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Enable the Confirmation when Deleting Files and Folders Using the rm Command in Ubuntu

00_lead_image_rm_confirmation

By default in Ubuntu 13.10, when deleting files on the command line using the “rm” command, no confirmation displays before the file is deleted. However, you may want that extra layer of protection. You can easily turn on the confirmation for deleting files.

To begin, press Ctrl + Alt + T to open a Terminal window. Then, type the following command at the prompt and press Enter.

gedit ~/.bashrc

This opens the bashrc file in the text editor gedit.

01_opening_bashrc

Enter the following line in the “Alias definitions” section:

alias rm=’rm –I’

Click Save to save the file.

02_entering_alias_and_saving

Click the X in the upper-right corner of the gedit window to close it.

03_closing_gedit

The same file must be changed for the root user. To do this, enter the following line at the prompt.

sudo gedit /root/.bashrc

Type the password when prompted and press Enter.

04_opening_root_bashrc_file

If you forget to precede the gedit command above with “sudo”, you’ll see the following message in gedit. Close gedit and enter the above command again starting with “sudo”. Edit the bashrc file for the root user the same way we described above, save the file, and close gedit.

05_could_not_open_root_bashrc

Now, when you delete a file using the “rm” command, a confirmation displays to make sure you want to delete the file. Press “y” to delete the file, or “n” to keep it.

06_rm_confirmation

When you enter “rm –r” to delete a folder, you will also get the confirmation.

This simple safeguard can save your system if you accidentally delete an important file or folder.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 03/10/14

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