I want to remove all the symbolic links of files. I have a directory structure like /usr/local/instantclient/ which contains lots of files and i have symbolic links of these files in /usr/local/lib/ Now i want to delete all these symbolic links of those files. How can i do this in one command. If i remove the actual dir /usr/local/instantclient/ containing files then it will leave the broken links in /usr/local/lib.


To remove the links (from man find under -type):

          l      symbolic link; this is never true if the -L option or the
                 -follow option is in effect, unless the symbolic link  is
                 broken.  If you want to search for symbolic links when -L
                 is in effect, use -xtype.

I think this should do the trick:

find /usr/local/lib/ -maxdepth 1 -follow  -type l

Does the output produce a list of the files you want to delete? If so, when you are 100% sure:

find /usr/local/lib/ -maxdepth 1 -follow  -type l -delete

This will remove only broken links. To delete all links, remove the -follow stanza, but I wouldn't do that under /usr/local/lib.

  • 1
    Just to clarify: this assumes that the target directory has already been removed, so the links are already broken. The command will list all broken symlinks in the /usr/local/lib directory (but not recurse), so if there are other broken links, then it will show more than needed. Not that there should be a lot of broken links there to begin with, so it's probably OK, but it is possible for a system to have purposefully broken links, and we'd like to spare those. Apr 24 '13 at 7:24
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    I tried the command suggested by Petter. The -follow option doesn't work. Only find /usr/local/lib/ -maxdepth 1 -type l | delete worked. But i think this is not the best way to do it. There is actually no way to list all the soft links of a file while hard links of a files can be listed using inode value of file. Here is a discussion about it stackoverflow.com/questions/4532241/… Apr 24 '13 at 8:50
  • How to find and delete all hard links to a file is discussed here linuxcommando.blogspot.in/2008/09/… but this doesn't work for sybmolic links. Apr 24 '13 at 8:54
  • While there may be no (easy) way of "reverse readlink" a symbolic link, I don't see how that is relevant to your problem; you said that the links created were located in /usr/local/lib? also, do you have no -follow option in your version of find?
    – Petter H
    Apr 24 '13 at 8:55

On Linux this will do it. Modify levels deep to suit you:

find /home/cc-000000025-com/domains -maxdepth 3 -type l -exec rm {} ;

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