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Delete all but latest file in a directory

Terminal - Delete all but latest file in a directory
ls -pt1 | sed '/.*\//d' | sed 1d | xargs rm
2009-07-29 13:59:58
User: patko
Functions: ls sed xargs
Delete all but latest file in a directory

Useful for deleting old unused log files.


There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
ls -t1 | sed 1d | parallel -X rm
2010-01-28 12:28:18
Functions: ls sed

xargs deals badly with special characters (such as space, ' and "). To see the problem try this:

touch important_file

touch 'not important_file'

ls not* | xargs rm

Parallel https://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/parallel/ does not have this problem.

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

sed 1d

quotes not needed

Comment by flux 330 weeks and 3 days ago

Thanks flux, I corrected it.

Comment by patko 330 weeks ago

This will fail if the most recently modified object in the directory is a directory rather than a file.

Comment by bartonski 215 weeks ago

Great catch, bartonski. Thanks! I fixed it.

ls -pt1 | sed '/.*\//d; 1d'
Comment by patko 214 weeks and 6 days ago

Your point of view

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