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delete multiple files with spaces in filenames (with confirmation)

Terminal - delete multiple files with spaces in filenames (with confirmation)
ls -Q * | xargs -p rm
2010-01-27 02:46:49
User: temp_reg
Functions: ls xargs
delete multiple files with spaces in filenames (with confirmation)

ls -Q will show the filenames in quotes. xargs -p rm will print all the filenames piped from ls -Q and ask for confirmation before deleting the files.

without the -Q switch, if we have spaces in names, then the files won't be deleted.


There are 9 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives

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What others think

I'd add the -i switch to rm to be sure there will be confirmation.

Or an backslash \ before rm to override any alias set.

Comment by CodSpirit 297 weeks and 2 days ago

rm -i doesn't work with xargs.

Comment by temp_reg 297 weeks and 2 days ago
rm -i *

or, if you just want to delte files with spaces (why?)

rm -i *\ *
Comment by Escher 297 weeks and 2 days ago

@CodSpirit the xargs -p option is playing the role of rm's -i option here. -p means "interactive" so it will print out the command it's about to run, and ask you if it should be run. To get the one-by-one behavior you could add -n 1 so that it asks you for each file one at a time so you know exactly what command is being run

ls -Q * | xargs -p -n 1 rm

xargs invokes the commands directly (forking the processes without the shell, afaict) so I don't think there is any chance for a shell alias for rm being used.

Comment by bwoodacre 297 weeks and 2 days ago

@ Escher, with rm -i, we'll have to confirm the deletion for each file. but with this method, all the files about to be deleted will be displayed at once, and a single confirmation will delete the files.

Comment by temp_reg 297 weeks and 1 day ago

xargs is inherently bad at dealing with special characters. To see the problem try this:

touch '12" record'

ls -Q * | xargs -p rm

Comment by unixmonkey8046 297 weeks and 1 day ago

Your point of view

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