delete multiple files with spaces in filenames (with confirmation)

ls -Q * | xargs -p rm
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.
Sample Output
ls -Q *
"new file"  "new file (another copy)"  "new file (copy)"

ls -Q * | xargs -p rm
rm new file new file (another copy) new file (copy) ?...y

By: temp_reg
2010-01-27 02:46:49

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.
CodSpirit · 626 weeks ago
rm -i doesn't work with xargs.
temp_reg · 626 weeks ago
rm -i * or, if you just want to delte files with spaces (why?) rm -i *\ *
Escher · 626 weeks 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.
bwoodacre · 626 weeks 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.
temp_reg · 626 weeks ago
xargs is inherently bad at dealing with special characters. To see the problem try this: touch '12" record' ls -Q * | xargs -p rm
unixmonkey8046 · 625 weeks and 6 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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