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Bash Shell Script To Test For Empty Folder

How do I check if a directory contains files? How do I find out if a directory contains files using bash shell under Linux or Unix like operating systems?

To test if folder is empty or not use the following methods.

Method # 1: Find command

The syntax is:

find /path/to/dir -maxdepth 0 -empty -exec echo {} is empty. \;

You can modify it as follows to work with shell if command:

[ $# -eq 0 ] && { echo "Usage: $0 directory"; exit 2; }
[ ! -d "$dir" ] && { echo "$dir is not a directory."; exit 2; }
if find "$dir" -maxdepth 0 -empty | read;
 echo "$dir empty."
 echo "$dir not empty."

Run the script as follows:
./script /etc
Sample outputs:

/etc not empty.

Create a directory / folder called /tmp/foo using mkdir command:
$ mkdir /tmp/foo
Run the script as follows:
./script /tmp/foo
Sample outputs:

/tmp/foo empty.

Method #2: Other commands

See our previous tutorial and comments for more info:

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Alireza July 19, 2012, 6:32 am

    These’re hard ways! You can do it:
    if [ `ls -A “$dir” | wc -l` -eq 0 ]; then echo “Empty!”; fi

  • Saravanan August 13, 2012, 9:38 am

    In the find command you need to include the parameter -type d so that it searches only directories and not the files

  • TORNADO August 23, 2012, 12:41 pm

    if ! ls /path/to/dir/* 2> /dev/null; then echo Empty; fi

  • TORNADO August 23, 2012, 12:53 pm

    if ! ls /path/to/file/* 2> /dev/null; then
    echo Empty;

  • TORNADO August 23, 2012, 12:54 pm
    if ! ls /path/to/file/* 2> /dev/null; then
        echo Empty;

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