python – How to delete the contents of a folder?

The Question :

539 people think this question is useful

How can I delete the contents of a local folder in Python?

The current project is for Windows, but I would like to see *nix also.

The Question Comments :
  • for *nix to be honest i would just use os.system('rm -rf folder')

The Answer 1

495 people think this answer is useful
import os, shutil
folder = '/path/to/folder'
for filename in os.listdir(folder):
    file_path = os.path.join(folder, filename)
    try:
        if os.path.isfile(file_path) or os.path.islink(file_path):
            os.unlink(file_path)
        elif os.path.isdir(file_path):
            shutil.rmtree(file_path)
    except Exception as e:
        print('Failed to delete %s. Reason: %s' % (file_path, e))

The Answer 2

318 people think this answer is useful

You can simply do this:

import os
import glob

files = glob.glob('/YOUR/PATH/*')
for f in files:
    os.remove(f)

You can of course use an other filter in you path, for example : /YOU/PATH/*.txt for removing all text files in a directory.

The Answer 3

254 people think this answer is useful

You can delete the folder itself, as well as all its contents, using shutil.rmtree:

import shutil
shutil.rmtree('/path/to/folder')

shutil.rmtree(path, ignore_errors=False, onerror=None)


Delete an entire directory tree; path must point to a directory (but not a symbolic link to a directory). If ignore_errors is true, errors resulting from failed removals will be ignored; if false or omitted, such errors are handled by calling a handler specified by onerror or, if that is omitted, they raise an exception.

The Answer 4

85 people think this answer is useful

Expanding on mhawke’s answer this is what I’ve implemented. It removes all the content of a folder but not the folder itself. Tested on Linux with files, folders and symbolic links, should work on Windows as well.

import os
import shutil

for root, dirs, files in os.walk('/path/to/folder'):
    for f in files:
        os.unlink(os.path.join(root, f))
    for d in dirs:
        shutil.rmtree(os.path.join(root, d))

The Answer 5

48 people think this answer is useful

Using rmtree and recreating the folder could work, but I have run into errors when deleting and immediately recreating folders on network drives.

The proposed solution using walk does not work as it uses rmtree to remove folders and then may attempt to use os.unlink on the files that were previously in those folders. This causes an error.

The posted glob solution will also attempt to delete non-empty folders, causing errors.

I suggest you use:

folder_path = '/path/to/folder'
for file_object in os.listdir(folder_path):
    file_object_path = os.path.join(folder_path, file_object)
    if os.path.isfile(file_object_path) or os.path.islink(file_object_path):
        os.unlink(file_object_path)
    else:
        shutil.rmtree(file_object_path)

The Answer 6

21 people think this answer is useful

This:

  • removes all symbolic links
    • dead links
    • links to directories
    • links to files
  • removes subdirectories
  • does not remove the parent directory

Code:

for filename in os.listdir(dirpath):
    filepath = os.path.join(dirpath, filename)
    try:
        shutil.rmtree(filepath)
    except OSError:
        os.remove(filepath)

As many other answers, this does not try to adjust permissions to enable removal of files/directories.

The Answer 7

18 people think this answer is useful

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the awesome pathlib to do this job.

If you only want to remove files in a directory it can be a oneliner

from pathlib import Path

[f.unlink() for f in Path("/path/to/folder").glob("*") if f.is_file()] 

To also recursively remove directories you can write something like this:

from pathlib import Path
from shutil import rmtree

for path in Path("/path/to/folder").glob("**/*"):
    if path.is_file():
        path.unlink()
    elif path.is_dir():
        rmtree(path)

The Answer 8

16 people think this answer is useful

As a oneliner:

import os

# Python 2.7
map( os.unlink, (os.path.join( mydir,f) for f in os.listdir(mydir)) )

# Python 3+
list( map( os.unlink, (os.path.join( mydir,f) for f in os.listdir(mydir)) ) )

A more robust solution accounting for files and directories as well would be (2.7):

def rm(f):
    if os.path.isdir(f): return os.rmdir(f)
    if os.path.isfile(f): return os.unlink(f)
    raise TypeError, 'must be either file or directory'

map( rm, (os.path.join( mydir,f) for f in os.listdir(mydir)) )

The Answer 9

15 people think this answer is useful

Notes: in case someone down voted my answer, I have something to explain here.

