I am in need of deleting all executable files from a directory. My directory contains some configuration files and executable files, and I need to delete all executable files that I don't want.

For that I have wrote a command like this:

ls -lp | grep -v / | awk 'match($0,"-**x*x*x",a);{print  a[1]}'| \
awk '{print $9}' | xargs rm -f

Is there aother way to do this?

I tried with find. It will list all other sub directory files. I used grep -v /, to avoid sub-directories in the current folder.

  • FWIW: your awk approach breaks for filenames with spaces. Use the find solution below. Jul 4, 2016 at 9:13
  • With zsh, this would be as simple as rm *(*).
    – marcelm
    Jul 4, 2016 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


You should use find for this task:

find . -type f -executable

will show you the files that are executable by current user, recursively.

To limit the search to current directory only:

find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -executable

To remove:

find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -executable -exec rm {} +

Or with GNU find:

find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -executable -delete

As a side note, if you want to find files executable by any user, not just the current user (set as regular execute permission bits):

find . -type f -perm /111
  • 1
    Got it!! great, I tried with find after some time, I stopped that one and started digging into awk!! Thanks! Jul 4, 2016 at 9:16
  • Could you please explain rm {} + meaning in remove command? Jul 4, 2016 at 9:27
  • 1
    @saravanakumar exec rm {} + is find's exec` predicate within which rm is being used to remove the file. {} + will be expanded to the files found by find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -executable
    – heemayl
    Jul 4, 2016 at 9:28
  • and if you wanted to remove those files executables for everyone (instead of being executable only by the current user (eg 750 mode)) you'll use -perm -111 Jul 4, 2016 at 9:48
  • 1
    difference between AND and OR. /111 requires that it is executable by someone (owner OR group OR other can execute it), -111 requires that it is executable by everyone (owner, group, AND other).
    – cas
    Jul 4, 2016 at 11:34

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