How to Fix "mv directory not empty" Error on Ubuntu

10 lug 2024 2 min di lettura
How to Fix "mv directory not empty" Error on Ubuntu
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While using mv command on Ubuntu, you may encounter “mv: directory not empty” error. This tutorial will guide you through the causes of this problem and provide you with solutions to resolve it effectively.

What does the "mv: directory not empty" error mean?

This error occurs when you try to move a directory to another that already exists and contains files or subdirectories. The mv command does not automatically overwrite non-empty directories to avoid data loss.

Solutions to Resolve the Error

1. Use the mv Command with the -t Option

One solution is to use the -t option, which specifies the destination directory. This method works well when moving multiple files or directories into an existing directory.

mv -t /percorso/destinazione /percorso/sorgente/*

2. Use rsync to Synchronize Directories

rsync is a powerful tool for synchronizing directories. Using rsync, you can move the contents of one directory to another without running into the "directory not empty" error.

rsync -av /percorso/sorgente//percorso/destinazione/

The -a option preserves file permissions and ownership, while -v activates verbose mode.

3. Use cp to Copy and rm to Remove

Another solution is to copy the contents of the source directory to the destination directory and then delete the source directory.

cp -r /percorso/sorgente/* /percorso/destinazione/rm -r /percorso/sorgente/

The -r option indicates recursively copying all files and subdirectories.

4. Merge Directories Manually

If you prefer a manual approach, you can move individual files and directories from the source directory to the destination. This method is useful when you want finer control over which files are moved.

mv /percorso/sorgente/file1 /percorso/destinazione/mv /percorso/sorgente/file2 /percorso/destinazione/# Continua con i restanti file e directory...


Moving directories on Ubuntu can be tricky when the destination directory is not empty. However, with the solutions presented in this tutorial, you can easily overcome the “mv: directory not empty” error. Using mv with the -t option, rsync, copying and removing with cp and rm, or manually merging directories are all effective methods to solve this problem. Choose the solution that best suits your needs and continue managing your files smoothly.

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