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23. Removing Files

23.1 The Cycle of Creation and Destruction

As a computer user, you spend lots of time creating files. Just as the necessary counterpart of life is death, the other side of file creation is deletion. If you never delete any files, you soon have a computer's equivalent of a population explosion: your disks get full, and you have to either spend money (buy and install more disk drives) or figure out which files you don't really need.

In this chapter, we'll talk about ways to get rid of files: how to do it safely, how to get rid of files that don't want to die, and how to find "stale" files, or unused files that have been around for a long time. "Safe" deletion is a particularly interesting topic, because UNIX's rm command is extreme: once you delete a file, it's gone permanently. There are several solutions for working around this problem, letting you (possibly) reclaim files from the dead.

- ML


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