Tip of the day: Removing files in linux when the filename starts with a hyphen (-)

I kept running into the following problem:

$ \rm -i *.zip
rm: invalid option -- 't'
Try 'rm ./-thevoice-amway-com.zip' to remove the file ‘-thevoice-amway-com.zip’.
Try 'rm --help' for more information.

I’ve been using the rm command for over 5 years and I had never run into this issue. At first glance I had no idea what was going on. I initially started looking to see if maybe rm was actually an alias or function… both type rm and declare -f rm revealed nothing. I decided to try looking at rm --help and boom, I found it.

To remove a file whose name starts with a '-', for example '-foo',
use one of these commands:
  rm -- -foo

  rm ./-foo

I was able to finally get things rolling by using the following:

\rm -i -- *.zip

P.S. I did mean to use \rm instead of rm. For those of you who don’t know, prefixing a command with a backslash temporarily disables the alias if one exists. This is extremely helpful if you have rm aliased to rm -f or something like that.

Loading Comments...