rm is the command to remove files

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136
votes
5answers
25k views

I deleted /bin/rm. How do I recover it?

Just for fun, I thought I would use this command on my Raspberry Pi running Raspbian: sudo rm -f /bin/rm I thought I could just reinstall coreutils: I was wrong! apt-get install --reinstall ...
69
votes
9answers
23k views

How do I delete a file whose name begins with “-” (hyphen a.k.a. dash or minus)?

How do you remove a file whose filename begins with a dash (hyphen or minus) -? I'm ssh'd into a remote OSX server and I have this file in my directory: tohru:~ $ ls -l total 8 -rw-r--r-- 1 me ...
44
votes
2answers
23k views

Why can rm remove read-only files?

If I create a file and then change its permissions to 444 (read-only), how come rm can remove it? If I do this: echo test > test.txt chmod 444 test.txt rm test.txt ...rm will ask if I want to ...
36
votes
12answers
53k views

Efficiently delete large directory containing thousands of files

We have an issue with a folder becoming unwieldy with hundreds of thousands of tiny files. There are so many files that performing rm -rf returns an error and instead what we need to do is something ...
36
votes
7answers
15k views

Recovering accidentally deleted files

I accidentally deleted a file from my laptop. I'm using Fedora. Is it possible to recover the file?
33
votes
6answers
47k views

Where do files go when the rm command is issued?

Recently I accidentally did rm on a set of files and it got me thinking where exactly these files end up? That is to say, when working with a GUI, deleted files go to the Trash. What's the equivalent ...
32
votes
8answers
10k views

How to delete this undeletable directory?

I untarred a corrupt tar file, and managed to end up with some directory that I can not delete, If I try to delete it, it seems like it can not be found, but ls shows it's present, both with bash and ...
30
votes
1answer
2k views

Does 'rm .*' ever delete the parent directory?

The expression .* is expanded by bash to include the current and parent directories: $ ls -la total 2600 drwxrwxrwx 2 terdon terdon 2162688 Sep 10 16:22 . drwxr-xr-x 142 terdon terdon 491520 Sep ...
30
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did powering down my machine after a bad `rm` save my files?

Classical situation: I ran a bad rm and realized immediately afterwards that I had removed the wrong files. (Nothing critical and I had tolerably recent backups, but still annoying.) Knowing that ...
27
votes
3answers
9k views

How to remove all empty directories in a subtree?

How can I remove all empty directories in a subtree? I used something like find . -type d -exec rmdir {} 2>/dev/null \; but I needs to be run multiple times in order to remove directories ...
26
votes
2answers
8k views

I made a mistake last night, which deleted 1800GB of my File-Server unintentionally

I ran this command yesterday, I thought on a test machine, but it was a File-Server connected through SSH. sudo rm -rf /tmp/* !(lost+found) My terminal emulator is Konsole. My system is Debian 7. ...
26
votes
1answer
175k views

How do I remove a directory and all its contents?

In bash all I know is that rmdir directoryname will remove the directory but only if it's empty. Is there a way to force remove subdirectories?
25
votes
12answers
8k views

How can I delete a file with no name

I somehow managed to create a file that doesn't seem to have a filename. I found some information regarding how to get more details of the file in the following thread. However, I tried some of the ...
24
votes
2answers
9k views

How do you run a dry run of rm to see what files will be deleted?

I want to see what files will be deleted when performing an 'rm' in linux. Most commands seem to have a dry run option to show just such information, but I can't seem to find such an option for rm. ...
21
votes
3answers
12k views

Is there any way to prevent deletion of certain files from user owned directory?

Let's say user has Directory1 and it contains File1 File2 CantBeDeletedFile How to make so the user would never be allowed to delete the CantBeDeletedFile? If I change the ownership of Directory1 and ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

How does rm -r go about recursively removing? In what order?

Is there some order of operations to rm? I performed rm on a large directory and am curious where I should look to see what might have been deleted. Does rm work on files first, then directories? Or ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I delete a file named “>”?

