How to delete files and directories in Linux rm command with examples

rm command is used for deleting files and directories in Linux.
Syntax

rm /file_path/file_name
rm file_name

First command is deleting with absolute path has been provided. In second command file name is given assuming file is in working directory.

Example

rm test 
rm /test/test1

Delete multiple files

Deleting multiple you need to provide names of file you want to delete along with rm command

Syntax

rm file1 file2 file3 file4

Example

rm test1.txt test2.txt test3.txt test4.txt

Deleting multiple files with same extension can be done easily using wildcard character.

Syntax

rm *.extension

Example

rm *.txt

Interactively delete files from Linux system

Using rm command to delete files from Linux has a limitation that it does not ask for confirmation before deleting a file. To get a message before deleting use –i switch with rm command.

Syntax

rm –i file_name

Example

rm -i test.txt

Delete a directory with all files within

rm command can delete directories with all files within it. For deleting directory rm along with –r switch and file name.

Syntax

rm –r directory

Example

rm-r test

The above command will delete all files from test directory and finally remove test directory. It will ask for confirmation before deleting of all files from directory. If you don’t want prompt to appear before deleting of all files use –f (force) switch.

Syntax

rm –rf directory

Example

rm-rf test

Use of rmdir command to delete directories

If you have an empty directory you can also use rmdir command. The difference in rmdir from rm command is rm directory will delete all file and directories within when you used with –r switch but rmdir requires empty directory else it will not execute.

Syntax

rmdir directory_name

Example

rmdir test