Command Section
RM(1)                   FreeBSD General Commands Manual                  RM(1)

     rm, unlink - remove directory entries

     rm [-f | -i] [-dIPRrvWx] file ...
     unlink file

     The rm utility attempts to remove the non-directory type files specified
     on the command line.  If the permissions of the file do not permit
     writing, and the standard input device is a terminal, the user is
     prompted (on the standard error output) for confirmation.

     The options are as follows:

     -d      Attempt to remove directories as well as other types of files.

     -f      Attempt to remove the files without prompting for confirmation,
             regardless of the file's permissions.  If the file does not
             exist, do not display a diagnostic message or modify the exit
             status to reflect an error.  The -f option overrides any previous
             -i options.

     -i      Request confirmation before attempting to remove each file,
             regardless of the file's permissions, or whether or not the
             standard input device is a terminal.  The -i option overrides any
             previous -f options.

     -I      Request confirmation once if more than three files are being
             removed or if a directory is being recursively removed.  This is
             a far less intrusive option than -i yet provides almost the same
             level of protection against mistakes.

     -P      Overwrite regular files before deleting them.  Files are
             overwritten three times, first with the byte pattern 0xff, then
             0x00, and then 0xff again, before they are deleted.  Files with
             multiple links will not be overwritten nor deleted and a warning
             will be issued.  If the -f option is specified, files with
             multiple links will also be overwritten and deleted.  No warning
             will be issued.

             Specifying this flag for a read only file will cause rm to
             generate an error message and exit.  The file will not be removed
             or overwritten.

             N.B.: The -P flag is not considered a security feature (see

     -R      Attempt to remove the file hierarchy rooted in each file
             argument.  The -R option implies the -d option.  If the -i option
             is specified, the user is prompted for confirmation before each
             directory's contents are processed (as well as before the attempt
             is made to remove the directory).  If the user does not respond
             affirmatively, the file hierarchy rooted in that directory is

     -r      Equivalent to -R.

     -v      Be verbose when deleting files, showing them as they are removed.

     -W      Attempt to undelete the named files.  Currently, this option can
             only be used to recover files covered by whiteouts in a union
             file system (see undelete(2)).

     -x      When removing a hierarchy, do not cross mount points.

     The rm utility removes symbolic links, not the files referenced by the

     It is an error to attempt to remove the files /, . or ...

     When the utility is called as unlink, only one argument, which must not
     be a directory, may be supplied.  No options may be supplied in this
     simple mode of operation, which performs an unlink(2) operation on the
     passed argument.

     The rm utility exits 0 if all of the named files or file hierarchies were
     removed, or if the -f option was specified and all of the existing files
     or file hierarchies were removed.  If an error occurs, rm exits with a
     value >0.

     The rm command uses getopt(3) to parse its arguments, which allows it to
     accept the `--' option which will cause it to stop processing flag
     options at that point.  This will allow the removal of file names that
     begin with a dash (`-').  For example:

           rm -- -filename

     The same behavior can be obtained by using an absolute or relative path
     reference.  For example:

           rm /home/user/-filename
           rm ./-filename

     When -P is specified with -f the file will be overwritten and removed
     even if it has hard links.

     Recursively remove all files contained within the foobar directory

           $ rm -rf foobar

     Either of these commands will remove the file -f:

           $ rm -- -f
           $ rm ./-f

     The rm utility differs from historical implementations in that the -f
     option only masks attempts to remove non-existent files instead of
     masking a large variety of errors.  The -v option is non-standard and its
     use in scripts is not recommended.

     Also, historical BSD implementations prompted on the standard output, not
     the standard error output.

     chflags(1), rmdir(1), undelete(2), unlink(2), fts(3), getopt(3),

     The rm command conforms to IEEE Std 1003.1-2008/Cor 1-2013 (``POSIX.1'').

     The simplified unlink command conforms to Version 2 of the Single UNIX
     Specification (``SUSv2'').

     A rm command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.

     The -P option assumes that the underlying storage overwrites file blocks
     when data is written to an existing offset.  Several factors including
     the file system and its backing store could defeat this assumption.  This
     includes, but is not limited to file systems that use a Copy-On-Write
     strategy (e.g. ZFS or UFS when snapshots are being used), Flash media
     that are using a wear leveling algorithm, or when the backing datastore
     does journaling, etc.  In addition, only regular files are overwritten,
     other types of files are not.

FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE-p4        November 7, 2015        FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE-p4
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