Given a mountpoint such as /dev/sda1 how can I list the contents of this file system using shell script. My objective is to delete the oldest file in this drive.


/dev/sda1 is a block device. It may contain a file system. When mounted, that file system may be available at some mount point like /home, /, and within that file system, some directories may in turn be some mount points for other file systems (may they be in other block devices, or virtual ones like /proc, or network ones...).

If /dev/sda1 is mounted on /, to remove the oldest (in terms of last modification time) regular file, on a recent GNU system, you can do:

find / -xdev -type f -printf '%T@:%p\0' |
   sort -zn |
   sed -z 's/[^:]*://;q' |
   xargs -r0p rm -f

The -xdev flag tells find to stick to one file system, that is, not to descend into other file systems mounted within / in this case.

Note that other file systems may hide files on the file system of their mount point. For instance, if /dev/sda1 is mounted on / but contains a /home/some-old-file and /dev/sda2 is mounted on /home, /home/some-old-file will not be accessible.

On Linux at least, you can work around that by bind-mounting / in another directory:

mount --bind / /mnt/side-access-to-root

Then all the files in the file system mounted at / will be available through /mnt/side-access-to-root.

Then, you can ommit the -xdev and you could use zsh globbing to remove the oldest file:

rm -i /mnt/side-access-to-root/**/*(D.Om[1])

/dev/sda1 is not a mount point, it points to your partition on your drive.

To mount your disk use

mount -t vfat(OR THE TYPE OF YOUR DRIVE) /dev/sda1 /path/to/mount/to

Then, to list all files in a path, you can use


However, to delete all files older then X days, you can use:

find /path/to/files* -mtime +x -exec rm {} \;

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