remove directory entries
utility attempts to remove the
non-directory type files specified on the command line. If the permissions of
the file do not permit writing, and the standard input device is a terminal,
the user is prompted (on the standard error output) for confirmation.
The options are as follows:
- Attempt to remove directories as well as other types of files.
- Attempt to remove the files without prompting for confirmation, regardless
of the file's permissions. If the file does not exist, do not display a
diagnostic message or modify the exit status to reflect an error. The
-f option overrides any previous
- Request confirmation before attempting to remove each file, regardless of
the file's permissions, or whether or not the standard input device is a
-i option overrides any
- Overwrite regular files before deleting them. Files are overwritten once
with a random pattern. Files with multiple links will be unlinked but not
- Attempt to remove the file hierarchy rooted in each file argument. The
-R option implies the
-d option. If the
-i option is specified, the user is
prompted for confirmation before each directory (and its contents) are
processed. If the user does not respond affirmatively, the file hierarchy
rooted in that directory is skipped.
- Equivalent to
utility removes symbolic links, not
the files referenced by the links.
It is an error to attempt to remove the root directory or the files
“.” or “..”. It is forbidden to remove the file
“..” merely to avoid the antisocial consequences of
inadvertently doing something like “
utility exits 0 if all of the named
files or file hierarchies were removed, or if the
option was specified and all of the
existing files or file hierarchies were removed. If an error occurs,
exits with a value >0.
Recursively remove all files contained within the
$ rm -rf foobar
Either of these commands will remove the file
utility is compliant with the
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008
The flags [
extensions to that specification.
command appeared in
Version 1 AT&T UNIX
utility differs from historical
implementations in that the
masks attempts to remove non-existent files instead of masking a large variety
Also, historical BSD
implementations prompted on the
standard output, not the standard error output.
The interactive mode used to be a
command, a carryover from the ancient past with an amusing etymology.
option assumes that both the
underlying file system and storage medium write in place. This is true for the
FFS and MS-DOS file systems and magnetic hard disks, but not true for most
flash storage. In addition, only regular files are overwritten; other types of
files are not.