rm - too many arguments

I was trying to delete about 55,000 files in an Ubuntu directory the other day. Something along the lines of:

rm -f *

This failed with a "too many arguments" error. The root-cause of this seems to be a little involved, but the simple one-line workaround is:

find ./ -name '*' -print0 | xargs -0 rm


  1. why not

    find . -name "*" -exec rm -f {} \;

    1. This would start one rm process for every file. 55,000 processes might cause a slight performance problem.

  2. Not sure if that would also work or not. The solution I posted is one I found which accounted for spaces in the file names and I used this successfully.

    I'm not a Linux guru. There may be many ways to do it. I'll leave it for others to provide more detailed and informative comments.


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