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Old 07-21-2005, 12:51 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Warthog
Posts: 18

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Permission problems when removing user's home directory.

Hello, I use Ubuntu Warty and cannot remove past user's home directories from the /home folder. I remove the user's account but their directory stays. I've been able to delete everything within the folders via chown
to my username (dave) but I'm unable to remove the main (now empty) home directories. Now the directory is clearly empty and root sees nothing in there but I get this error while in BASH. Here's my code:

root@ubuntu:/home # rmdir camp2005/
rmdir: `camp2005/': Directory not empty

Any help would be great. Thanks alot.
Old 07-21-2005, 01:16 PM   #2
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Registered: Jun 2004
Location: the Netherlands
Distribution: debian SID
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If you're completely sure it's empty (invisible config files, check "ls .*" or "ls -a") or don't want to keep anything:

"rm -rf camp2005/"

Be careful with it you want to make sure that you're really removing the intended folder as there's no way back
Old 07-21-2005, 01:16 PM   #3
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Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Athens, Greece
Distribution: Slackware, arch
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this folder is probably not empty.
There may be some hidden files (files starting with .) left there.
ls -la /home/<username>
To find it out.
You may also use
rm -r <directory>
to remove a non empty directory and all its content
tm -fr <directory>
to force the removal without displaying any messages.
How did you remove the user?
If you used userdel the -r option would have removed the homedirectory of the user:
userdel - Delete a user account and related files

userdel [-r] login

The userdel command modifies the system account files, deleting all
entries that refer to login. The named user must exist. The options
which apply to the userdel command are:

-r Files in the user's home directory will be removed along with the
home directory itself and the user's mail spool. Files located in
other file systems will have to be searched for and deleted manu-

Last edited by perfect_circle; 07-21-2005 at 01:19 PM.
Old 08-11-2005, 04:01 PM   #4
Registered: Aug 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.10
Posts: 59

Rep: Reputation: 15
I tried this out on my Debian box and discovered that I had to type "rm -R dirname" to remove a defunct user's home directory.


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