Let’s Learn To Remove A Directory

Today’s article is going to teach you how to remove a directory. This being Linux and rmdir, you can only remove empty directories. That’s okay, that’s still what we’re going to use. I’m pretty sure I’ve explained how to remove files before and, if not, that’s a pretty simple task.

This article is going to be light on details and pretty short. I popped positive on one COVID test and negative on another. I could take a third test, but I really just feel crappy and not all that bad. Still, it’s an excuse to have a nice and easy article! I like those sometimes! My proofreading may be sub-par.

Like I said, we’ll be using ‘rmdir’ and that only works on EMPTY directories. I can’t stress this enough! If there’s a file in the directory, any file, it will not delete the directory. 

Umm…

I do not know the design reason for making ‘rmdir’ (a standard tool in every Linux) only remove empty directories – but I suspect it’s a protection method. It’s protecting itself from you – meaning you must go in and confirm that it is empty and that there are no files remaining that you’d like to keep. After that, you can delete the directory.

That stands to reason and, frankly, it’s the only reason I can think of. If anyone knows the real reason, assuming I am wrong, please feel free to let me know in a comment. I’m quite curious. Ah well… Onto the article!

Remove A Directory:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Now, with your terminal open, let’s use ‘rmdir‘ and learn how to remove a directory. In its basic form, the command is:

This works if it’s a path you want to specify:

If you want, you can use the -v switch and get a verbose output, telling you what is being deleted. This is probably for the best. So, it’d look like:

But wait, there’s more! What if you wanted to remove all of that, you want to remove /path /path/to and /path/to/dir? Well, you can do that:

Of course, if you want confirmation of what’s being deleted, try:

Assuming all those directories are empty, the command will complete itself and remove all the directories in that path. Those are basically all the rmdir commands you’re likely to need, but you can check man rmdir for more information.

Closure:

See? Nice and easy. See? You even get an article when I’m dying from the plague! Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll be just fine. Statistics are my friend at times like this, so my worry level is exactly 0%. The odds of it incapacitating me are negligible and I’m a pretty big fan of math.

I’m vaxxed to the max and even boosted – which only lessens your chance. I’ll be fine. After all, only the good die young! (I am not young, now that I think about it!) I’ll quarantine at home and hope for the best, while monitoring for degradation.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 5 Average: 5]

Delete Directories From The Terminal In Linux

In your Linux journey, you’ll eventually want to delete directories as you do some housecleaning. Keeping your computer tidy makes you more efficient. Deleting directories you no longer need helps keep your system tidy. 

It’s easy enough to manage and remove directories while you’re in your graphic file manager. Though sometimes, if you’re managing files in the terminal, you might just as well learn to manage directories while you’re in there. It’s not too terribly difficult.

As an example of why this is worth knowing, you may be working with a headless system, something without a GUI desktop environment. In that case, you will have no choice but to delete directories from the terminal. It’s just something you’ll come up against as you learn file management.

Either way, being able to delete directories from the terminal is a skill that comes in handy, a skill that you should know. And so it should be something you have in your toolbox.

The tools we’ll be using for this article are rmdir and rm. They’re both basic commands that have existed since the earliest of Unix days, and they’re both useful commands today.

The rmdir command describes itself as:

rmdir – remove empty directories

And rm describes itself as:

rm – remove files or directories

So, with that in mind, let’s jump into the exercise.

Delete Directories From The Terminal:

Deleting directories from the terminal obviously requires said open terminal. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

The first command is really simple. If it’s an empty directory that you want to delete, you can use the rmdir command. As you read in the intro, the directory MUST be empty for this command to work. It’s also really simple to run:

So long as the directory is empty, you should be all set to go. If the directory you want to delete is not empty, you have to use the rm command. It’d look like this:

If you’re curious, the -r flag means recursive – it’ll even delete directories (and the files within them) within the directory. The -f flag means force – it should delete all files and directories no matter what and without any confirmation.

If you’re curious about either of those two commands, and there should someday be an article about ‘rm’, and for now you can just check the manual. You’d use either man rmdir or man rm. There’s not much to the first, and the latter is complex enough to warrant its own eventual article.

Closure:

Whoop! There it is! It’s another article in what’s turning into quite a long list of articles. If I’m going to keep this up for a full year, I might just as well have fun with it – and this was a nice, easy, and fun article. It’s mostly aimed at new users, as long-term users would hopefully already know how to delete directories from the terminal.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 5 Average: 5]
Linux Tips
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Zoom to top!