I'm looking for a solution to be used as a response to "rm: remove write-protected regular file [x] ?"

I was thinking of issuing a character followed by carriage return for several amount of times, in bashrc. How do we do that?

  • You can define a function. This thrad may help you: stackoverflow.com/questions/756756/…. – alpert Apr 18 '13 at 12:07
  • Why do you want to do this? It's a very un-obvious task to want to print carriage returns (as opposed to newlines) in any case, and in .bashrc? – l0b0 Apr 18 '13 at 12:59
  • @l0b0 question edited to be more specific – Iancovici Apr 18 '13 at 13:06
  • Why would you want to remove files in .bashrc? The original task is still not clear. – l0b0 Apr 18 '13 at 13:09
  • 3
    @echadromani It's very common on SO/SE to try to understand the original problem to provide an optimal solution which may be applicable to other situations. – l0b0 Apr 18 '13 at 13:14

Edit based on updated question:

To avoid being asked about removing files, add the -f ("force") option:

rm -f /path/to/file

This has one side effect you should be aware of: If any of the given paths do not exist, it will not report this, and it will return successfully:

$ rm -f /nonexistent/path
$ echo $?

Original answer:

Here's one simple solution:

yes "$string" | head -n $number | tr $'\n' $'\r'

yes repeats any string you give it infinitely, separated by newlines. head stops it after $number times, and tr translates the newlines to carriage returns. You might not see any output because of the carriage returns, but passing it to this command (in bash) should illustrate it:

printf %q "$(yes "$string" | head -n $number | tr $'\n' $'\r')"

Users without bash can pipe the result to od, hexdump or xxd to see the actual characters returned.

| improve this answer | |

rm is hardcoded to ask "interactively" (prompt waiting for user input) on write protected files. there are two methods to prevent rm from asking:

rm -rf somedir


rm -r --interactive=never somedir

(both also work without -r when deleting files instead of dirs)


-f makes rm to "ignore nonexistent files and arguments, never prompt".

--interactive=never does what it says: never be interactive. in other words: never prompt.

the difference between -f and --interactive=never is this part: "ignore nonexistent files and arguments".


$ rm -rf nonexistingname
$ echo $?


$ rm -r --interactive=never nonexistingname
rm: cannot remove 'nonexistingname': No such file or directory
$ echo $?

the difference is mainly interesting when writing scripts where you never want rm to be interactive but still want to handle errors.

summary: on command line use rm -rf. in scripts use rm -r --interactive=never.

for an answer the stated question ("How to avoid the need to issue “y” several times when removing protected file") see https://askubuntu.com/questions/338857/automatically-enter-input-in-command-line/338860#338860

| improve this answer | |

The other issue I've run into from time to time is that rm is aliased to rm -i, something like this in the /etc/bashrc:

alias rm='rm -i'

In that case you can either unalias rm or you can use this trick that I found out years ago, put a backslash in front of a command that's been aliased, to ignore the alias just that one time, for example:

\rm somefile

You can learn more about aliases through an article at Nixcraft.

| improve this answer | |

just give yes to all your commands!

yes | rm -r /path/
yes | <command>

Anyways you can always force using -f:

rm -r -f /path
| improve this answer | |

I too ran into same issue. The above answer is just for one file but if you want to ignore lots of yes.

You can use

sudo rm -r /path/to/directory

to remove all write protected regular file

| improve this answer | |
  • This is being downvoted because it removes the entire directory. Presumably OP only wants to remove the file in question, not every single file in the same directory subtree. – Jake Aug 26 '17 at 9:53
  • Hey.... May be you are right. – Gopal Prasad Aug 27 '17 at 11:09
  • Hey.... May be you are right. But not in this case.. As if a user have lots of patience and time, then he also have time to give 'yes' several time... I have assumed that he want to remove all file with one command.. As write protected file always ask for confirmation before deleting this type of file.. One such example is in the case when you create virtualenv and later you want to remove in python.. Please try it and you will find rm command asking for confirmation and each time you have to supply an answer.. I have resolved the situation in this way. – Gopal Prasad Aug 27 '17 at 11:17

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