I'm in a folder: /var/myfolder.

Inside there are some other folders like: /var/myfolder/A/ /var/myfolder/B/ `/var/myfolder/C/ etc.

Inside each there are some files with random names. How do I remove all the files from all the folders inside /var/myfolder?

The structure (all the directories, eg., A, B, C etc., inside /var/myfolder) should remain intact.



find /var/myfolder -type f -delete

This gets all the regular files under /var/myfolder and deletes them leaving only the directories.

  • Thanks for the solution. I should have mention that I'm doing this in Solaris 9, so my find dont have the -delete option, but that's a good starting point. – IroeN Aug 21 '12 at 12:27
  • 2
    I was able to came up with a following solution: find /var/myfolder -type f -exec rm -f {} \; – IroeN Aug 21 '12 at 13:17
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    Sorry. I use Debian or Ubuntu. Your solution is equivalent as far as I know. – StarNamer Aug 21 '12 at 16:08
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    -type f != ! -type d – mikeserv Jan 22 '16 at 6:42

With zsh, use the . glob qualifier to match only regular files:

rm -- **/*(.)

This deletes all the (non-hidden) regular files in the current directory and its subdirectories recursively. Add the D glob qualifier to delete hidden regular files (and regular files in hidden directories) as well.

  • I'm using bash. – IroeN Aug 21 '12 at 12:28
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    @user6554: ... which neither your question nor the used tags indicate ;) – 0xC0000022L May 4 '14 at 22:58

You can run rm */* in /var/myfolder

find . -depth -exec rm {} + 2>/dev/null

rm doesn't remove directories - so just run it on everything.

To preserve symlinks to directories:

find .  ! -type d -exec sh -c '
    for f do [ -d  "$f" ] || 
          set "$@" "$f";  shift
    done; rm  "$@"' sh  {} +

And I think this should also work in, perhaps, a slightly optimized way if there are a lot of files which might need testing in the above version:

find . ! \( -type l -o -type d \)  \
-exec  rm {} + -o -exec  sh -c '
       for f do [ -d "$f" ] ||
       unlink "$f";done' sh {} +
  • Note that GNU find has a -xtype option for that. – Stéphane Chazelas Jan 22 '16 at 14:02
  • @StéphaneChazelas - ast does too. but I didn't need -depth at all, i dont think. i kept it in the top one to avoid so many error calls - silenced or not - but it was just silly in the others. – mikeserv Jan 22 '16 at 14:30
# This will delete all directory contents, including hidden files and
# subdirectories, without deleting the directory itself

# With GNU find:
find /path/to/directoryToEmpty -mindepth 1 -delete

# OpenBSD (and probably other BSDs)
find /path/to/directoryToEmpty -mindepth 1 -depth -exec rm -f {} \;

# To see what it deletes, in the order it will delete it:
find /path/to/directoryToEmpty -mindepth 1 -depth -print
rm var/myfolder/*/*

The will delete everything inside the sub folders without touching the sub folders themselves.

The first * is for the subdirectories of myfolder itself (A, B, ...). The second * is for the files in A, B, etc.

IF there are more folders inside A, B, etc. First run: rm /var/myfolder/*/*/* then run rm /var/myfolder/*/*.


You should also be able to cd to the top of the directory tree in question, then run:

find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf

and that should delete all the files while leaving the directory tree intact. The -print0 and -0 options may be omitted if you are confident you do not have any file or directory names that contain spaces.

The find command distinguishes between files ( -type f) and links ( -type l) so this should leave links intact, if any. Not tested though. If in doubt, run:

find . -type l

and see if anything shows up before you run the earlier find command.

  • Can you explain how how rm flag -r, -R, --recursive - remove directories and their contents recursively fits into this? – Stephen Rauch Jul 18 '17 at 15:01
  • Because we aren't running rm -rf, we are running find . -type f and then piping the output from that to rm -rf. So it only removes files, it doesn't touch the directories. That's what the | xargs bit does, it takes the output from the command on the left and sends it to the command on the right. – rjh427 Jul 18 '17 at 19:28
  • My point exactly. If you are not passing any directories, what use is a flag that only works on directories? – Stephen Rauch Jul 18 '17 at 19:30
  • Because muscle memory, and it still works. You could raise the same objection on the -f "force" option, I'd give you the same answer. – rjh427 Jul 18 '17 at 19:40

Simply use below command:

sudo rm -rf directory_in_which_you_have_content/*

---------------- OR --------------------------------------------------------

The '*' is stands for all so when you will use * that will delete all the content. so Either use command like this or go to the directory in which you want to delete all the content and just use below command:

sudo rm -rf *

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