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I wrote a simple script to delete useless files from a directory using the find command.

Now I'm wondering if I can add lines to the script to flatten directories, but not completely flattened.

e.g., If I have a big directory named cleantarget:

  • cleantarget
    • Folder A
      • Folder A1
      • Folder A2
    • Folder B
      • Folder B1
        • Folder B11

I want the end result to be:

  • cleantarget
    • Folder A
    • Folder B

I do NOT want the result to be:

  • cleantarget
    • all my files

There are 16000 files in this directory, so it'd be nice to do this with a script, so I can run it occasionally when the directory gets messed up again.

How do I do this?

EDIT: In essence, this means: I want a script, that will separately flatten each sub-directory within a given target directory. i.e., flatten Folder A, flatten Folder B, and flatten Folder C, and so on until all directories within cleanfolder are flattened.

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    What determines if a file should be deleted? – jesse_b Jun 22 '19 at 16:48
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    Do you mean flatten all of the directories under 'Folder A' and 'Folder B'. As in move all of the files from the subdirectories in A and B to A and B and then delete the subdirectories in A and B? – Giraffer Jun 22 '19 at 16:56
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    Did you check to see whether this had been asked before? – Kusalananda Jun 22 '19 at 16:56
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    So do you want to flatten directory A, and flatten directory B etc.? – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 22 '19 at 16:56
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    @johnnywatts So, take any of those solutions and apply them to to each folder individually? Doesn't sound more complicated than adding a for-loop around a piece of code. – Kusalananda Jun 23 '19 at 6:51
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These lines should work:

find "/path/to/cleantarget" -maxdepth 1 -mindepth 1 -type d | while read line; do
    find "${line}" -mindepth 2 -type f -exec mv -t "${line}" -i '{}' +
    rm -r "${line}"/*/
done

This will flatten Folder A and Folder B, asking if you want to overwrite duplicates, and remove the folders afterwards.

Source: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/52816/284212

| improve this answer | |
  • Hello, I don't think that will work. That only scans two folders and flattens them. It doesn't proceed with other folders. – johnnywatts Jun 22 '19 at 23:43
  • @johnnywatts Sorry, I didn't see your update. I only thought there were two folders. – Giraffer Jun 23 '19 at 0:07
  • It should work now. – Giraffer Jun 23 '19 at 0:19
  • My apologies, but it didn't work. I get the error "find: paths must precede expression: 'rm'" – johnnywatts Jun 23 '19 at 0:32
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    I'd recommend replacing the first find ... | while read loop with a simple for line in "/path/to/cleantarget"/*/; do. One possible downside: it won't flatten invisible subdirectories (unless you set shopt -s dotglob first). – Gordon Davisson Jun 23 '19 at 2:08

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