  1. Everyone likes short ‘n’ simple answers. However, sometimes the reality is not so simple.
  2. Back to my answer. I know shutil.rmtree() could be used to delete a directory tree. I’ve used it many times in my own projects. But you must realize that the directory itself will also be deleted by shutil.rmtree(). While this might be acceptable for some, it’s not a valid answer for deleting the contents of a folder (without side effects).
  3. I’ll show you an example of the side effects. Suppose that you have a directory with customized owner and mode bits, where there are a lot of contents. Then you delete it with shutil.rmtree() and rebuild it with os.mkdir(). And you’ll get an empty directory with default (inherited) owner and mode bits instead. While you might have the privilege to delete the contents and even the directory, you might not be able to set back the original owner and mode bits on the directory (e.g. you’re not a superuser).
  4. Finally, be patient and read the code. It’s long and ugly (in sight), but proven to be reliable and efficient (in use).

Here’s a long and ugly, but reliable and efficient solution.

It resolves a few problems which are not addressed by the other answerers:

  • It correctly handles symbolic links, including not calling shutil.rmtree() on a symbolic link (which will pass the os.path.isdir() test if it links to a directory; even the result of os.walk() contains symbolic linked directories as well).
  • It handles read-only files nicely.

Here’s the code (the only useful function is clear_dir()):

import os
import stat
import shutil


# http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1889597/deleting-directory-in-python
def _remove_readonly(fn, path_, excinfo):
    # Handle read-only files and directories
    if fn is os.rmdir:
        os.chmod(path_, stat.S_IWRITE)
        os.rmdir(path_)
    elif fn is os.remove:
        os.lchmod(path_, stat.S_IWRITE)
        os.remove(path_)


def force_remove_file_or_symlink(path_):
    try:
        os.remove(path_)
    except OSError:
        os.lchmod(path_, stat.S_IWRITE)
        os.remove(path_)


# Code from shutil.rmtree()
def is_regular_dir(path_):
    try:
        mode = os.lstat(path_).st_mode
    except os.error:
        mode = 0
    return stat.S_ISDIR(mode)


def clear_dir(path_):
    if is_regular_dir(path_):
        # Given path is a directory, clear its content
        for name in os.listdir(path_):
            fullpath = os.path.join(path_, name)
            if is_regular_dir(fullpath):
                shutil.rmtree(fullpath, onerror=_remove_readonly)
            else:
                force_remove_file_or_symlink(fullpath)
    else:
        # Given path is a file or a symlink.
        # Raise an exception here to avoid accidentally clearing the content
        # of a symbolic linked directory.
        raise OSError("Cannot call clear_dir() on a symbolic link")

The Answer 10

13 people think this answer is useful
import os
import shutil

# Gather directory contents
contents = [os.path.join(target_dir, i) for i in os.listdir(target_dir)]

# Iterate and remove each item in the appropriate manner
[os.remove(i) if os.path.isfile(i) or os.path.islink(i) else shutil.rmtree(i) for i in contents]

An earlier comment also mentions using os.scandir in Python 3.5+. For example:

import os
import shutil

with os.scandir(target_dir) as entries:
    for entry in entries:
        if entry.is_file() or entry.is_symlink():
            os.remove(entry.path)
        elif entry.is_dir():
            shutil.rmtree(entry.path)

The Answer 11

8 people think this answer is useful

You might be better off using os.walk() for this.

os.listdir() doesn’t distinguish files from directories and you will quickly get into trouble trying to unlink these. There is a good example of using os.walk() to recursively remove a directory here, and hints on how to adapt it to your circumstances.

The Answer 12

8 people think this answer is useful

I used to solve the problem this way:

import shutil
import os

shutil.rmtree(dirpath)
os.mkdir(dirpath)

The Answer 13

7 people think this answer is useful

To delete all the files inside the directory as well as its sub-directories, without removing the folders themselves, simply do this:

import os
mypath = "my_folder" #Enter your path here
for root, dirs, files in os.walk(mypath):
    for file in files:
        os.remove(os.path.join(root, file))

The Answer 14

6 people think this answer is useful

I had to remove files from 3 separate folders inside a single parent directory:

directory
   folderA
      file1
   folderB
      file2
   folderC
      file3

This simple code did the trick for me: (I’m on Unix)

import os
import glob

folders = glob.glob('./path/to/parentdir/*')
for fo in folders:
  file = glob.glob(f'{fo}/*')
  for f in file:
    os.remove(f)

Hope this helps.

The Answer 15

5 people think this answer is useful

Yet Another Solution:

import sh
sh.rm(sh.glob('/path/to/folder/*'))

The Answer 16

5 people think this answer is useful

I konw it’s an old thread but I have found something interesting from the official site of python. Just for sharing another idea for removing of all contents in a directory. Because I have some problems of authorization when using shutil.rmtree() and I don’t want to remove the directory and recreate it. The address original is http://docs.python.org/2/library/os.html#os.walk. Hope that could help someone.

def emptydir(top):
    if(top == '/' or top == "\\"): return
    else:
        for root, dirs, files in os.walk(top, topdown=False):
            for name in files:
                os.remove(os.path.join(root, name))
            for name in dirs:
                os.rmdir(os.path.join(root, name))

The Answer 17

5 people think this answer is useful

If you are using a *nix system, why not leverage the system command?

import os
path = 'folder/to/clean'
os.system('rm -rf %s/*' % path)

The Answer 18

4 people think this answer is useful

Pretty intuitive way of doing it:

import shutil, os


def remove_folder_contents(path):
    shutil.rmtree(path)
    os.makedirs(path)


remove_folder_contents('/path/to/folder')

The Answer 19

3 people think this answer is useful

Well, I think this code is working. It will not delete the folder and you can use this code to delete files having the particular extension.

import os
import glob

files = glob.glob(r'path/*')
for items in files:
    os.remove(items)

The Answer 20

1 people think this answer is useful

I resolved the issue with rmtree makedirs by adding time.sleep() between:

if os.path.isdir(folder_location):
    shutil.rmtree(folder_location)

time.sleep(.5)

os.makedirs(folder_location, 0o777)

The Answer 21

0 people think this answer is useful

Use the method bellow to remove the contents of a directory, not the directory itself:

import os
import shutil

def remove_contents(path):
    for c in os.listdir(path):
        full_path = os.path.join(path, c)
        if os.path.isfile(full_path):
            os.remove(full_path)
        else:
            shutil.rmtree(full_path)

The Answer 22

0 people think this answer is useful

Answer for a limited, specific situation: assuming you want to delete the files while maintainig the subfolders tree, you could use a recursive algorithm:

import os

def recursively_remove_files(f):
    if os.path.isfile(f):
        os.unlink(f)
    elif os.path.isdir(f):
        for fi in os.listdir(f):
            recursively_remove_files(os.path.join(f, fi))

recursively_remove_files(my_directory)

Maybe slightly off-topic, but I think many would find it useful

The Answer 23

-2 people think this answer is useful

the easiest way to delete all files in a folder/remove all files

import os
files = os.listdir(yourFilePath)
for f in files:
    os.remove(yourFilePath + f)

The Answer 24

-4 people think this answer is useful

This should do the trick just using the OS module to list and then remove!

import os
DIR = os.list('Folder')
for i in range(len(DIR)):
    os.remove('Folder'+chr(92)+i)

Worked for me, any problems let me know!

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