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Previous: 23.15 Using unlink to Remove a File with a Strange Name Chapter 23
Removing Files
Next: 23.17 Problems Deleting Directories
 

23.16 Removing a Strange File by its I-number

If wildcards don't work ( 23.12 ) to remove a file with a strange name, try getting the file's i-number ( 1.22 ) . Then use find 's -inum operator ( 17.10 ) to remove the file.

Here's a directory with a weird filename. ls (with its default -q option ( 16.14 ) on BSD UNIX) shows that it has three unusual characters in it. Running ls -i shows each file's i-number. The strange file has i-number 6239. Give the i-number to find and the file is gone:

% 

ls


adir      afile     b???file  bfile     cfile     dfile
% 

ls -i


  6253 adir        6239 b???file    6249 cfile
  9291 afile       6248 bfile       9245 dfile
% 

find . -inum 6239 -exec rm {} \;


% 

ls


adir   afile  bfile  cfile  dfile

Instead of deleting the file, I could also have renamed it to newname with the command:

% 

find . -inum 6239 -exec mv {} newname \;

If the current directory has large subdirectories, you'll probably want to add the find -prune operator ( 17.23 ) for speed.

- JP


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