Linux / UNIX: Bash Find And Delete All Hidden Files Directories

Posted on in Categories , , last updated November 9, 2010

How can I find all all hidden files and directories (starting with . character) under UNIX or Linux and delete them using bash or ksh shell?

Use the following command to list all hidden files in /path/to/dest/ directory
$ find /path/to/dest/ -iname ".*" -maxdepth 1 -type f
To list all hidden directories use the following command:
$ find /path/to/dest/ -iname ".*" -maxdepth 1 -type d
To delete all hidden files under UNIX or Linux use the following command:
$ find /path/to/dest/ -iname ".*" -maxdepth 1 -type f -delete
OR
$ find /path/to/dest/ -iname ".*" -maxdepth 1 -type f -exec rm {} \;
To delete all hidden directories under UNIX or Linux use the following command:
$ find /path/to/dest/ -iname ".*" -maxdepth 1 -type d -exec rm -rf {} \;
If you removed -maxdepth 1 it will find all subdirectories and remove them too.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

3 comment

  1. this can be very dangerous,
    when the /path/to/dest/ is . -iname “.*” will match .
    which is probably not what you want.
    (with the -exec rm -rf {} \; it could be very very bad)
    i tend to use -name “.[^.]*” or -path “*/.*”
    depending on whether or not I want to match the contents of the hidden directories.

  2. Command : find /path/to/dest/ -iname “.*” -maxdepth 1 -type f gives me below error :
    you have specified the -maxdepth option after a non-option argument -iname, but options are not positional (-maxdepth affects tests specified before it as well as those specified after it)

    Use maxdepth option before -iname
    $ find /path/to/dest/ -maxdepth 1 -iname “.*” -type f

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