I have a directory on my FreeBSD server whose contents are created by Windows users over Samba. The filenames and paths within it sometimes contain spaces, as is common in the Windows world.

I just tried to delete some files in a subdir which had been duplicated.

  • rm -v "New folder (1)/*" failed using both single+double quotes ("no such dir or file")
  • rm -v New\ folder\ \(1\)/* succeeded

I thought that spaces in paths could be handled by putting the path within quotes. If I'm copy/pasting the path then I would find it easier to add quotes than to manually escape every space or other special character in it.

What do I need to do, to get the first example to work correctly?


1 Answer 1


When you put the * in quotes then it's treated as a quoted character so it must be placed outside the quotes where it will be treated by the shell.

rm -v "New folder (1)"/*

  • Does that mean that "my folder/"r*.fr?, "my fol"der/r*.fr?, "my"\ "folder/r"*.fr? and "my folder/r"*".fr"? are all allowed and identical? Or are there important but non-obvious restrictions that apply to using wildcards this way??
    – Stilez
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 13:38
  • @Stilez I made a correction. The slash, too, needs to be outside the quotes
    – Rob
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 13:45
  • Thanks. Can you clarify though, what part(s) of a path+filename can/cannot be inside or outside the quotes, in this kind of use? For example, if the "/" must be outside quotes, what about "my folder"/"my file"*, or other cases where the filename also has spaces? And other more contrived examples such as "my"\ "folder"/*"-2017 data.txt"? (I'd look it up but no idea where to find info on it, or what to search under, for the details)
    – Stilez
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 13:48
  • It makes no difference if / is inside or outside quotes. Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 14:26

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