I have a hard drive with a few tb capacity and want to distribute all files to multiple smaller disks. So for example 8 tb -> 4 * 2 tb. I thought using rsync with remove-from-source, so successfull transfers are deleted, so I can always see how much is left to copy. When a drive runs full, rsync will eventually stop, I change the drive, and start rsync again, rsync only copies the files that failed previously.

But in my tests I noticed that if a file is transfered that is bigger than the space left, the partial file stills stays there. It is not removed on the origin, but it still exists on the target. That could get confusing later if I have the same file with different sizes.

Can rsync remove the partial failed file from the target? I looked at all the delete options, but none of them seem to do what I want.


edit: Was using rsync -avP which was the problem.

  • Thanks for the tip. I marked it now.
    – Arpton
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 13:39
  • Please edit the question so that it shows how you're invoking rsync. That's where the information belongs, rather than in an answer. Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


Never mind. I was using rsync -avP. Just noticed that P is short for partial and progress. I always thought it's for progress only. But the partial is keeping the partial file.

Case closed. Just don't use -P.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .