Move folder content up one level

  • I have a directory that is unpacked, but is in a folder. How can I move the contents up one level? I am accessing CentOS via SSH.

  • With the folder called 'myfolder' and up one level in the file hierarchy (the point you want it to put) the command would be:

    mv myfolder/* .

    So for example if the data was in /home/myuser/myfolder then from /home/myuser/ run the command.

    You may need to also match `.*` not just `*` if the archive contained dot-files. Also add ` && rmdir myfolder` to the end o that to remove the now extraneous folder. This is save because it will only run if the mv returns success AND because rmdir will not remove a non-empty directory.

    Good point on the `.*`. Removing the original folder is both trivial and not asked for so we'll let OP deal with that him/herself.

    @Caleb is it possible to write both ``*`` and ``.*`` in one line? just curiosity

    @Richard Yes, it is. The arguments for `mv` will all be sources except the LAST argument which needs to be the target for moving (and in the case of multiple sources, needs to be a folder).

    tested, and it works.

    I am getting bash: `/bin/mv: Argument list too long`

    What happens, if `myfolder` contains a subdirectory called `myfolder`? That wouldn't work. Is there any clean way of avoiding this, or tell mv to ignore this or replace the source in that case?

    if you are in the folder that you need to move everything up one level, then use mv * ../.

  • Just to make it crystal clear, taken from Rudu's answer above, and the comments.

    If you need to move all the contents, INCLUDING files that start with a . (like .htaccess, .git, etc), you need to include both * and .* in your command. Like so:

     mv subfolder/* subfolder/.* .

    That will move contents of subfolder to your current folder. Note the space before the last ".".

    it works but I get `mv: rename fake/. to ./.: Invalid argument` and `mv: rename fake/.. to ./..: Invalid argument`

  • This is possible with the following methods:

    • Using rsync:

      rsync -vua --delete-after foo/ .
    • Using cp and rmdir:

      cp -vaR foo/. . && rmdir foo/
    • Using mv (with dotglob option enabled):

      shopt -s dotglob # Includes filenames beginning with a dot.
      mv -- foo/* .    # Where foo/ is the folder consisting the files.
      shopt -u dotglob # Disables previously enabled dotglob option.

      where foo/ is your folder whose content is to be moved one level up.

      See: help shopt and man bash.

    • Using mv (as suggested here):

      mv foo/* foo/.[^.]* . && rmdir foo/

      Note: It would miss a file called foo/

      Note: For POSIX shells, you need [!.].

    What are the rsync switches `-v`, `-u`, `-a` and `-r` doing? AFAICT, `-v` is verbose, which just makes rsync print more information. `-u` means update - only copy a file if it is newer. That doesn't seem relevant. `-a` means archive. That will copy the owner and permissions of the file, and make the sync recursive. `-r` means recursive, but that's already covered by `-a`.

    `-u` is useful when you don't want to spent extra time of moving data which is already there (especially for slow storage devices). I've removed `-r`, since it's covered by `-a` as you mentioned.

    `mv foo/* foo/.[^.]* .` would miss a file called `foo/` for instance. Note that for POSIX shells, you need `[!.]`.

    It should be mentioned, that `rsync -vua --delete-after foo/ .` deletes everything else that might already exists in the current directory.

  • just issue an mv command

    mv (directory)/* .

    if you want to delete the directory then add

    rm -rf (directory)

    Assumed that you are in a parent directory of (directory)

    If you are inside the (directory) then

    mv * ../

    Additional safety tip: When deleting a directory you know should be empty, `rmdir` complains and exits if the directory *isn't* empty, while `rm -r` would instead just have deleted it and all its contents. (It's a poka-yoke.)

    Great point! I can't think of a reason not to do it that way.

    @MarkLalor One reason might be the presence of hidden files, like the ubiquitous `.DS_store` in macOS. The `mv` command above won't move those (without `dotglob` set).

  • i have one short hand command

    cp */* .

    this will copy all subfolders content on level up of course you can use move

    mv */* .

    or assign new distenation

    cp */* /destination 
  • for those of you on a shared server you'd have to use something like this

    To move the files

    mv -v ~/public_html/public_html/* ~/public_html/

    To copy the files

    cp -a ~/public_html/public_html/* ~/public_html/

    The question above asks about moving not copying contents. This would duplicate the files by leaving the originals in a subfolder. Also being a "shared" server or not really doesn't have anything to do with this.

    your right and here is the answer for it...

    Re your edit: how is that any different that the already upvoted answer? And what does a "shared server" have to do with it? Please [edit] to explain these items if this is going to be a useful contribution that adds value to what is already here.

    I disagree about the shared server not having nothing to do with it. The way the "dir" is entered makes a world of a difference..

    dude why you so mad?... wow.. I was just sharing a little knowledge. We all understand differently and confront different technical problems differently... Have yourself a good day Caleb..

  • If you get the "Argument list too long" error by using mv * ../ I suggest doing this instead:

    find . -name '*.*' -exec mv {} ../ \;
    • find: search a folder
    • -name: match a desired criteria
    • -exec: run the command that follows
    • {}: insert the filename found
    • \;: mark the end of the exec command

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM