man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

rm (1g)


rm - remove files or directories


rm [OPTION]... FILE...


User Commands                                               RM(1)

     rm - remove files or directories

     rm [OPTION]... FILE...

     This  manual  page  documents  the  GNU  version  of rm.  rm
     removes each specified file.  By default, it does not remove

     If  the  -I or --interactive=once option is given, and there
     are more than three files or the -r, -R, or --recursive  are
     given,  then rm prompts the user for whether to proceed with
     the entire operation.  If the response is  not  affirmative,
     the entire command is aborted.

     Otherwise, if a file is unwritable, standard input is a ter-
     minal, and the -f or --force option is not given, or the  -i
     or --interactive=always option is given, rm prompts the user
     for whether to remove the file.   If  the  response  is  not
     affirmative, the file is skipped.

     Remove (unlink) the FILE(s).

     -f, --force
          ignore nonexistent files and arguments, never prompt

     -i   prompt before every removal

     -I   prompt  once  before removing more than three files, or
          when removing recursively.   Less  intrusive  than  -i,
          while still giving protection against most mistakes

          prompt  according  to WHEN: never, once (-I), or always
          (-i).  Without WHEN, prompt always

          when removing a hierarchy recursively, skip any  direc-
          tory  that  is  on a file system different from that of
          the corresponding command line argument

          do not treat '/' specially

          do not remove '/' (default)

     -r, -R, --recursive
          remove directories and their contents recursively

GNU coreutils 8.16   Last change: March 2012                    1

User Commands                                               RM(1)

     -v, --verbose
          explain what is being done

          display this help and exit

          output version information and exit

     By  default,  rm  does  not  remove  directories.   Use  the
     --recursive  (-r  or -R) option to remove each listed direc-
     tory, too, along with all of its contents.

     To remove a file whose name starts with a '-',  for  example
     '-foo', use one of these commands:

          rm -- -foo

          rm ./-foo

     Note that if you use rm to remove a file, it might be possi-
     ble to recover some of its contents, given sufficient exper-
     tise  and/or  time.  For greater assurance that the contents
     are truly unrecoverable, consider using shred.

     Written by Paul Rubin, David MacKenzie, Richard M. Stallman,
     and Jim Meyering.

     Report rm bugs to
     GNU  coreutils home page: <
     General help using GNU  software:  <
     Report   rm   translation  bugs  to  <http://translationpro->

     Copyright (C) 2012 Free Software Foundation,  Inc.   License
     GPLv3+:      GNU      GPL     version     3     or     later
     This is free software: you are free  to  change  and  redis-
     tribute  it.   There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted
     by law.

     See  attributes(5)  for  descriptions   of   the   following

GNU coreutils 8.16   Last change: March 2012                    2

User Commands                                               RM(1)

     |Availability   | file/gnu-coreutils |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted        |
     unlink(1), unlink(2), shred(1)

     The  full  documentation  for  rm is maintained as a Texinfo
     manual.  If the info and rm programs are properly  installed
     at your site, the command

          info coreutils 'rm invocation'

     should give you access to the complete manual.

     This   software   was   built   from   source  available  at   The   original
     community       source       was       downloaded       from

     Further information about this software can be found on  the
     open  source  community  website at

GNU coreutils 8.16   Last change: March 2012                    3