Replaces files in the destination directory with files in the source directory that have the same name. You can also use replace to add unique file names to the destination directory.


replace [drive1:][path1] FileName [drive2:][path2] [/a] [/p] [/r] [/w]

replace [drive1:][path1] FileName [drive2:][path2] [/p] [/r] [/s] [/w] [/u]


[ drive1 : ][ path1 ] FileName   : Specifies the location and name of the source file or set of files.

[ drive2 : ][ path2 ] : Specifies the location of the destination file. You cannot specify a file name for files you replace. If you specify neither a drive nor a directory, replace uses the current drive and directory as the destination.

/a   : Adds new files to the destination directory instead of replacing existing files. You cannot use this command-line option with the /s or /u command-line option.

/p   : Prompts you for confirmation before replacing a destination file or adding a source file.

/r   : Replaces read-only files as well as unprotected files. If you do not specify this command-line option but attempt to replace a read-only file, an error results and stops the replacement operation.

/w   : Waits for you to insert a disk before replace begins to search for source files. If you do not specify /w, replace begins replacing or adding files immediately after you press ENTER.

/s   : Searches all subdirectories of the destination directory and replaces matching files. You cannot use the /s command-line option with the /a command-line option. The replace command does not search subdirectories specified in path1.

/u   : Replaces (updates) only those files on the destination directory that are older than those in the source directory. You cannot use the /u command-line option with the /a command-line option.

/?   : Displays help at the command prompt.


  • Replace messages

    As replace adds or replaces files, the file names are displayed on the screen. After the replace command is finished, a summary line is displayed in one of the following formats:

    nnn files added 
    nnn files replaced
    no file added 
    no file replaced 
  • Replacing files on floppy disks

    If you are using floppy disks and need to switch disks during the replace operation, you can specify the /w command-line option so that replace will wait for you to switch disks, as necessary.

  • Limitations on replace

    You cannot use the replace command to update hidden files or system files. For information about changing hidden and system attributes, click attrib in the Related Topics list.

  • Replace exit codes

    The following list shows each exit code and a brief description of its meaning: 

    Exit code



    The replace command successfully replaced or added the files.


    The replace command encountered an incorrect version of MS-DOS.


    The replace command could not find the source files.


    The replace command could not find the source or destination path.


    The user does not have access to the files you want to replace.


    There is insufficient system memory to carry out the command.


    The user used the wrong syntax on the command line.

    You can use the errorlevel parameter on the if command line in a batch program to process exit codes returned by replace. For an example of a batch program that processes exit codes, click if in the Related Topics list.


Suppose that several directories on drive C contain different versions of a file named Phones.cli, which contains client names and phone numbers. To replace all of these files with the latest version of the Phones.cli file from the disk in drive A, type:

replace a:\phones.cli c:\ /s

To add new printer device drivers to a directory on drive C named Tools, which already contains several printer device-driver files for a word processor:

replace a:*.prd c:\tools /a

This command searches the current directory on drive A for any files that have the extension .prd and then adds these files to the Tools directory on drive C. Because the /a command-line option is included, replace adds only those files from drive A that do not exist on drive C.

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Information that the user must supply


Elements that the user must type exactly as shown

Ellipsis (...)

Parameter that can be repeated several times in a command line

Between brackets ([])

Optional items

Between braces ({}); choices separated by pipe (|). Example: {even|odd}

Set of choices from which the user must choose only one

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Code or program output


Command-line reference A-Z