How to delete all files in a current directory starting with a dot?

Posted on 2016-09-18
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-09-18

I use Ubuntu 14.04 and in a terminal I became root with sudo su and I wanted to delete root's trash manually. It deleted everything except for a few files that start with a dot. Like .htaccess etc. So I went to that directory (which is "files") and I ran this command:

rm -rf .*

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It did delete those files, BUT I also got an error message that the system couldn't delete "." and ".." What does it mean? Like if I tried to delete the whole directory tree? Like I said, when I was running that command I was in the lowest directory. This one to be exact: /root/.local/share/Trash/files/
I shot down my PC and then turned it on. Everything seems to be normal at first glance. So now I want to ask is what went wrong and if what I did could really cause any serious damage to the system in general? In other words, should I be worried now or everything is OK?
Question by:Member_2_7970041
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

serialband earned 2000 total points
ID: 41804229
. and .. are the current and parent directory, respectively

It's also better not to use rm -rf with *, unless you understand what you're deleting.  It's better to use rm -rf .??* for dot files.

Author Comment

ID: 41804269
Thanks for your reply!

Looks like I confused DNS "." with a Linux "." So in my case it wasn't the whole directory tree, starting from above, but only the current directory and the one above it, i.e. "files" and "Trash", correct? And then I got an error, since the system couldn't delete those two, considering my current location then. So those are good news then. No damage is done. I checked those two directories and they do exist now.

Next time I'll just leave those alone, since those files are less than 1K each. Or delete those one by one, using their full names.

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