Using rcp on Linux system to copy files

RCP – Remote Copy Protocol Is used to copy files between two Unix/Linux systems. We do not recommend using this utility since it is unsecured and sends data over network without encryption.

However if you do require to use this utility , here is how to set this up on CentOS based system.

Configuration steps

  • Install 2 packages rsh and rsh-server. The rsh-server package contains a set of programs which allow users to run commands on remote machines, login to other machines, and copy files between machines (respectively, rsh, rlogin, and rcp).
  • Configure xinetd service which listens for incoming requests over a network and launches the appropriate service for that request.
  • Create 2 files on each host that will need to copy files to and from. The file names are .rhost and this hidden files will include users and hosts that will be allowed to copy files.


1. We start by installing nessesary packages using yum manager.

# yum install rsh-server rsh -y 

2. Now we edit and enable 3 configuration files.

vi /etc/xined.d/rsh
vi /etc/xined.d/rlogin
vi /etc/xined.d/rexec
change disable = no

3. In the home directory of user create .rhosts files that will have all computer and user information. You can use ip addressed or FQDN DNS names.

In this example we will add user john and computer named system1

cd /home/%yourusername%
vi .rhosts
add the following
system1 john

How to use rcp

rcp doc1   #This example copies doc1 from local system to users home directory on
rcp doc1   #Copies "doc1" from the local machine to the home directory of user "john" on the remote system
rcp doc1   #Copies doc1 from remote system to local system

If any of the source files are directories, copies each subtree rooted at that name; in this case the destination must be a directory.
The option causes rcp to attempt to preserve (duplicate) in its copies the modification times and modes of the source files, ignoring the umask By default, the mode and owner of file2 are preserved if it already existed; otherwise the mode of the source file modified by the umask(2) on the destination host is used.