Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Man Pages

Man Page or Keyword Search:
Man Architecture
Apropos Keyword Search (all sections) Output format
home | help
RM(1)                   FreeBSD General Commands Manual                  RM(1)

NAME
     rm, unlink - remove directory entries

SYNOPSIS
     rm [-f | -i] [-dIPRrvW] file ...
     unlink file

DESCRIPTION
     The rm utility attempts to remove the non-directory type files specified
     on the command line.  If the permissions of the file do not permit
     writing, and the standard input device is a terminal, the user is
     prompted (on the standard error output) for confirmation.

     The options are as follows:

     -d      Attempt to remove directories as well as other types of files.

     -f      Attempt to remove the files without prompting for confirmation,
             regardless of the file's permissions.  If the file does not
             exist, do not display a diagnostic message or modify the exit
             status to reflect an error.  The -f option overrides any previous
             -i options.

     -i      Request confirmation before attempting to remove each file,
             regardless of the file's permissions, or whether or not the
             standard input device is a terminal.  The -i option overrides any
             previous -f options.

     -I      Request confirmation once if more than three files are being
             removed or if a directory is being recursively removed.  This is
             a far less intrusive option than -i yet provides almost the same
             level of protection against mistakes.

     -P      Overwrite regular files before deleting them.  Files are
             overwritten three times, first with the byte pattern 0xff, then
             0x00, and then 0xff again, before they are deleted.  Files with
             multiple links will not be overwritten nor deleted unless -f is
             specified, a warning is generated instead.

             Specifying this flag for a read only file will cause rm to
             generate an error message and exit.  The file will not be removed
             or overwritten.

     -R      Attempt to remove the file hierarchy rooted in each file
             argument.  The -R option implies the -d option.  If the -i option
             is specified, the user is prompted for confirmation before each
             directory's contents are processed (as well as before the attempt
             is made to remove the directory).  If the user does not respond
             affirmatively, the file hierarchy rooted in that directory is
             skipped.

     -r      Equivalent to -R.

     -v      Be verbose when deleting files, showing them as they are removed.

     -W      Attempt to undelete the named files.  Currently, this option can
             only be used to recover files covered by whiteouts in a union
             file system (see undelete(2)).

     The rm utility removes symbolic links, not the files referenced by the
     links.

     It is an error to attempt to remove the files /, . or ...

     When the utility is called as unlink, only one argument, which must not
     be a directory, may be supplied.  No options may be supplied in this
     simple mode of operation, which performs an unlink(2) operation on the
     passed argument.

EXIT STATUS
     The rm utility exits 0 if all of the named files or file hierarchies were
     removed, or if the -f option was specified and all of the existing files
     or file hierarchies were removed.  If an error occurs, rm exits with a
     value >0.

NOTES
     The rm command uses getopt(3) to parse its arguments, which allows it to
     accept the `--' option which will cause it to stop processing flag
     options at that point.  This will allow the removal of file names that
     begin with a dash (`-').  For example:

           rm -- -filename

     The same behavior can be obtained by using an absolute or relative path
     reference.  For example:

           rm /home/user/-filename
           rm ./-filename

     When -P is specified with -f the file will be overwritten and removed
     even if it has hard links.

COMPATIBILITY
     The rm utility differs from historical implementations in that the -f
     option only masks attempts to remove non-existent files instead of
     masking a large variety of errors.  The -v option is non-standard and its
     use in scripts is not recommended.

     Also, historical BSD implementations prompted on the standard output, not
     the standard error output.

SEE ALSO
     chflags(1), rmdir(1), undelete(2), unlink(2), fts(3), getopt(3),
     symlink(7)

STANDARDS
     The rm command conforms to IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'').

     The simplified unlink command conforms to Version 2 of the Single UNIX
     Specification (``SUSv2'').

HISTORY
     A rm command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.

BUGS
     The -P option assumes that the underlying file system is a fixed-block
     file system.  UFS is a fixed-block file system, LFS is not.  In addition,
     only regular files are overwritten, other types of files are not.

FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE        December 26, 2006       FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE

NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | EXIT STATUS | NOTES | COMPATIBILITY | SEE ALSO | STANDARDS | HISTORY | BUGS

Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:
<https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=rm&sektion=1&manpath=FreeBSD+7.4-RELEASE>

home | help