How to Delete Files on Ubuntu Linux Terminal

Delete files on ubuntu linux using terminal. In this tutorial, i am going to show you many methods on how to delete files on Ubuntu Linux based system using terminal or command prompt.

Delete/remove files on Ubuntu Linux using Command

Use the rm and unlink command to delete files on Ubuntu Linux using terminal. So, let’s follow the following steps:

  1. Open the Ubuntu terminal
  2. Type any one of the following command to delete a file named hello.txt in the current directory
  3. rm hello.txt
    unlink hello.txt

WARNING: Do not type sudo rm -R / or sudo rm -r / or sudo rm -f /* or sudo rm --no-preserve-root -rf / as it removes all the data in the root directory. Avoid data loss and you should not execute them!

Delete multiple files on Ubuntu Linux using Terminal

To delete the file named hello.txt, my.txt, and abc.jpg placed in the current directory:

rm hello.txt my.txt abc.jpg

You can specify path too. If a file named hello.txt placed in /tmp/ directory, you can run:

rm /tmp/hello.txt
rm /tmp/hello.txt /home/html/my.txt/home/html/data/abc.jpg

To delete a file and prompt before every removal in Ubuntu Linux

To get confirmation before attempting to remove each file pass the -i option to the rm command on Ubuntu Linux:

 rm -i fileNameHere
 rm -i hello.txt

Force rm command on Ubuntu Linux to explain what is being done with file

Pass the -v option as follows to get verbose output on Ubuntu Linux box:

 rm -v fileNameHere
 rm -v cake-day.jpg

To delete all files in folder or directory in Ubuntu Linux

To delete all files in folder or directory in Ubuntu Linux:

 rm -rf dir1
 rm -rf /path/to/dir/
 rm -rf /home/html/oldimages/

The above given commands will remove all files and subdirectories from a directory. So be careful. Always keep backups of all important data on Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu Linux delete file begins with a dash or hyphen

If the name of a file or directory or folder starts with a dash (- or hyphen --), use the following syntax:

 rm -- -fileNameHere
 rm -- --fileNameHere
 rm -rf --DirectoryNameHere
 rm ./-file
 rm -rf ./--DirectoryNameHere

Do not run ‘rm -rf /‘ command as an administrator/root or normal Ubuntu Linux user

rm -rf (variously, rm -rf /, rm -rf *, and others) is frequently used in jokes and anecdotes about Ubuntu Linux disasters. The rm -rf / variant of the command, if run by an administrator, would cause the contents of every writable mounted filesystem on the computer to be deleted. Do not try these commands on Ubuntu Linux:

 rm -rf /
 rm -rf *

The rm command options are as follows:

  • -f : Remove read-only files immediately without any confirmation.
  • -i : Prompts end-users for confirmation before deleting every file.
  • -v : Shows the file names on the screen as they are being processed/removed from the filesystem.
  • -R OR -r : Removes the given directory along with its sub-directory/folders and all files.
  • -I : Prompts users everytime when an attempt is made to delete for than three files at a time. Also works when deleting files recursively.


In this tutorial, i have shown to you how to delete and remove a file on Ubuntu Linux based system using terminal or command prompt.

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