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How can I use --nice=-10 with cp command in linux ?

Following are the example when I tried the option and it gives the error unrecognized option EX- error:

cp --nice=-20 -r dir1 /d/
cp: unrecognized option `--nice=-20'
Try `cp --help' for more information.
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

nice is a command on its own, it isn't an option to the cp command.

From man nice:

       nice - run a program with modified scheduling priority

       nice [OPTION] [COMMAND [ARG]...]

       Run COMMAND with an adjusted niceness, which affects process scheduling.
       With no COMMAND, print the current niceness.  Nicenesses range from -20
       (most favorable scheduling) to 19 (least favorable).

       -n, --adjustment=N
              add integer N to the niceness (default 10)

So for your purposes, you would use this:

nice -n -20 cp -r dir1 /d/
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@sreeraj also, look into "renice" for commands that are already in progress. – Sirex Nov 5 '11 at 8:37
ionice is likelier to be effective with and I/O bound process like cp. – BillThor Nov 5 '11 at 17:05

With cp you may be more I/O-limited than CPU-limited. To adjust the I/O priority, you can use the ionice command - see man ionice. For example, to get 'Best effort' priority with highest preference among all best effort processes, run

ionice -c 2 -n 0 cp -r dir1 /d/

You can also combine it with nice to adjust both CPU and I/O priority:

ionice -c 2 -n 0 nice -n -20 cp -r dir1 /d/
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If you renice the process it implicitly renices IO too. "The priority within the best effort class will be dynamically derived from the cpu nice level of the process: io_priority = (cpu_nice + 20) / 5." – Matthew Ife Nov 6 '11 at 16:42

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