Is there any way to copy directory from one filesystem to another but remove the partial file in case we run out of disk space on target filesystem?
I searched cp and rsync manuals but did not find anything; I could do this in a shell script but wanted to avoid it if possible.
At present I do:

cp -r /source /dest


rsync -avr /source /dest


  • Does rsync really leave partial files? – jkj Jan 19 '12 at 8:14

If you look at the rsync manual, you can read:

     By default, rsync will delete any partially transferred file if the transfer is
     interrupted. In some circumstances it is more desirable to keep partially 
     transferred files. Using the --partial option tells rsync to keep the partial file
     which should make a subsequent transfer of the rest of the file much faster.

This means that you don't need to worry about partial transfer.

You can make sure of the --partial-dir=DIR option. Then, you can remove all files under this directory if you want to eliminate partially transferred files.

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  • 1
    Actually, I looked at this switch already and even thought I'm not using it, the partial file is present on dest filesystem but with a different name (dot prefix and a few chars suffix). – mehturt Jan 4 '12 at 13:50
  • I looked at this more closely and see this behavior, which seems strange to me: when using --partial-dir the partial file is not present on filesystem full even if --partial is specified as well; but this would achieve what I needed. – mehturt Jan 5 '12 at 6:40
  • @mehturt: If so, you can accept this answer! – Khaled Jan 5 '12 at 8:03
  • not really, because it does not say what is going on. The answer I was looking for is to use --partial and --partial-dir and in that case the partial file is not present in partial-dir when running out of disk space, just like I described in my comment. – mehturt Jan 9 '12 at 14:16

Best way would be to check for free space before the copy is started (with a little space in excess).

The normal behaviour of cp is to drop the incomplete file.

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  • This is not what I see (using cp on RHEL) - the incomplete file is present on dest filesystem. – mehturt Jan 4 '12 at 13:55

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