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I've tried many commands already for creating a file and deleting a file with a # character, but it does not work. Can anyone tell me the command to create and then delete a file that begins with #?

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migrated from Apr 10 '11 at 14:03

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Note: You should say "a filename that begins with the symbol #", not a file, otherwise some people (like me) will think you mean the first line of the file should start with a #. – Robin Green Apr 10 '11 at 13:45

2 Answers 2

The two canonical ways to create/delete files with "funny characters" are

  1. Quoting, like alex showed. You may use single or double quotes, depending on your expansion needs. A backslash can be used to escape a single funny charater. This works as long as the file name does not look like an option (starts with a dash).
  2. If the file looks like an option, prepend a path: rm ./- "./-rf ."

Modern versions of Unix utilities often support the double dash to indicate the end of options. On such systems, rm -- - removes a file named -.

Note that you cannot create or remove files with a slash or ASCII NUL in their name. If you have such a file (I've seen them), something in your file system has gone terribly wrong.

In your particular case with the hash #, the problem stems from the shell interpreting a word starting with # as starting a shell comment. A good shell lets you disable this shell feature, called interactive comments:

  • zsh: unsetopt interactivecomments
  • bash: shopt -u interactive_comments

With these you can simply touch #; rm # without hassle.

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To make...

touch "#file"

To delete...

rm "#file"
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Also touch \#file or rm \#file – lacqui Apr 10 '11 at 5:48
or touch '#file' and rm '#file' – Philipp Apr 10 '11 at 10:04
thanks for your helping. but if what to create file and delete file using "-" symbol why cannot already? – tonberry Apr 10 '11 at 12:58
Because - introduces options. rm - looks to rm like you forgot an option and thus complains. – Jens Apr 16 '11 at 8:37

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