rm -fr not deleting stuff

Chris Green cl at isbd.net
Tue Feb 24 09:41:13 UTC 2015

On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 10:17:49AM +1100, Karl Auer wrote:
> Anyway, when I tried removing a backup using rm -fr dirname it deleted
> heaps of files out of the directory and its many subdirectories, but
> also issued lots of messages about being unable to delete directories
> because they were not empty.
I've seen this a couple of times with large/deep backups, I've never
really resolved exactly why it happens but simply going down into the
(not too numerous in my case) directories that didn't get deleted and
doing an 'rm -fr' at that level seems to get the files deleted.

I do seem to remember that in many cases there were hidden files
involved, though 'rm -fr' should delete them as well of course.

Chris Green

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