Remove a symlink to a directory
I have a symlink to an important directory. I want to get rid of that symlink, while keeping the directory behind it.
rm and get back
rm: cannot remove 'foo'.
rmdir and got back
rmdir: failed to remove 'foo': Directory not empty
I then progressed through
rm -rf and
sudo rm -rf
Then I went to find my back-ups.
Is there a way to get rid of the symlink with out throwing away the baby with the bathwater?
# this works: rm foo # versus this, which doesn't: rm foo/
Basically, you need to tell it to delete a file, not delete a directory. I believe the difference between
rmdir exists because of differences in the way the C library treats each.
At any rate, the first should work, while the second should complain about foo being a directory.
If it doesn't work as above, then check your permissions. You need write permission to the containing directory to remove files.
use the "unlink" command and make sure not to have the / at the end
$ unlink mySymLink
unlink() deletes a name from the file system. If that name was the last link to a file and no processes have the file open the file is deleted and the space it was using is made available for reuse. If the name was the last link to a file but any processes still have the file open the file will remain in existence until the last file descriptor referring to it is closed.
I think this may be problematic if I'm reading it correctly.
If the name referred to a symbolic link the link is removed.
If the name referred to a socket, fifo or device the name for it is removed but processes which have the object open may continue to use it.
Read more... Read less...
rm should remove the symbolic link.
[email protected]:~$ mkdir bar [email protected]:~$ ln -s bar foo [email protected]:~$ ls -l foo lrwxrwxrwx 1 skrall skrall 3 2008-10-16 16:22 foo -> bar [email protected]:~$ rm foo [email protected]:~$ ls -l foo ls: cannot access foo: No such file or directory [email protected]:~$ ls -l bar total 0 [email protected]:~$
rm symlinkname but do not include a forward slash at the end (do not use:
rm symlinkname/). You will then be asked if you want to remove the symlink,
y to answer yes.
Assuming it actually is a symlink,
$ rm -d symlink
It should figure it out, but since it can't we enable the latent code that was intended for another case that no longer exists but happens to do the right thing here.
If rm cannot remove a symlink, perhaps you need to look at the permissions on the directory that contains the symlink. To remove directory entries, you need write permission on the containing directory.
Assuming your setup is something like:
ln -s /mnt/bar ~/foo, then you should be able to do a
rm foo with no problem. If you can't, make sure you are the owner of the
foo and have permission to write/execute the file. Removing
foo will not touch
bar, unless you do it recursively.