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
- 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 -i options.
- Request confirmation before attempting to remove each file,
regardless of the file's permissions, or whether or not the standard input
device is a terminal. The -i option overrides
any previous -f options.
- Overwrite regular files before deleting them. Files are
overwritten once with a random pattern. Files with multiple links will be
unlinked but not overwritten.
- 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 -R.
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 “rm -r
utility exits 0 if all of the named files or
file hierarchies were removed, or if the -f
option was specified and all of the existing files or file hierarchies were
removed. If an error occurs, rm
exits with a
Recursively remove all files contained within the
$ rm -rf foobar
Either of these commands will remove the file -f
utility is compliant with the
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008
The flags [-dP
extensions to that specification.
command appeared in
Version 1 AT&T UNIX
utility differs from historical
implementations in that the -f
option only masks
attempts to remove non-existent files instead of masking a large variety of
Also, historical BSD
implementations prompted on the
standard output, not the standard error output.
The interactive mode used to be a dsw
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