I was going through my desktop in Linux and I noticed a list of files that were not on my desktop. They are Microsoft word(.doc & .docx) files that exist on my computer elsewhere. For some reason they are showing up on my desktop(in UNIX environment). They start with '~$' and the first two letters of file names are cut off. For example if the file name is filename.docx, it would show as ~$lename.docx. How can I remove these files?

  • Did you previously have those Word documents on your desktop? – user1686 Jul 22 '18 at 6:55
  • @grawity Yes it is possible that some of them have been on my desktop in the past, some of them are over two years old. From my research, I have seen that Microsoft Word stores backup hidden files like these for emergency. It just bugs me that they are showing up in my UNIX environment. – Aladdin Al-Khatib Jul 22 '18 at 7:15
  • @Scott I have tried doing $ rm ~$lename.docx but I got a message saying rm: No such file or directory. The same with $ rm filename.docx and $ rm lename.docx – Aladdin Al-Khatib Jul 22 '18 at 7:18
  • If you copied your entire desktop from a Windows system, why wouldn't they show up? – user1686 Jul 22 '18 at 7:24

With rm ~$lename.docx, the shell sees $lename and tries to expand it to the contents of the likely non-existent variable lename, so the command ran is actually something like rm ~.docx. You'll have to quote it so that the shell doesn't try to do that:

rm '~$lename.docx'

Alternatively, if you have multiple such files, you can use shell globbing (wildcards), assuming all such filenames begin with ~$ and end with docx:

rm ~$*.docx
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  • Yes, thank you. It worked by doing rm *.docx and rm *.doc, it didn't need the ~$ for some reason. Thanks alot! – Aladdin Al-Khatib Jul 22 '18 at 7:27
  • @AladdinAl-Khatib without the ~$, if you had a normal lename.docx file, that would have been deleted too. If you didn't have any of those, *.docx is fine. – muru Jul 22 '18 at 7:29
  • @AladdinAl-Khatib: The ~$ is not a magic prefix; it is just part of the actual file name. It doesn't affect the way wildcards work. – user1686 Jul 22 '18 at 9:54

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