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UNIX mv Command Examples

How do I use mv command to rename or move file under UNIX operating systems?

You can move and rename files by using the mv command under UNIX.


mv oldname newname
mv filename /dest/dir

Task: Rename A File

Type the mv command to rename foo.txt to bar.txt:

mv foo.txt bar.txt

Task: Rename A Directory

Type the following command to rename a directory in the current directory:

mv oldDir newDir
mv letters letters.old

Task: Move Directory

Use the following sytax:
mv sourceDir destDir
In this example, move httpd directory and its contents to a new location /webroot in the file system so that a subdirectory named httpd resides in directory /webroot:

mv httpd /webroot
cd /webroot
ls -l

mv Options

The following options are supported:

  • -f : mv will move the file(s) without prompting even if it is writing over an existing target. Note that this is the default if the standard input is not a terminal.
  • -i : mv will prompt for confirmation whenever the move would overwrite an existing target. An affirmative answer means that the move should proceed. Any other answer prevents mv from overwriting the target.

Overwrite an existing file, enter:

mv -f file /dest
mv -i /etc/passwd /backup
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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • WendiBarba January 5, 2011, 11:09 pm

    How can I change the name of the company in a Unix system?

    • nilesh nanekar August 7, 2012, 6:53 am

      mv company newcompanyname

  • vignesh June 21, 2011, 9:32 am

    Plz give an example for mv -t command in unix

  • chandralekha February 2, 2012, 8:51 am

    plz give a program to implement move command

    • gayatri March 30, 2012, 10:11 am

      int main()
      int fd,rc,fd1;
      char ch[5];

      return 0;

  • Kashyap July 11, 2012, 8:28 am

    Can we use mv command to move one file to another remote machine..?

    • nixCraft July 11, 2012, 6:07 pm

      No. Use rsync command with –delete option. Read man page for more info.

  • Randy February 21, 2013, 1:29 am

    Let’s say I have a directory with FLAC and MP3 files. I would like to move all of the FLAC files into a folder or even a folder that has not been created yet. Is this possible?

  • shivi January 15, 2015, 10:35 am

    how to get the files back if i rename 5 different files with same name…????

  • Akilapriya March 19, 2015, 11:41 am

    Plz give me an example to execute mv and ch commands in LINUX….

    • sivaiahkallagunta October 12, 2015, 5:40 pm

      mv oldname newname
      mv filename /dest/di
      mv -rf siva.pl sivaiah.pl
      Here r means recarsve and f means force.
      1) chmod o+r *.html
      This will grant Read permission to everyone for all the files in the current directory whose names end in .html.

      2) chmod o+r *.gif
      This will grant Read permission to everyone for all the files in the current directory whose “extension” is gif.

      3) chmod o+r *
      This will grant Read permission to everyone for ALL the files in the current directory.

      4) chmod o+r dir-name/*.html

      eg : chmod o+r personal/*.html
      To grant Read permission to everyone for all the .html files within a sub-directory of the current directory you would use the Above command:

      1) chmod o-r *.html
      2) chmod o-rx .
      The first command removes the read permission from all the .html files in the current directory. The second removes read and execute permission from the current directory (indicated by the dot at the end of the command).

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