Everything is a file in Linux including the directory. A directory is nothing but a group of files. You can use the following commands to delete the directory in Linux. Directory is also known as a folder in the Macintosh OS X/macOS and Microsoft Windows operating system.
Commands to remove a directory in Linux
There are two command to delete a folder in Linux:
- rmdir command – Deletes the specified empty directories and folders in Linux.
- rm command – Delete the file including sub-directories. You can delete non-empty directories with rmdir command in Linux.
Let us see some examples and usage in details.
rmdir command syntax to delete directory in Linux
The rmdir command remove the DIRECTORY(ies), if they are empty. The syntax is:
rmdir [option] directory-name
Open the terminal application and run command to delete given directory. For example, delete a folder named dir1:
Delete directory Linux Command
Open a command line terminal (select Applications > Accessories > Terminal), and then type the following command to remove a directory called /tmp/docs:
If a directory is not empty you will get an error message that read as follows::
rmdir: letters: Directory not empty
You can cd to the directory to find out files:
$ cd letters
In this example, remove data, foo and bar if bar were empty, foo only contained bar and data only contained foo directories:
rmdir -p data/foo/bar
- -p – Each directory argument is treated as a pathname of which all components will be removed, if they are empty, starting with the last most component.
How to see a diagnostic message for every directory processed
Pass the -v option to the rmdir command:
$ rmdir -v dir1
Linux remove entire directory including all files and sub-directories command
To remove all directories and subdirectories use the rm command. For example, remove *.doc files and all sub-directories and files inside letters directory, type the following command (warning all files including subdirectories will be deleted permanently):
$ rm -rf letters/
- -r : Attempt to remove the file hierarchy rooted in each file argument i.e. recursively remove subdirectories and files from the specified directory.
- -f : Attempt to remove the files without prompting for confirmation, regardless of the file’s permissions
Are you getting permission denied error message while removing directories?
Only owners can delete their directories. However, a sysadmin can delete any directories created by anyone on the system. The syntax is:
sudo rmdir /path/to/dir/
sudo rm -rf dir2
When prompted, you need to provide root user or sudo user password.
This page showed how to delete a directory when it is empty. Further, it showed, how to remove folders using the rm and rmdir commands. See rm help page here:
- For more information read man pages: rm(1)