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How to copy or move a file in Java from one location to another with examples
This quick code tip shows how to use Java NIO API to copy or move a file from one location in the file system to another.

Java 8 code to COPY & MOVE files
package com.javabrahman.corejava;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.nio.file.FileSystem;
import java.nio.file.FileSystems;
import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.StandardCopyOption;
public class CopyMoveFile {
  public static void main(String args[]) {
    FileSystem fileSys = FileSystems.getDefault();
    Path srcPath = fileSys.getPath("c:\\src_folder\\file1.txt");
    Path destPath = fileSys.getPath("c:\\dest_folder\\file1.txt");
    try {
      //TO COPY file1.txt from source to destination folder
      Files.copy(srcPath, destPath, StandardCopyOption.REPLACE_EXISTING);
      //TO MOVE file1.txt from source to destination folder
      Files.move(srcPath, destPath, StandardCopyOption.REPLACE_EXISTING);
    } catch (IOException ioe) {
Explanation of the code
  • First an instance of java.nio.file.FileSystem is created using the FileSystems.getDefault() method.
  • FileSystem provides access to the underlying file system on the machine on which the JVM is running. Its role is that of factoryClick to understand the concept of factories in software design which creates the instances of classes in the NIO API used to access the various file system elements.
  • An instance of java.nio.file.Path is obtained using the FileSystem.getPath() method. The Path instance is an encapsulation around a file or a directory in the file system. (Note - In Unix a directory is also a file;the same logic extends in Java running on Windows and a Path instance can hold a file or a directory instance on Windows as well)
  • Two Path instances are created. First Path instance is named srcPath. This refers to the file named file1.txt which needs to be copied/moved.
  • Second Path instance is named destPath. This refers to the full path where we want to copy or move the file to and the file name with which we want it to be created (copied/moved) with in the destination folder. (Note - This is important difference from a normal file copy which is performed in Windows or Unix where using GUI or command line only the destination folder has to be provided as the name of the file which is copied/moved remains the same. However, here you need to provide the file name at the destination as well.)
  • Next the actual copy/move is done by passing the srcPath, destPath and StandardCopyOption enum constant value to the Files.copy()/Files.move() method.
  • The class java.nio.file.Files provides static methods for working with files and directories.
  • java.nio.file.StandardCopyOption is an enum implementation of java.nio.file.CopyOption interface which acts as a base interface for providing configurations/options for copying/moving a file.
  • The following enum constants defined in StandardCopyOption can be used as the third argument in the Files.copy() and Files.move() methods -
    Table: Enum Constants in StandardCopyOption
    Enum Constant Purpose
    REPLACE_EXISTING To replace an existing file with the same name in the destination
    COPY_ATTRIBUTES To copy attributes to the file in the destination folder
    ATOMIC_MOVE To move the file as an atomic file system operation
  • NOTE - In the above example I have copied file1.txt and then moved the same file. If you change the order of these commands and first move and then copy, then copy will fail because the file would already have been moved!