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User Contributed Notes 31 notes

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36
dexen dot devries at gmail dot com
3 years ago
Deleted a large file but seeing no increase in free space or decrease of disk usage? Using UNIX or other POSIX OS?

The unlink() is not about removing file, it's about removing a file name. The manpage says: ``unlink - delete a name and possibly the file it refers to''.

Most of the time a file has just one name -- removing it will also remove (free, deallocate) the `body' of file (with one caveat, see below). That's the simple, usual case.

However, it's perfectly fine for a file to have several names (see the link() function), in the same or different directories. All the names will refer to the file body and `keep it alive', so to say. Only when all the names are removed, the body of file actually is freed.

The caveat:
A file's body may *also* be `kept alive' (still using diskspace) by a process holding the file open. The body will not be deallocated (will not free disk space) as long as the process holds it open. In fact, there's a fancy way of resurrecting a file removed by a mistake but still held open by a process...
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26
anagai at yahoo dot com
1 year ago
This will delete all files in a directory matching a pattern in one line of code.

<?php array_map('unlink', glob("some/dir/*.txt")); ?>
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9
chris at vibenewmedia dot com
9 years ago
To delete all files of a particular extension, or infact, delete all with wildcard, a much simplar way is to use the glob function.  Say I wanted to delete all jpgs .........

<?php

foreach (glob("*.jpg") as $filename) {
   echo
"$filename size " . filesize($filename) . "\n";
  
unlink($filename);
}

?>
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8
gotdalife at gmail dot com
5 years ago
To anyone who's had a problem with the permissions denied error, it's sometimes caused when you try to delete a file that's in a folder higher in the hierarchy to your working directory (i.e. when trying to delete a path that starts with "../").

So to work around this problem, you can use chdir() to change the working directory to the folder where the file you want to unlink is located.

<?php
    $old
= getcwd(); // Save the current directory
   
chdir($path_to_file);
   
unlink($filename);
   
chdir($old); // Restore the old working directory   
?>
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9
deen804 at gmail dot com
8 months ago
unlink($fileName); failed for me .
Then i tried using the realpath($fileName)  function as
unlink(realpath($fileName)); it worked

just posting it , in case if any one finds it useful .
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10
federico at poisonfx dot com
3 years ago
Here the simplest way to delete files with mask

<?php
   $mask
= "*.jpg"
  
array_map( "unlink", glob( $mask ) );
?>
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2
PD
6 years ago
I have been working on some little tryout where a backup file was created before modifying the main textfile. Then when an error is thrown, the main file will be deleted (unlinked) and the backup file is returned instead.

Though, I have been breaking my head for about an hour on why I couldn't get my persmissions right to unlink the main file.

Finally I knew what was wrong: because I was working on the file and hadn't yet closed the file, it was still in use and ofcourse couldn't be deleted :)

So I thought of mentoining this here, to avoid others of making the same mistake:

<?php
// First close the file
fclose($fp);

// Then unlink :)
unlink($somefile);
?>
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4
hi at hi dot hi
5 years ago
using this function with windows will generate an error, make sure to use is_file
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2
Jon Hassall
5 years ago
Here is the recursive delete method made a little more readable:

<?php
/**
* Recursively delete a directory
*
* @param string $dir Directory name
* @param boolean $deleteRootToo Delete specified top-level directory as well
*/
function unlinkRecursive($dir, $deleteRootToo)
{
    if(!
$dh = @opendir($dir))
    {
        return;
    }
    while (
false !== ($obj = readdir($dh)))
    {
        if(
$obj == '.' || $obj == '..')
        {
            continue;
        }

        if (!@
unlink($dir . '/' . $obj))
        {
           
unlinkRecursive($dir.'/'.$obj, true);
        }
    }

   
closedir($dh);
   
    if (
$deleteRootToo)
    {
        @
rmdir($dir);
    }
   
    return;
}
?>
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1
to dot want at in dot com
2 years ago
remove directory with all content

