I've got a hard drive taken from a NAS drive where files had been put on from a Mac - However, some of the filenames had been, for example, 'backup 16/07/14' which has then been changed to 'backup 16:2f07:2f14' on the NAS.

This is proving an issue when copying files over to a new NAS. So what i'm looking to do is just switch the ':2f' to '-' by running a command on a folder that houses all these other folders.

I'm reasonably new to Linux, so i'm stuck. I've loaded up the hard drive on ubuntu on a virtual machine.

Any suggestions?


If you have perl-rename aka prename:

find . -depth -name "*:*" -exec perl-rename 's/:2f/-/g' {} +


find . -depth -name "*:*" |
while read -r name; do
    mv -nT "$name" "${name//:2f/-}"
  • Might want a -print0 and -d '' there just for safety. – slhck Jul 16 '14 at 12:03

You need to use


command. It can be used to replace characters in filenames. You first find files with


command and use "|" to pipe them to sed.

  • I tried running find . -type f | xargs sed -i " 's/:2f/-/g' But it doesn't seem to run? – Peter Jul 16 '14 at 8:49
  • Also, it's directory names if that makes a difference? – Peter Jul 16 '14 at 8:52
  • 1
    @Peter: It does run; it just doesn't do what you both are expecting. The main tool here, sed -i, does not rename files; it edits files. You're asking it to apply the regex to the files' contents. To rename, you need a different tool, e.g. perl-rename. /// And yes, directory names do make a difference: you added -type f, so you're asking for a list of files specifically, not directories. To list all directories, it would be -type d. – grawity Jul 16 '14 at 10:12

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