What command do I have to use to delete all directories that begin with "graphene-80"

What can I add to the "rm" command as option?

  • On the whole system or in a particular directory, or anywhere beneath a particular directory? – Kusalananda Feb 7 '18 at 14:18
  • in the directory /tmp – user1543915 Feb 7 '18 at 14:22
  • Just empty directories, or the contents too? – ilkkachu Feb 7 '18 at 15:50

Using find command:

find /tmp -type d -name 'graphene-80*' -delete

Arguments used:

  • -type to filter directory only and avoid finding files
  • -name to find file that match the pattern define between quotes
  • -delete to delete the result of the find command

EDIT: cleaner with -delete like shown in this post: Find files matching template and remove

  • 2
    Use -depth when deleting directories, or find may complain about "no such directory" when trying to process the directories it has just deleted. You should probably also use -type d to be sure to not delete files. – Kusalananda Feb 7 '18 at 14:19
  • 3
    On Linux (as the Q is tagged), -delete will add in -depth for you. – Jeff Schaller Feb 7 '18 at 14:22
  • find: warning: you have specified the -depth option after a non-option argument -type, but options are not positional (-depth affects tests specified before it as well as those specified after it). Please specify options before other arguments. – user1543915 Feb 7 '18 at 14:37
  • It's corrected. – Kevin Lemaire Feb 7 '18 at 14:42

To delete the directories matching the pattern graphene-80* directly under /tmp, use

rm -rf /tmp/graphene-80*/

Here, the trailing / ensures that only directories whose names match the graphene-80* pattern are deleted, and not files etc.

To find the matching directories elsewhere under /tmp and delete them wherever they may be (or to handle the case where there are too many matching names resulting in a too long command), use

find /tmp -depth -type d -name 'graphene-80*' -prune -exec rm -rf {} ';'

To additionally see the names of the directories as they are deleted, insert -print before -exec. Inserting -print after -exec will print the names of directories succesfully deleted.

  • find -delete will only delete directories if they are empty. You'd probably want -name 'graphene-80*' -prune -exec rm -rf {} +, or with -delete, use some -path approach to also delete the files inside those directories (note that -delete implies -depth) – Stéphane Chazelas Feb 8 '18 at 11:03
  • You'd want to use -prune as well to not descend into the directories you're going to delete anyway. – Stéphane Chazelas Feb 8 '18 at 11:12
  • @StéphaneChazelas Thanks, I was mislead by Jeff's comment to another answer and assumed it worked the way I thought it would without testing. – Kusalananda Feb 8 '18 at 11:12
  • You should choose between + and ;. Note that with +, -exec always returns true since the execution of the command is postponed (see also rm -v with some implementations to print deleted files) – Stéphane Chazelas Feb 8 '18 at 11:14
  • @StéphaneChazelas Sorted. I have too much in my head today. I appreciate your input as always. – Kusalananda Feb 8 '18 at 11:16

To remove just empty directories with names matching graphene-80*, either

find /tmp -type d -name "graphene-80*" -exec rmdir {} +


find /tmp -type d -name "graphene-80*" -delete

(rmdir and GNU find should give you errors for the nonempty ones.)

To remove the directories with their contents:

find /tmp -type d -name "graphene-80*" -exec rm -r {} \; -prune

(With -exec rm + you may get errors from rm if there are nested matching directories; and without -prune, from find since it tries to descend to the just-removed directories.)


You can use the following command:

rm -rf `find -type d -name folder_name`

Just replace the folder_name and you'll be good to go.

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