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Move large numbers of files

Terminal - Move large numbers of files
for f in *; do mv $f <target_path>; done;
2009-07-09 12:07:49
User: fritz_monroe
Functions: mv
Move large numbers of files

In my job I often have to deal with moving 100,000 files or more. A mv won't do it because there are too many. This will move everything in the current directory to the target path.


There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

That will be _very_ slow. I suggest you:

find -maxdepth 1 | xargs mv --target=destdir
Comment by pixelbeat 458 weeks and 3 days ago
find -maxdepth 1

matches '.' ... so you'll get

mv: cannot move `.' to `/home/rpolli/.local/.': Device or resource busy

Comment by ioggstream 458 weeks and 3 days ago

find -maxdepth 1 -mindepth 1 | xargs mv --target=destdir

Comment by pixelbeat 458 weeks and 2 days ago

Or use:

find /dir/with/largefiles -type f -name "*.gz" -exec mv {} /targetdir \;

Comment by cow 458 weeks and 2 days ago

wtf. Why not

mv * <target_path>

It does exactly what it is supposed to do.

Comment by log0 457 weeks and 4 days ago

Ok sorry for my last message. I didn't read the description carefully ("A mv won't do it because there are too many.")

However mv only works perfectly well with 200 000 files under debian and cygwin.

Which system are you using ? Is the problem related to the size of the file ?

It sounds strange to my that gnu mv would actually need a patch.

Comment by log0 457 weeks and 4 days ago

After a bit of investigation:

gnu mv can handle the max size of a signed int.

However the number of arguments that can be given to a command is limited by ARG_MAX:


There's no such limitation since linux 2.6.23

Comment by log0 457 weeks and 3 days ago

Your point of view

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