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Delete all files in current directory that have been modified less than 5 days ago.

Terminal - Delete all files in current directory that have been modified less than 5 days ago.
find ./ -mtime -5 | xargs rm -f
2009-03-23 21:00:45
User: skye
Functions: find rm xargs
-5
Delete all files in current directory that have been modified less than 5 days ago.

Alternatives

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Terminal - Alternatives

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What others think

Why use xargs?

find ./ -mtime -5 -exec rm '{}' \; works just fine.

Comment by ozymandias 402 weeks and 4 days ago

or why don't you use a rm -f `find ./ -mtime -5`?

Comment by jasvazquez 402 weeks and 4 days ago

jasvazquez, I think on some systems rm has an upper limit to the number of arguments it can handle at once. It is a *very* large number, but it exists.

Comment by ozymandias 402 weeks and 4 days ago

ozymandias - yes I ran into this on my Redhat 7.3 system where tons of error files were generated. You couldn't just rm * - it would say that there were too many files or something along those lines.

Comment by scifisamurai 402 weeks and 4 days ago

jasvazquez, the other reason your version won't work is because it doesn't quote each file properly. If there are special characters or spaces in any of those file names, it won't work.

I would modify ozymandias's slightly, and write it as:

find . -mtime 5 -exec rm {} +

The quotes are unnecssary around the braces, since they're not special characters in bash if there's nothing in between them.

Also, using +, instead of \; gives you a very slight performance boost, since it will run only one instance of rm for all the files (rm file1 file2 file3...), rather than one for each file (rm file1; rm file2; rm file3; ...), unless there are too many files to specify on the command line, then it will only run as many instances of rm as it absolutely has to (rm file1 file2 file3 ... ; rm file_bazillion file_bazillion1 file_bazillion2 ...).

Comment by goodevilgenius 402 weeks and 4 days ago

Sorry, that should have been -mtime -5

Comment by goodevilgenius 402 weeks and 4 days ago

@ozymandias xargs is highly efficient. Time it, and you'll see xargs scream, while -exec rm {} \; take its sweet time.

@jasvazquez http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/view/1387/backticks-are-evil

Comment by atoponce 402 weeks and 4 days ago

The maximum number of shell arguments is usually at 4096. So you cannot delete more than ~4000 files with -exec rm {} \;

Comment by lme 402 weeks and 2 days ago

Your point of view

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