[Centos] Delete All Files And Folders That Contain a String

Deleting files on a linux system is normally something you use the RM command for. In some cases you might want to be more selective about the delete. While RM can support wildcard deleting, it is also possible to use the find command which gives you more flexability in how you delete stuff.

Testing Your Query – Find Files That Contain *Wildcard*

Using the find command is simple. Lets say you have a script that has not been cleaning up after itself and you now have a directory that has all of its subdirectories filled with a folder called /tmpdata/ And these directories have a bunch of files in them.

find . -path "*/tmpdata/*" -type f

The command above will list all of the files inside any subdirectory. Check over this list and make sure everything looks good. If you are happy that all of the files are garbage, you will want to delete them. Run the same command again, but with -delete at the end in order to remove them.

Deleting All Files that Contain A Wildcard String

find . -path “*/tmpdata/*” -type f -delete

Now all of the files are gone, you will need to delete the directories. You are unable to delete the directory if it contains something. There isn’t a recursive way to do this with a single find command, so you will need to run the command above first to delete files before deleting the directories.

You will need to modify this command slightly to target directories instead of files. This is done using the type argument. Changing it to D will change it to target directories. Make sure you also delete the slash as this will not exist on the end of an empty directory.

find . -path “*/tmpdata*” -type d -delete

find: cannot delete directory not empty Error

This error occurrs when you try to use the -delete command with find, but there are files inside the directory that must be removed first. If you view the commands above you will see how to delete the files first before deleting the directory itself.