rm Man page

RM(1) 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 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 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

–interactive[=WHEN] 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

–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

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, con‐
sider using shred.


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


GNU coreutils online help:
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Copyright © 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU
GPL version 3 or later .
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


unlink, unlink, chattr, shred

Full documentation at:
or available locally via: info ‘(coreutils) rm invocation’

GNU coreutils 8.25 February 2016 RM(1)