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Old 01-28-2010, 08:17 AM   #1
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How to delete all folders and their contents except 3

I have a USB drive that has a TON of folders on its root level. I want to remove all those folders and their contents except three of them. I know if I do rm -rf that will kill everything, is there a way to exclude three folders, say folder1 folder2 newfolder, and do it all in one statement?
Old 01-28-2010, 08:36 AM   #2
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mv dir1 dir2 dir3 /some/backup/dir
rm -rf ./
why waste time? it will also save you data in case you do it wrong.
well, in fact you can use rm with ls --hide if you wish.
Old 01-28-2010, 08:39 AM   #3
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Trying to write simple code to do something like this will be "fragile"---meaning that you have to be very careful in how you specify things.

Here's a simple example of the kind of thing that might work, but it's just using rm for files. TEST any code before actually using on real data.

rm $(ls|egrep -v "(file1|file2)")  ##removes everything except file1 and file2
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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thanks pixellany, I figured there would be some way to do it other than moving all my folders i want to keep to another location. I'll have to look into it to see if i can figure out how to make it keep only certain folders at that root level.


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