> Linux Man Page: "rm"


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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 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 --interac_tive=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, 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

-v, --verbose
explain what is being done

--help 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 is usually possible to recover the contents of that file. If you want more assurance that the contents are truly unrecoverable, consider using shred.


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

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to <>.


Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it under the terms of the GNU General Public License <>. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

See Also

unlink(1) , unlink(2) , chattr(1) , 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 rm

should give you access to the complete manual.

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