rm man page

rm — remove files or directories


rm path/to/file path/to/another/file

rm -r path/to/folder

rm -rf path/to/folder

rm -i file(s)

rm -v path/to/folder/*


rm [OPTION]... [FILE]...


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

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 terminal, 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


prompt before every removal


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 directory 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

-d, --dir

remove empty directories

-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 directory, 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 possible to recover some of its contents, given sufficient expertise 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.

Reporting Bugs

GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report rm translation bugs to <https://translationproject.org/team/>

See Also

unlink(1), unlink(2), chattr(1), shred(1)

Full documentation at: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/rm>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) rm invocation'

Referenced By

c_incl(1), debugfs(8), gio(1), lockfile(1), lsof(1), mksh(1), mq_overview(7), ocfs2(7), ptrash(1), remove(3), rmdir(2), samefile(1), srm(1), symlink(7), tmpwatch(8), unlink(2).

December 2017 GNU coreutils 8.29 User Commands