Removing Files and Folders

You can remove files and folders (together with their folder contents) with the rm command.

When you use rm, you delete files and folders permanently. This is not the same as moving them to the Trash or Recycle Bin. Files removed with rm are gone. Your can’t get them back. Before using rm, it’s crucial that you know where you are in your file system and will be truly removing what you want to remove. Check inside folders before removing them.

Remove a file

To remove the file foo.txt, use cd to navigate to the directory where it lives, then execute

rm foo.txt

You can add the -i option if you’d like to be asked one last time if you’re certain.

rm -i foo.txt
remove foo.txt?

Type “y” to proceed, “n” to change your mind.

You can use the -i option with folders, too, but you’ll be prompted to approve the deletion of each file individually.

Remove a folder (and its enclosed contents)

To remove a folder, use cd to navigate to the directory where the folder lives, then execute

rm -r some-folder

The -r option is short for “recursive.” The command will delete the folder and, to repeat, all its contents, including other folders inside it, folders inside them, and the files inside these folders. Use this command with extreme caution.