Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. 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'm backing up an old hard drive and copying about 300GB of files. It had about 50GB left when I got a kernel panic and now I want to resume the copying. Is there a way to do this in Ubuntu? (A don't copy if file already exists but copy all files that don't already exist argument?)

share|improve this question
This will depend on how you were doing the copy.... – belacqua Nov 21 '12 at 17:18

rsync usually only copies what's missing or changed, there seem to be also some GUIs for it.

The command for you might look like as follows, copying recursively and preserving permissions, timestamps etc. (archive), verbose output, use compression (zip) during transfer, showing Progress:

rsync -avzP /media/oldhd/ /media/newhd/ in some casese you may need to prepend sudo if files are from different users.

share|improve this answer

What did you start the copy operation with?

Nautilus gives you this option:

Nautilus dialog

Hit the 'apply this action to all files' and it will skip all that has already been copied.

But it does depend on how you copy the files.

Command line: cp with the option -n will skip all existing files.

share|improve this answer
Unfortunately, this is not a good solution. If any files were only partially copied, then skipping them will leave the half-copied version at the destination. – Ryan Thompson May 16 '11 at 9:12
On our systems partially copied files are flagged by the system and both nautilus and cp overwrite that file. Now this might be redhat only but I assumed this to be Linux's way... – Rinzwind May 16 '11 at 10:42
I've never heard of any such feature. Can you point to a manual page or other documentation somewhere that describes this? – Ryan Thompson May 16 '11 at 22:32

You can use a synchronization software like freefilesync to compare the folders (by file content), and finish the transfer by setting up the appropriate synchronisation configurations.

Look here on how to install freefilesync.

You can also try "conduit" from the official repositories, but this I have never tried.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.