In Linux, directory is a file that stores file names and their information. From time to time unwanted directories have to be removed to keep them organized and save space.
In this tutorial, we learn how to use rmdir command in Linux to remove directories.
rmdir command is used to remove empty directories in Linux and in other operating systems. If the directory contains files and sub directories, then rmdir doesn't remove that directory (ies).
Rmdir is a safe command which helps to avoid accidental loss of data as it won't delete any directory contents or files.
rmdir [option] <directory names>
Without any option, rmdir removes the directory which is specified in the path.
The Linux rmdir command options:
|Remove parent directories|
|Ignore error output when deleting non empty directory|
|Verbose information of the command|
|Display version information and exit|
|Display the help page and exit|
How to use rmdir in Linux
To use simply type rmdir followed by directory name (s) to delete the specified directories on the command line. The command will run successfully if the directory is empty.
For example to remove an empty directory named dir1 type:
The rmdir command fail on non empty directory (ies) and gives an error message saying 'rmdir: failed to remove 'Directory/' : Directory not empty'. You can use the option
--ignore-fail-on-non-empty to remove the error message.
You can use rmdir to remove multiple directories which are empty. Type rmdir followed by a space then provide directory names with spaces:
rmdir dir2 dir3 dir4
In the same way, creating parent directories using
-p option of mkdir command, you can use
rmdir -p to remove the empty parent directories:
rmdir -p fruits/orange/mango/apple
By default, for a successful rmdir run it won't display any output. You can use -v,--verbose option to output a diagnostic message for every directory processed.
rmdir -v dir5
Difference between rmdir and rm command
The rmdir removes only empty directories whereas rm command removes both empty and non empty directories. To delete empty directories rm command requires an option to pass but with rmdir command you can simply remove it.
There is no command called
rmdir -r or
rmdir --recursive to action recursively.
In this tutorial, we learned about Linux rmdir command to delete directories and its options. You can get detailed information about rmdir command by checking the man page by typing
man rmdir or
rmdir --help from the command line.