I was running a Python script that malfunctioned and used sudo to create a file named >. How can I get rid of this file? Of course, when I try sudo rm >, I get the error bash: syntax error ...
20
votes
4answers
23k views

rm -rf all files and all hidden files without . & .. error

rm -rf /some/path/* deletes all non-hidden files in that dir (and subdirs). rm -rf /some/path/.* deletes all hidden files in that dir (but not subdirs) and also gives the following error/warning: ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

Make `rm` move to trash

Is there a Linux script / application which, instead of deleting files, moves them to a special “trash” location? I’d like this as a replacement for rm (maybe even aliasing the latter; there are pros ...
19
votes
6answers
21k views

How do I recursively shred an entire directory tree?

I have a directory tree that I would like to shred with the Linux 'shred' utility. Unfortunately, shred has no -R option for recursive shredding. How can I shred an entire directory tree ...
17
votes
9answers
87k views

How to remove all the files in a directory?

I am trying to remove all files and subdirectories in a directory. I used rm -r to remove all files, but I want to remove all files and subdirectories, excluding the top directory itself. For ...
14
votes
2answers
16k views

how can I recursively delete empty directories in my home directory? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to remove all empty directories in a subtree? I create directories very often, scattered over my home directory, and I find it very hard to locate and delete them. ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between 'rm' and 'unlink'?

Assuming you know the target is a symbolic link and not a file, is there any difference between using rm and unlink to remove the link?
14
votes
1answer
17k views

Unable to delete file, even when running as root

I am in the process of migrating a machine from RHEL 4 to 5. Rather than actually do an upgrade we have created a new VM (both machines are in a cloud) and I am in the process of copying across data ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

How far can you go with rm -rf / as root

If you are root, and you issue rm -rf / Then how far can the command go? Can you recover data from this kind of an action? Even after the binaries are gone, would the running processes still be ...
14
votes
2answers
471 views

Can I make `rm` interactive only when using globbing? (in either bash or zsh or both)

Whenever I rm multiple items at once with shell globbing and there's even the slightest possibility that the pattern expands to more than I expect it to, I always try to remember to add -i, but (of ...
13
votes
3answers
11k views

How can I remove all symbolic links with a special target?

With the command: ls -la * I can list all my symbolic links. How can I remove all symbolic links which are linked to a special folder? For example: In my directory usr/local/bin I have the ...
13
votes
8answers
5k views

How do I delete everything in a directory?

I'm sorry for asking such a basic question: How do I delete everything in a directory, including hidden files and directories? Right now, I use the following: rm -rf * rm -rf .*
12
votes
7answers
8k views

What's the best way to format a HDD in Linux in order to leave no trace?

I'm running Debian and need a way to format the entire hdd in order to not leave any trace on it because I want to donate it to a friend. So what will be the best way in order to format it? If I ...
12
votes
6answers
14k views

Deleting all files in a folder except files X, Y, and Z

I have a lot of files and folders in a specific folder and I want to delete all of them; however, I wanted to keep files X, Y, and Z. Is there a way I can do something like: rm * | but NOT grep | X ...
12
votes
4answers
24k views

How do I recursively delete directories with wildcard?

I am working through SSH on a WD My Book World Edition. Basically I would like to start at a particular directory level, and recursively remove all sub-directories matching .Apple* - how would I go ...
12
votes
2answers
720 views

What's the reason for this specific “rm” sequence in the xkcd joke?

Here's part of this xkcd comic strip where the idea is that the author can't write a sort program so he adds code to delete all files system("rm -rf ./"); system("rm -rf ~/*"); system("rm -rf /"); ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

What does *~ mean?

At the end of a makefile I saw rm -f *~ *.class I understand the *.class, but what's *~?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Accidentally executed sudo rm /* on a remote server

I accidentally executed rm /* while logged in as root in a remote Ubuntu Server and deleted pretty much all binaries and currently I can neither log in via ssh or ftp to restore the files (and hope ...
11
votes
4answers
182 views

What is Linux for SET FILE/ERASE_ON_DELETE?

