copied and speed

VCP man page: https://linux.die.net/man/1/vcp

Download vcp-2.2.tar.gz from:


Dependence: curses.h (libncurses-dev).

On Ubuntu, install:

sudo apt-get install libncurses-dev


sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev


make && make install


man vcp

With BSD cp, if you use ctrl+t you will get an update on the percentage, if you must use cp

  • 2
    unfortunately this works only with BSD cp, not with GNU one. Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 5:46

On specific appliances like VMWare ESXi where you either have no control over what's installed or have no rights to install, you can see percentage per file and speed by using scp on localhost instead of plain cp:

scp -rv item-to-copy [email protected]:/path/to/destination

scp on ESX

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. Please don't post screenshots of console output. They are often difficult to read, the content will not show up in search engine results, and the OP will need to type-copy command examples when trying to apply your solution. Instead, paste it into the question using code formatting.
    – AdminBee
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 15:04
  • oh, my bad, i used screenshot to show what output is like using above command on an ESX server. command used is writen on answer but I'll take note on formatting.
    – Albirew
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 19:11

You can use curl as it also supports the FILE protocol to read local files:

curl -o /tmp/mycopy.tar file://localhost/home/username/myfile.tar

You will get a lot of stats like current speed, average speed, percentage copied, time spent...

To copy multiple files, have a look at its globbing feature.

You must log in to answer this question.