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mv [options ] sources target

Basic command to move files and directories around on the system or to rename them. mv works as the following table shows.

Source Target Result
File name

Rename file as name .

File Existing file

Overwrite existing file with source file.

Source Target Result
Directory name

Rename directory as name .

Directory Existing directory

Move directory to be a subdirectory of existing directory.

One or more files Existing directory

Move files to directory.



Use this when one of the names begins with a - . For compatibility with old programs, a plain - also works.


Force the move, even if target file exists; suppress messages about restricted access modes.


Inquire; prompt for a y (yes) response before overwriting an existing target.

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