Linux / Unix rsync: Delete Source File After Transfer

by on September 14, 2012 · 6 comments· LAST UPDATED September 14, 2012

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I would like to move all desktop:~/Downloads/*.avi files from my desktop to laptop:~/Download/ using rsync. How do I delete source file after successful transfer is done using rsync command under BSD/Unix/Linux/Apple OS X operating systems?

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
Requirementsrsync
Estimated completion timeN/A

You need to pass the --remove-source-files option to the rsync command. It tells rsync to remove from the sending side the files (meaning non-directories) that are a part of the transfer and have been successfully duplicated on the receiving side. Do not pass the --delete option to rsync command as it delete extraneous files from destination directory.

Delete source after successful transfer using rsync

The syntax is:

 
rsync --remove-source-files -options /path/to/src/ /path/to/dest
rsync --remove-source-files -options /path/to/src/ computerB:/path/to/dest
rsync --remove-source-files -av /path/to/src/*.avi computerB:/path/to/dest
 

You can always perform a trial run with no changes made using --dry-run option:

 
rsync --dry-run --remove-source-files -azv /path/to/Download/*.avi laptop:~/Download
 

If you like output run the final command without --dry-run option:

 
rsync --remove-source-files -azv /path/to/Download/*.avi laptop:~/Download
 
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vijay September 14, 2012 at 5:17 am

This is one of the good aspect of rsync. Additionally, you can use this too --delete-after.

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2 Dan March 14, 2014 at 6:33 am

--delete-after will remove the destination files after the transfer, not the source files.

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3 Jalal Hajigholamali September 15, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hi,
Very nice article….
thanks

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4 Pankaj July 24, 2013 at 6:13 am

this is to delete source file what would be the command if we want to delete an old file from destination after rsync complete
my scenario is
rsync -e ‘ssh -p 22′ -Cavz user@remote_computer:/home/user/dbbackup /home/user/backup/
but this command rsync new file but also keep the old file in my home/user//backup/
I want to remove the old file just want newly copied file.

Please help.

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5 Matt August 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm

actually its called –remove-sent-files now i think? Well my version was anyway

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6 Bharat March 10, 2014 at 8:18 am

Please explain something about differential backup in rsync.

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