Linux / Unix: Find All Hidden Dot Directories and Delete

by on May 5, 2013 · 4 comments· LAST UPDATED May 5, 2013

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I need to clean up my backups stored on the nas server. I need to free up the disk space. How do I find out all hidden dot directories such as /nas01/backups/home/user/.gnome/, /nas01/backups/home/user/.gnome/ and so on and delete then in a single pass using Linux or Unix command line option? Please note that I do not want to delete nested hidden directories such as /nas01/backups/home/user/data/.xml, /nas01/backups/home/user/foo/bar/.level/.levle2/ and so on.

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
Estimated completion timeN/A
You can use the find command to find or locate files on a Linux or Unix system. The search is recursive in that it will search all subdirectories too. The syntax is:

find /path/to/search criteria action

Here's an example find command using a search criterion and the default print action:

find /nas01/backups/home/user/ -name file-Name-here

To match only directories, use:

find /nas01/backups/home/user/ -type d -name file-Name-here -print0

To match only hidden dot directories, enter:
find /nas01/backups/home/user/ -type d -name ".*" -print0

To descend at most one levels of directories below the command line arguments pass the -maxdepth 1 option. This will avoid deleting nested directories:

find /nas01/backups/home/user/ -maxdepth 1 -type d -name ".*" -print0

Once satisfied with the result, use the xargs command to delete all hidden directories:

find .  -maxdepth 1 -type d -iname ".[^.]*" -print0 | xargs -I {} -0 rm -rvf "{}"


find .  -maxdepth 1 -type d -iname ".*" -print0 | xargs -I {} -0 rm -rvf "{}"
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nick May 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Won’t this, without maxdepth also delete directories higher than the specified (.* matches “..”)?


2 Casper May 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Why not use -exec:

find . -maxdepth 1 -type d -iname “.[^.]*” -exec rm -rvf “{}” \;


3 a reader May 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm

why not use -delete:

find -maxdepth 1 -type d -name “.[^.]*” -deletewe have got crammed


4 Saenthan July 5, 2013 at 6:14 am

ls -al


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