How to delete files in Linux

During everyday usage of the Linux operating system, you will encounter situations when you will need to delete one or more files from the file system.

The easiest way to delete a file from BASH is to issue the rm command.

In most Linux distributions the rm command is an alias for “rm -i”, so when you enter rm in the shell, the alias points to rm -i (the “i” stands for interactive).

[root@nyx backup]# rm wordpress.sql
rm: remove regular file `wordpress.sql'? y
[root@nyx backup]#

Delete the file without a confirmation:

[root@nyx backup]# rm -f wordpress.sqlwordpress.sql
[root@nyx backup]#

Delete all the files in the folder called “backup”.  -r stand for recursively, -f  is forcing the delete command without a confirmation. Be careful when you use “-r -f” !

[root@nyx backup]# rm -r -f ./backup/
[root@nyx backup]#





Find files older than x days and delete them:

find /home/backup/* -mtime +30 -exec rm {} \;  
## find files older than 30 days from the /home/backup directory and delete them

View Linux BASH history

In case you are wondering how to review your latest commands entered in your favorite Unix shell, below you have more than one option to achieve this goal.

The first and most known way is using the history command:


By typing  history in your Linux shell will show on your screen the latest commands you entered with the user you are currently logged in.

It is important to mention that the Unix/Linux way of storing your history is pretty simple: basically the OS just stores your commands in a text file. That file can differ from one distro to another, but you can view the exact location of that file by typing echo $HISTFILE. You can see a sample below:



Knowing the file (location) the ways you can manipulate the output are multiple. For example:

cat  $HISTFILE | more    #(you can use less too)

histfile variable


View the history in a text editor:


View only specific columns:

history | cut -d' ' -f 4-

history cut


View only the last 20 lines:

history | tail -n 20

Or view the:

  • last 5 “yum-install” commands from your history file:
history | grep "yum-install" | tail -n 5
  • First 5 commands that contain “yum”
history | grep yum | head

history head

How to run commands from your bash history ?

Viewing your bash history is pretty easy. Type history in your shell and you will be presented with the latest 500 or 1000 (depends on distro/bash settings, ) commands you entered.
But what if you want to run one or more commands from the history file, how can that be accomplished ?
Well, the not so effective way is to type history | grep mycommand, then copy and paste in the terminal.

However, if your command expands on multiple lines the above procedure is pretty painful.
Here’s a more efficient way:

Introducing History expansion and the event designators:

The command Description
!! Repeat last command
! Start a history substitution
!n Refers to the command line n
!string Invokes the command starting with “string”
!?string Refers to the most recent command containing “string”
^string1^string2 Repeats the last command and replaces string1 with string2

 Here are a couple of practical examples:

Repeats last command, in this case is whoami.


From the history file it Invokes the latest command containing hostname.


String replacement:


[root@nyx log]# tail /var/log/messages | head -n 2    #showing first 2 lines from /var/log/messages

Aug 22 19:39:56 euve59329 Plesk/Courier authd[20849]: No such user '' in mail authorization database

Aug 22 20:05:26 euve59329 Plesk/Courier authd[21813]: No such user '' in mail authorization database

[root@nyx log]# ^messages^mysqld.log     #from the last command replace messages with mysqld.log and execute the command

tail /var/log/mysqld.log | head -n 2

140822  4:03:28 [ERROR] Invalid (old?) table or database name 'comment _subscribers'

140822  4:03:28 [ERROR] Invalid (old?) table or database name 'mp3-players'

[root@nyx log]#

How to fix Plesk mysql Fatal Exception

Today I received the following error when I was trying to use one of my forums and the server load was huge: 192.

It seems that there were too many connections towards the mysql server.

"ERROR: PleskFatalException Unable to connect to database: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Too many connections"


The number of connections can be checked with this command:

[root@nyx ~]# mysqladmin -uadmin -p`cat /etc/psa/.psa.shadow` extended-status | grep Max_used_connections
| Max_used_connections | 127 |
[root@nyx ~]#

I checked the Plesk Mysqld configuration and I had:

set-variable=max_user_connections=0 ##this is a bad idea because there won't be any limit to the sql resources a connection can access

I modified the /etc/my.cnf file with a new limit to both max_connections and max_user_connections:

mysql connections

And the server load started decreasing dramatically from 190 to about 18. Still too high but it was a step forward.
Checked the /var/log/mysqld.log and found some errors, so yeah, the database needed some repairing to be done.

PS: the mysql process list can be viewed like this:


mysqladmin -uadmin -p`cat /etc/psa/.psa.shadow` processlist | more


How to set the date and time in Linux

To view the current date and time, issue the date command:


Then view and set your time zone:

cd /usr/share/zoneinfo


I’m going to use the GMT time zone.

Copy the file with your timezone. (this could be ./Europe/London or whatever city you would like to use).

localtime in linux

Change the date and time in Linux via BASH:

For this purpose we will use the following command format:

date 082314422014   ### August/23rd/14:44/2014 ## Date /month/ day/ hour/ minutes/ year


date and time in linux bash