Linux file and directory removal from the command line

  • To remove the folder with all its contents(including all interior folders):
    rm -rf /path/to/directory
  • To remove all the contents of the folder(including all interior folders) but not the folder itself:
    rm -rf /path/to/directory/*


    rm -rf /path/to/directory/{*,.*}

    if you want to make sure that hidden files/directories are also removed.

  • To remove all the “files” from inside a folder(not removing interior folders):
    rm -f /path/to/directory/{*,.*}


  • rm – stands for “remove
  • -f – stands for “force” which is helpful when you don’t want to be asked/prompted if you want to remove an archive, for example.
  • -r – stands for “recursive” which means that you want to go recursively down every folder and remove everything.
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