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Linux: delete all files NOT being accessed

Posted on 2011-09-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I want to delete all files here that are NOT currently being accessed or downloaded:
/home/userxyz/public_html/downloads/

If a file is in that directory and is NOT being downloaded or accessed, I want it to be deleted.
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Question by:hankknight
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Expert Comment

by:wesly_chen
ID: 36504381
as "root", type
find  /home/userxyz/public_html/downloads/   -type f   -atime +7
  to see how many files are not accessed within past 7 days.

If you are sure those files can be delete, then

find  /home/userxyz/public_html/downloads/   -type f   -atime +7  -exec /bin/rm -f {}\;
   to remove them

you can change  to "-atime +3" for not accessed for past 3 days.
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by:hankknight
ID: 36504784
Is there a way to do this for files that are not CURRENTLY being accessed?

If we must set a time then files not accessed for 10 minutes.
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Accepted Solution

by:
wesly_chen earned 500 total points
ID: 36504813
> not accessed for 10 minutes.
-amin +10

find  /home/userxyz/public_html/downloads/   -type f   -amin +10  -exec /bin/rm -f {}\;
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LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 36505035
>> Is there a way to do this for files that are not CURRENTLY being accessed?

You'd have to be using lsof if you want to know for sure. But then you would have to compare a directory listing of ./downloads with lsof output and determine what can be deleted. This is a more difficult approach than using find with -amin +10 (access for 10 minutes).
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Expert Comment

by:noci
ID: 36507150
be shut that the disks are mounted with the atime option though. (noatime is used a lot to speed up diskaccess by preventing updates of the atime stamp ....)
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by:noci
noci earned 500 total points
ID: 36507152
be sure in stead of be shut... Sorry.
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Assisted Solution

by:eager
eager earned 500 total points
ID: 36516510
Open files are not deleted until the last user closes the file, although the directory entry is removed immediately.  This may mean that you can delete all files in the directory and any that are currently being accessed will continue to be read. There may be interactions with a web server or other program which causes the file to be re-opened.

You can test this easily by creating a large file which takes a while to download or copy.  While this is being accessed, delete the file.  The transfer should complete without error.  
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