In its first form, the
mv utility moves
the file named by the source operand to the
destination path named by the target operand. This
form is assumed when the last operand does not name an already existing
In its second form,
mv moves each file
named by a source operand to the destination specified
by the directory operand. It is an error if the
directory does not exist. The destination path for
each source operand is the pathname produced by the
concatenation of the directory operand, a slash, and
the final pathname component of the named file.
In both forms, a source operand is skipped with an error message when the respective destination path is a non-empty directory, or when the source is a non-directory file but the destination path is a directory, or vice versa.
The options are as follows:
- Do not prompt for confirmation before overwriting the destination path.
-foption overrides any previous
mvto write a prompt to standard error before moving a file that would overwrite an existing file. If the response from the standard input begins with the character “y”, the move is attempted. The
-ioption overrides any previous
mv utility moves symbolic links, not
the files referenced by the links.
If the destination path does not have a mode which permits
mv prompts the user for confirmation as
specified for the
rename(2) call fail because the source and destination are on
different file systems,
mv will use
and rm(1) to accomplish the move. The effect is equivalent to:
$ rm -df -- destination_path && \ cp -PRp -- source destination_path && \ rm -rf -- source
mv utility exits 0 on success,
and >0 if an error occurs.
Rename file foo to bar, overwriting bar if it already exists:
$ mv -f foo bar
Either of these commands will rename the file -f to bar, prompting for confirmation if bar already exists:
$ mv -i -- -f bar $ mv -i ./-f bar
cp(1), rm(1), rename(2), symlink(7)
mv utility is compliant with the
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”)
mv command appeared in
Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
In the second synopsis form, incompatible file types in source and directory cause partial moves. For example, if f and g are non-directory files and d and d/f are directories, the command
$ mv f g d
will print an error message, leave f where it is, move g to d/g and return a non-zero exit status.