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).
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
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
remove empty directories
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
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:
Report rm translation bugs to
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.
Full documentation at:
or available locally via: info ‘(coreutils) rm invocation’
GNU coreutils 8.25 February 2016 RM(1)