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Functions

Find broken symlinks and delete them

Terminal - Find broken symlinks and delete them
find -L /path/to/check -type l -delete
2009-06-06 16:07:04
Functions: find
14
Find broken symlinks and delete them

If you don't want to delete them, but just want to list them, do

find -L /path -type l

If you want to delete them with confirmation first, do

find -L /path -type l -exec rm -i {} +

Using the -L flag follows symlinks, so the -type l test only returns true if the link can't be followed, or is a symlink to another broken symlink.

Alternatives

There are 3 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
find . -type l -exec test ! -e {} \; -delete
2012-12-26 06:27:13
User: seb1245
Functions: find test
Tags: find
2

This command is adapted from http://otomaton.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/find-broken-symbolic-links/

Solutions with

find -L

don't work when the link is a loop, an error message is printed.

rm **/*(-@)
2012-09-18 20:18:57
User: xro
Functions: rm
Tags: rm symlinks zsh
1

recursively deletes all broken symlinks using zsh globbing syntax.

for i in $(file * | grep broken | cut -d : -f 1); do rm $i; done

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

Or use the widely available symlinks command:

symlinks -dr

-d - delete dangling links

-r - recursively

Comment by flatcap 267 weeks and 3 days ago

@flatcap, that's really cool. I didn't know of that package.

It isn't installed by default on Ubuntu, and I bet probably not default on many other distros.

If all you want is to delete dangling symlinks, it's probably overkill to install a new package when find can do it just fine.

Comment by goodevilgenius 267 weeks and 3 days ago

@goodevilgenius you must be thinking of some other operating system when you say it's overkill to install another package. :-) Under ubuntu 8.04 the symlinks package only consumes 61.4kB of additional disk space, according to dpkg/apt. I'd say that that extra 61.4kB is a win, since you have to type less and symlinks offers more features for fixing/cleaning symlinks than find does.

Comment by bwoodacre 267 weeks and 1 day ago

Using `find -L` can cause unexpected results: see http://unix.stackexchange.com/a/38691/9382

Comment by rozcietrzewiacz 114 weeks and 1 day ago

Your point of view

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