In VMS one may tell the file system to write junk over the existing contents of a file when it is deleted. Here is the DCL command to identify the file for this kind of treatment: $ SET ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Interactively deleting files from a list

I'd like to remove a list of files and be asked for confirmation. The list is in the list.txt file. Why the following command doesn't work properly? while read i; do rm -i $i; done < list.txt ...
11
votes
2answers
63k views

How to recover files I deleted now by running rm *? [duplicate]

By mistake I ran rm * on the current directory where I created many c program files. I had been working on these since morning. Now I can't take out again the time that I spent since morning on ...
11
votes
2answers
15k views

giving grep output to rm

I'm trying to pipe grep output to rm, but it outputs useless stuff. Is any switch required for rm? Or can rm can be provided a regexp directly? ls | grep '^\[Daruchini'| rm rm: missing operand Try ...
10
votes
4answers
24k views

How to delete directories based on `find` output?

I issue the following command to find the .svn directories: find . -name ".svn" That gives me the following results: ./toto/.svn ./toto/titi/.svn ./toto/tata/.svn How could I process all these ...
10
votes
2answers
27k views

Recursively delete all files with a given extension [duplicate]

I wan't to delete all *.o files in a directory and its sub-directories. However I get an error: sashoalm@aspire:~/.Workspace.OLD$ rm -r *.o rm: cannot remove `*.o': No such file or directory On the ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I delete a folder with lots of subfolders fast?

I have a folder with 266778 subfolders. How can I delete it? I have tried cd ~/.local/share/Trash/ sudo rm -rf * but it takes much time. After 1 minute 25 seconds real time and 0.072 seconds user ...
10
votes
3answers
18k views

How do I remove all sub-directories from within a directory?

This question is kind of a phase II to the first question I posted at here I have a directory that contains a bunch of sub-directories, .zip files, and other random files not contained within a ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the .Trash-500 and .Trash-1000 directories?

I have a DNS-321 NAS drive which apparently runs Linux, so I logged in via ssh and I see .Trash-500 and .Trash-1000 directories. I realize that they're for trash, but why do I need two? Inside of them ...
10
votes
1answer
427 views

Is `rm -rf` not atomic?

I've just caught a confusing error: rm: cannot remove `xxx/app/cache/prod': Directory not empty which was caused by the following command: rm -rf $cache_dir/* where $cache_dir is defined as ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a simple way to preview the files that rm will remove?

Is there a simple way to evaluate what a given rm command will do when you do not understand it (such as not recognizing how the flags, variables, etc. interact)? While ls helps catch problems in ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Delete files and directories by their names. No such file or directory

I need to delete all compiled data: directories called build, directories called obj, *.so files. I wrote a command find \( -name build -o -name obj -o -name *.so \) -exec rm -rf {} \; that ...
9
votes
2answers
363 views

Why do `cp` and `rm` treat directories separately?

Why do tools like cp and rm treat directories separately from regular files? They both require the user to explicitly specify she wants a recursive behavior, or else they won't deal with directories ...
9
votes
2answers
15k views

Locate and delete all temporary files in user directory

I use vim a lot, and my area has power failure a lot. So the resultant is I get many *.swp files scattered over my PC. I want an alias of rm command that removes all files with either .swp, ~, ...
8
votes
3answers
32k views

How can I delete all files with a particular extension in a particular folder?

If I set the current/working directory (navigating to it using cd) to some particular directory and then type: rm *.xvg What will this command do? Is it true that the above command will only delete ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Remove empty directory trees (removing as many directories as possible but no files)

Suppose I have a dir tree like this: ROOTDIR └--SUBDIR1 └----SUBDIR2 └----SUBDIR3 I am looking for a command such that when I input: $ [unknown command] ROOTDIR The whole ...