How can I remove a file without asking the user if he agrees to delete the file? I am writing shell script and use rm function, but it asks "remove regular file?" and I really don't need this.

  • 7
    rm -f, yes | rm and so on, but this belongs to SU.
    – khachik
    Oct 12, 2011 at 19:30
  • 5
    rm doesn't show a "remove regular file?" prompt by default. You must have it aliased to rm -i, or defined as a function. I'm surprised that the alias is visible inside your script. Are you executing the script (./foo.sh) or sourcing it (. foo.sh or source foo.sh)? Oct 12, 2011 at 19:56

14 Answers 14


You might have rm aliased to rm -i so try this:

/bin/rm -f file.log

To see your aliases you can run alias.

  • 10
    Alternatively, use command rm ... or \rm ... to skip the alias/function Oct 12, 2011 at 20:26
  • 6
    It's been argued that having rm aliased to rm -i is a bad idea. The rm command, by default, silently removes the named file. By aliasing it to rm -i, you can get into the habit of not checking carefully before pressing Enter, depending on the interactive prompt to save you. Then you type rm some-important-file in an environment without the alias. Oct 12, 2011 at 21:25
  • @Keith That is very true, i only personally alias rm to rm -v
    – chown
    Oct 12, 2011 at 21:33
  • 1
    If "rm" is a function (instead of an alias), this answer should work. And the bash unset command might be interesting
    – Xen2050
    Feb 25, 2015 at 14:15
  • This does not work for removing more than 100 files...
    – Sephethus
    Nov 11, 2020 at 19:17

The force flag removes all prompts;

rm -f {file}

  • 3
    This is what I am looking for, not the accepted answer.
    – gsamaras
    Dec 14, 2015 at 13:12

May the force be with you - rm -f

  • I upvoted both the comment AND the answer just because someone actually found a sense of humor on SO...
    – Mac
    Apr 18, 2019 at 16:53

the yes program repeatedly replies yes to any prompts. so you can pipe it into the interactive rm program to get the desired effect too.

yes | rm <filename>

conversely, if you want to not do something interactive, you can do

yes n | <something interactive>

and that will repeat 'n' on the input stream (effectively answering no to questions)

  • The yes n option is not working for me. While I use yes n | rm file.txt, it actually removes the file even though the file is right protected.
    – iammilind
    Dec 8, 2015 at 6:07
\rm file

Backslash \ bypasses aliases.


Within a shell script, you would want to use rm -f <filename> but you also have the option of getting rid of the implicit -i option for your environment by entering unalias rm in your shell (or profile).

  • unalias rm doesn't work in CentOS? Amazon Linux?
    – Suncatcher
    Oct 21, 2019 at 20:42

If you have the required permissions to delete the file and you don't want to be prompted, do the following (-f = force):

rm -f file

If you don't have permissions to the file, you will need to use:

sudo rm -f file
  • 1
    The "remove regular file?" prompt implies that it's not a permissions problem. Oct 12, 2011 at 21:23

Apart of using -f parameter, alternatively you can use find command instead, e.g.

find -name file.log -delete

My favourite way to do this is simply use command command in bash, just the same way you use sudo. This will run your command without aliases, just like running it by /bin/rm (probably rm is aliased as rm -i).


command rm -f /tmp/file.txt

Currently I am working at a system, where the bash shell recieved the definition of the rm command as a function in one of the global configuration files:

 rm  () { /bin/rm -i ${1+"$@"}; }

Hence, none of the above answers regarding aliases did work. To counter the annoying behaviour I unset the rm function in my .bashrc file

 unset -f rm

I had a similar problem then the opener. However I did not found any answer that mentioned the possibility that rm is hidden by a shell function. So I added the answer here in the hope it would be of help for somebody facing the same type of problem.

Typing /bin/rm or rm -f all the time is inconvenient, and may have bad consequences (in the case of rm -f).

  • That may have solved your problem but it does not answer the question.
    – suspectus
    Feb 25, 2015 at 13:57
  • Wouldn't the selected answer - calling /bin/rm work? If I have a function in bash, and an executable file with the same name in the current directory, just adding ./ in front of the name will call the file - not the function. PS - I added a comment to the selected answer about a function & unset
    – Xen2050
    Feb 25, 2015 at 14:12
  • Yes, /bin/rm works. Doing the unset removes the need for typing the full path.
    – daw
    Feb 25, 2015 at 16:03

If your rm is aliased to rm -i, then use unalias rm;

Do not use rm -f directly unless you really want to remove a lot of write-protected files. There must be a very good reason to use -f.

However, if you have a lot of write-protected files, you might prefer to rsync -r --delete empty/ removed_dir/ for a faster speed.

rm -Rf <folder-to-be-deleted>

-R: Recursive f: force, no prompt

  • nooo. just no. if recursive was not already on the command... this can tank the whole system in some cases like a newbie trying to remove all hidden files with rm */.* (one example) Mar 20, 2020 at 5:34

If there is a folder containing everything you want to delete, this can help cd directory find . -print |xargs rm -r

  • This seems more complex than some of the other answers. Why should someone use this instead? Mar 23, 2021 at 21:44

Another thing I noticed is that if I remove multiple files/dirs through in one go like the following then the rm command asks for confirmation.

sudo rm -rf dir1 dir2 

If I remove them them one by one then it doesn't ask for confirmation.

sudo rm -rf dir1 
sudo rm -rf dir2

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