To copy an entire directory including links and properties (snap-shot), use the find command in conjunction with cpio.
Here's an example for copying all of /usr to /backup-usr (must be root to do this example):
#cd /usr #find . -print | cpio -pduvm /backup-usr
Then, you can rename the /backup-usr to /usr and you will have no problems with links or system permissions.
About the author: Greg Hearn is a UNIX Systems Administrator at LVVWD.
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This was first published in February 2001