On my Linux Mint 18.3 installation I had troubles with my locale setting which caused the generation of a folder that has invalid encoding in its name.

I would now like to delete said folder but I can't figure out how I can do so. I tried using my file manager (Dolphin) as well as the terminal (sudo rmdir <folder name>) but both commands failed claiming that the given folder doesn't exist.

However, it still gets displayed in the file manager and via the ls command.

sudo rmdir Einf�hrung in die Biochemie/
rmdir: failed to remove 'Einf�hrung': No such file or directory
rmdir: failed to remove 'in': No such file or directory
rmdir: failed to remove 'die': No such file or directory
rmdir: failed to remove 'Biochemie/': No such file or directory

The name of the directory was copied from the output of ls.


You can use the *

sudo rm -rfi Ein*


sudo rm -rfi *Biochemie

Provided there are no other directories that match the pattern, in which case you'll have to pick a pattern that's unique.

You could also use rmdir instead of rm.

As Jeff Schaller pointed out, the -i option will help if the pattern matches directories which are not to be deleted(by prompting for confirmation on each match).

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  • The -i option might be nice. – Jeff Schaller Feb 24 '18 at 15:42
  • Good point, let me add it... – man0v Feb 24 '18 at 15:43
  • That does indeed seem like a good solution as well. However in my case I had a directory called Einführung in die Biochemie as well so it might be a little tricky for that case. But for a "normal" case this seems like a very solid solution. – Raven Feb 24 '18 at 16:06
  • @Raven this will work in your case as well. * matches anything. I've had to use it with cyrilic and chinese characters and it works like charm. – man0v Feb 24 '18 at 16:09
  • 1
    @Raven you can do sudo rm -rfi * and manually pick the ones to get deleted and the ones not to(assuming you have a few files to iterate over). – man0v Feb 24 '18 at 16:23

In such cases, a visual file manager like Thunar is quite handy.

If your system hasn't a GUI, tools like the midnight-commander help a lot.

In simple cases, using command completion might be sufficient.

 rm -i Einf→→

where the → shall symbolize the Tab-key, or, like ManOv showed, maybe an Wildcard is enough:

 rm 'Einf?hrung in die Biochemie'
 rm 'Einf*hrung in die Biochemie'

If you're not allowed to install such modern stuff, find might help:


ls -la Ein*

you can investigate file attributes, like size, modification time, owner, attributes, ... to feed to find:

find -maxdepth 1 -type f -name "Einf*hrung *chemie" -mtime -4 -mtime +2 -size +2000 -size -2200

If the result is just that one specific file, add the delete switch. This works not with all sorts of find, but with GNU-find:

find -maxdepth 1 -type f -name "Einf*hrung *chemie" -mtime -4 -mtime +2 -size +2000 -size -2200 -delete

For other find versions, you'll find a lot of examples, how to delete files, here, too.

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The solution was to rename all other files and folder in the parent directory of said dir that also started with Ein e.g. by prefixing them with a 1_ and then go in the terminal type in sudo rmdir Ein and hitting tab to let the autocomplete-fuction do the rest for me.
That actually resolved the characters accordingly so that I was finally able to delete the directory with that command.

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