How to delete files in a directory, that exist in another directory?

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Problem :

What I need is a ‘subtract’ operation on sets of files in different directories. Assuming this file system hierarchy:



… I’d like to remove all files under A that also exist under B (no recursion, and I only need to compare file names).

The result should be:


(nothing changed in B)

The target OS is Windows – either command line or a GUI tool. I’m also OK with a UNIX command-line approach – I have GnuWin32 installed.

Solution :

Create a list of files in B, replace B by A and remove them.

/bin/ls -1 B/ | xargs -I {} echo rm A/{}

remove the echo once you have it. For example:

$ ls A/
1 2 3
$ ls B/
1 2 
$ /bin/ls -1 B/ | xargs -I {} echo rm A/{}
rm A/1
rm A/2

If you have many files, I suggest doing something akin to

for f in `ls -1 B/*`
do rm A/$f

Making sure that files with spaces and control character work is left as an exercise to the reader ^_-

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