preferences
Linux

Working with files

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Let’s start learning how to create, copy, move(rename) delete and identify type of file by using following commands

touch,cp.mv,rm and file

Please bear in mind Linux is case sensitive. Case sensitive means that Linux will consider file examplefile and ExampleFile as different files.

 

 

Similarly /home/ali/Test is different from  /home/ali/test.
[ali@rhel71 ~]$ ls -l

 

total 4

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Desktop

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Documents

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Downloads

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Music

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali 4096 Aug 26 20:15 Pictures

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Public

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Templates

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:49 test

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:49 Test

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Videos

Above example shows that difference between two files one with uppercase T and other with lower case t

Creating file using Touch

You can create a file with one easy way. Use touch command and name of file. Below example will show you how to use it
[ali@rhel71 ~]$ touch shahid

 

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ touch shahid1

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ touch shahid2

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ ls -l

total 4

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Desktop

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Documents

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Downloads

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Music

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali 4096 Aug 26 20:15 Pictures

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Public

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:53 shahid

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:53 shahid1

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:53 shahid2

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Templates

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:49 test

-rw-rw-r–. 1 ali ali    0 Sep  6 14:49 Test

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Videos

Copying file using cp

To copy  file use cp with source and target argument. If target is directory then source file(s) are copied to that target directory

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ touch khattak

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ ls

khattak

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ cp khattak khattak1

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ ls

khattak  khattak1

In above example I copied (source file) Khattak  and put it in same directory as khattak1.

If I want to create a copy in another directory then we will use below method we will specify directory
[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ pwd

/home/ali/testdir

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ ls

khattak  khattak1

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ cp khattak1 /home/ali/testdirb/

[ali@rhel71 testdir]$ cd  /home/ali/testdirb

[ali@rhel71 testdirb]$ ls

khattak1

[ali@rhel71 testdirb]$ pwd

/home/ali/testdirb

[ali@rhel71 testdirb]$

In above example we are in directory /home/ali/testdir and we have two files Khattak and khattak1. We copied file khattak1  to /home/ali/testdirb.

We confirmed copy by using ls command to list content of directory

cp –r

If you have directory and it has some contents you can copy the directory and will all contents by using command cp –rls
[ali@rhel71 ~]$ mkdir myDir

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ cd myDir

[ali@rhel71 myDir]$ touch file1 file2

[ali@rhel71 myDir]$ ls

file1  file2

[ali@rhel71 myDir]$ cd ..

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ ls

Desktop    Downloads  myDir     Public     Videos

Documents  Music      Pictures  Templates

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ cp -r myDir myDir2

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ cd myDir2

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file1  file2

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$
cp –i

To prevent from overwriting existing files using switch i wicth cp
[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file1  file2

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ cp file2 file3

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file1  file2  file3

cp: overwrite âfile3â? no

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$

To rename files use mv command

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

 

file1  file2  file3

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ mv file3 file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file1  file2  file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$

To delete files use command rm

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file1  file2  file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ rm file1

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file2  file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$

When you remove file via command  line its gone its unrecoverable be careful to use rm command

rm –i

To prevent from accidently deleting a file use rm with switch i
[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

 

file2  file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ rm -i file2

rm: remove regular empty file âfile2â? y

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$

rm -rf

To delete non empty directory use rm –rf

f is for force and r means recursive it will delete all child contents(directories/files). If you will try to delete non empty directory  without –rf it  will not delete
[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ ls

file4

[ali@rhel71 myDir2]$ cd ..

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ rm myDir2

rm: cannot remove âmyDir2â: Is a directory

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ rm -rf myDir2

[ali@rhel71 ~]$ ls

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Desktop

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Documents

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Downloads

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Music

drwxrwxr-x. 2 ali ali   30 Sep  6 15:10 myDir

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali 4096 Aug 26 20:15 Pictures

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Public

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Templates

drwxr-xr-x. 2 ali ali    6 Aug  9 11:56 Videos

myDir2 has been deleted.

File

Unlinke windows linux does not use extension to determine file type if you as system administrator want to determine type of file use command file and name of file

[ali@rhel71 Documents]$ ls

mynotes.txt

[ali@rhel71 Documents]$ file mynotes.txt

mynotes.txt: ASCII text

[ali@rhel71 Documents]$

I hope you have learnt and enjoyed this tutorial. Please let me know your thoughts and feedback in comments thanks

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