Based on this question,

How to delete directories based on `find` output?

I tried to remove only the first folder of result doing:

find * -type d | head -n1 | -exec rm -rf {} \;

But I receive this error:

bash: -exec: command not found

What's wrong?


You can use -quit after using -delete or -exec:

Exit immediately. No child processes will be left running, but no more paths specified on the command line will be processed.

Deleting the first result of your find command:

find * -type d -exec rm -Rf {} \; -quit


find . ! -path . -type d -exec rm -Rf {} \; -quit

The latter will find hidden folders.

Note, that your find output may not be sorted alphabetically.

For deletion of first result afer sorting:

find * -maxdepth 1 -type d -print0 | sort -z | head -zn1 | xargs -r0 rm -Rf

For numeric sort, use sort -zn.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks a lot! so I'll add "sort -z", but I'll have the same problem of | head -n1, isn't it? – Ponzio Pilato Jan 21 '19 at 14:33

This seems very dangerous but you could try:

find * -type d | head -n1 | xargs rm -rf
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Indeed dangerous. Having>$ ls: important_file important_file\nfake_folder, your command will delete very_important_file. Better use find -print0 and head -z and xargs -0. – pLumo Jan 21 '19 at 14:06

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