Take the 2-minute tour ×
Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems.. It's 100% free, no registration required.

CentOS 5.x

I apologize if this is a repeat question. I've seen a lot of similar questions (regarding deleting files) but not exactly the same scenario.

I have a directory containing hundreds of thousands of files (possibly over a million) and as a short-term fix to a different issue, I need to move these files to another location.

For the purpose of discussion, let's say the these files originally reside in /home/foo/bulk/ and I want to move them to /home/foo2/bulk2/

If I try mv /home/foo/bulk/* /home/foo2/bulk2/ I get a "too many arguments" error.

Mr. Google tells me that an alternative for deleting files in bulk would be to run find. Something like: find . -name "*.pdf" -maxdepth 1 -print0 | xargs -0 rm

That would be fine if I was deleting stuff but in this case I want to move the files... If I type something like find . -name "*" -maxdepth 1 -print0 | xargs -0 mv /home/foo2/bulk2/ bash complains about the file not being a directory.

What's the best command to use here for moving the files in bulk from one directory to another?

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Taking advantage of GNU mv's -t option to specify the target directory, instead of relying on the last argument:

find . -name "*" -maxdepth 1 -exec mv -t /home/foo2/bulk2 {} +

If you were on a system without the option, you could use an intermediate shell to get the arguments in the right order (find … -exec … + doesn't support putting extra arguments after the list of files).

find . -name "*" -maxdepth 1 -exec sh -c 'mv "$@" "$0"' /home/foo2/bulk2 {} +
share|improve this answer
    
Brilliant. Thanks. –  Mike B Nov 28 '13 at 0:24
    
You can use find ... -exec sh -c 'blah "$@" blah' sh {} +" (the "shell trick") to deal with issues around argument ordering. There are several examples of this in the findutils (info) documentation; search for "sh -c". –  James Youngman Dec 9 '13 at 23:12

Consider mving the parent directory instead of the files:

mv /home/foo/bulk /home/foo2/bulk2 && mkdir /home/foo/bulk

(But it might cause problems if /home/foo/bulk must exist at every moment.)

share|improve this answer
1  
I would add to that, just in case your destination directory exists, move the files in the destination directory to your source directory (the big one) and rename the directory. –  WhiteCat Nov 28 '13 at 3:57
    
Thanks - great suggestion. In this case, the directory must exist at every moment. Great idea though. –  Mike B Nov 28 '13 at 20:20

Just for variety, I'm fond of using cpio for some cases like this.

find tmp |cpio -v  -p --make-directories --sparse tmp2
share|improve this answer
1  
If the source and destination are on the same file system then this approach could be very inefficient (unnecessary copying). Also it is always better to use -print0 and -0 options. –  pabouk Nov 28 '13 at 9:11

With GNU mv:

find . -mindepth 1 -exec mv -t /tmp {} +

On systems like OS X that don't have mv -t but do have -print0 and xargs -0:

find . -mindepth 1 -print0|xargs -0 -I, mv , /tmp

Or if the file names don't contain spaces, quotes, backslashes, or newlines (with OS X's xargs) or quotes, backslashes, or newlines (with GNU xargs):

ls|xargs -I, mv , /tmp
share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.