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I want to delete all empty files with a particular extension from a directory and all its subdirectories.

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You can try the following, to confirm upon deleting each file first:

$ find /path/to/dir -type f -name "*.txt" -empty -ok rm {} \;

or if you feel more confident:

$ find /path/to/dir -type f -name "*.txt" -empty -exec rm {} \;
  • 3
    On newer versions of find the -delete option will be simpler. – 0xC0000022L Feb 15 '12 at 17:34
  • keep in mind NOT to do this on the /dev directory – frogstarr78 Feb 16 '12 at 4:37
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Usually, the answer to “how do I … in a directory and its subdirectories” involves find. Use -type f to match regular files, -name '*.ext' to restrict to a particular extension, and -size 0 to restrict to empty files.

find /some/dir -name '*.ext' -type f -size 0 -exec rm {} +

If your version of find is too old, you may need '… -exec rm {} \;' instead (using + is faster because it calls rm on many files at once). Under Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OSX, you can use find's build-in -delete action and the -empty predicate (equivalent to -size 0 on regular files):

find /some/dir -name '*.ext' -type f -empty -delete

In zsh, you can use the ** glob to recurse into subdirectories and glob qualifiers to restrict the matches to regular files (.), of size 0 (L0).

rm /some/dir/**/*.ext(.L0)

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