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How to delete all files, directories, and hidden files and directories in Linux

Posted on 2011-02-23
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
What is the Linux command to delete all files and directories (including hidden files and directories) from a directory?
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Question by:jbaird123
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 34960694
rm-rf directoryname

BUT BE CAREFULL
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Author Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 34960707
what if I am already in that directory?
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Accepted Solution

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woolmilkporc earned 500 total points
ID: 34960745
cd directory
rm -rf * .?*

Nothing will happen to "directory"

Ignore the warning of being unable to remove "." or ".." That's expected (and intended)!

wmp
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Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 34960753
rm ./*
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Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 34960766
Use that command carefully, if you are ins a wrong folder hell will brake lose.

And all files must be closed and not be executed by any program.
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Author Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 34960840
Neilsr:  I tried your command, and it deleted "directoryname".

I don't want to delete "directoryname".  I want to delete all contents of that directory, but not the folder itself.  Please advise.
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Expert Comment

by:woolmilkporc
ID: 34960847
See my comment!
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Author Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 34960878
woolmilkporc:  Can you explain your command?  I don't understand it.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 34960926
rm -rf Direectoryname
md Directoryname
:P
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Assisted Solution

by:woolmilkporc
woolmilkporc earned 500 total points
ID: 34960943
remove ("rm") recursively ("-r") without asking questions ("-f") all files except hidden files ("*")  plus all files starting with a dot followed by at least one character(".?*"), which is equivalent to "hidden files", from the current directory.
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Assisted Solution

by:woolmilkporc
woolmilkporc earned 500 total points
ID: 34960963
@Neilsr: Take care to record ownership and permissions beforehand, so you'll be able to recreate the directory as it was before!
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Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 34960966
Edited virsion:

rm -rf ./*
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Author Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 34961049
woolmilkporc and Santasi24:

Can you both confirm that your commands will delete only the contents of the directory that I am in?  

The reason I ask is because rm -rf <directoryname> means to delete a specific directory.  Your commands do not contain a directory name, so I need to be sure that it means "whatever directory i am currently residing in"

What does the ./ mean?
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Expert Comment

by:woolmilkporc
ID: 34961139
Please note that I suggested

cd directory
rm -rf * .?*

So directory will be your current directory. It will not be deleted, because "rm" does not delete "." or ".."

wmp

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Author Closing Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 34961319
Thank you.
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LVL 48

Expert Comment

by:Tintin
ID: 34965756
Note that

rm -rf ./*

will not remove hidden files.
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Author Comment

by:jbaird123
ID: 34965852
Thanks, Tintin.
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