<?php
$dir
= "boss"; // directory name
?>

<?php
foreach (scandir($dir) as $item) {
    if (
$item == '.' || $item == '..') continue;
   
unlink($dir.DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR.$item);
}
rmdir($dir);
?>
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1
torch at torchsdomain dot com
7 years ago
Here is simple function that will find and remove all files (except "." ones) that match the expression ($match, "*" as wildcard) under starting directory ($path) and all other directories under it.

function rfr($path,$match){
   static $deld = 0, $dsize = 0;
   $dirs = glob($path."*");
   $files = glob($path.$match);
   foreach($files as $file){
      if(is_file($file)){
         $dsize += filesize($file);
         unlink($file);
         $deld++;
      }
   }
   foreach($dirs as $dir){
      if(is_dir($dir)){
         $dir = basename($dir) . "/";
         rfr($path.$dir,$match);
      }
   }
   return "$deld files deleted with a total size of $dsize bytes";
}
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0
Eric
8 days ago
This might seem obvious, but I was tearing my hair out with this problem - make sure the file you're trying to delete isn't currently being used. I had a script that was parsing a text file and was supposed to delete it after completing, but kept getting a permission denied error because I hadn't explicitly closed the file, hence it was technically still being "used" even though the parsing was complete.
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0
lpatrick
3 years ago
unlink can fail after using ODBC commands on the file (on Windows).

Neither <?php odbc_free_result($result); ?> nor <?php odbc_close($conn); unset($conn); ?> did the trick.

Only <?php odbc_close_all(); ?> released the file such that it could be deleted afterwards ...
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0
ayor ATTTTT ayor.biz
6 years ago
ggarciaa's post above has already one small error, closedir has to be used even if $DeleteMe is false

<?php
// ggarciaa at gmail dot com (04-July-2007 01:57)
// I needed to empty a directory, but keeping it
// so I slightly modified the contribution from
// stefano at takys dot it (28-Dec-2005 11:57)
// A short but powerfull recursive function
// that works also if the dirs contain hidden files
//
// $dir = the target directory
// $DeleteMe = if true delete also $dir, if false leave it alone

function SureRemoveDir($dir, $DeleteMe) {
    if(!
$dh = @opendir($dir)) return;
    while (
false !== ($obj = readdir($dh))) {
        if(
$obj=='.' || $obj=='..') continue;
        if (!@
unlink($dir.'/'.$obj)) SureRemoveDir($dir.'/'.$obj, true);
    }

   
closedir($dh);
    if (
$DeleteMe){
        @
rmdir($dir);
    }
}

//SureRemoveDir('EmptyMe', false);
//SureRemoveDir('RemoveMe', true);

?>
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0
rahulnvaidya at gmail dot com
7 years ago
ggarciaa's post above has one small error, it will ignore file and directory strings that are evaluated as false (ie. "0")

Fixed code is below (false !==)

<?php
// ggarciaa at gmail dot com (04-July-2007 01:57)
// I needed to empty a directory, but keeping it
// so I slightly modified the contribution from
// stefano at takys dot it (28-Dec-2005 11:57)
// A short but powerfull recursive function
// that works also if the dirs contain hidden files
//
// $dir = the target directory
// $DeleteMe = if true delete also $dir, if false leave it alone

function SureRemoveDir($dir, $DeleteMe) {
    if(!
$dh = @opendir($dir)) return;
    while (
false !== ($obj = readdir($dh))) {
        if(
$obj=='.' || $obj=='..') continue;
        if (!@
unlink($dir.'/'.$obj)) SureRemoveDir($dir.'/'.$obj, true);
    }
    if (
$DeleteMe){
       
closedir($dh);
        @
rmdir($dir);
    }
}

//SureRemoveDir('EmptyMe', false);
//SureRemoveDir('RemoveMe', true);

?>
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0
ashley at semantic dot org
9 years ago
Actually you should use "@unlink" rather than testing with file_exists. The former is atomic, whereas the latter can break if you can't guarantee only one process will try to delete a given file at a time.
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0
dagski_AT_gmail_DOT_com
9 years ago
before you could unlink a file created which uses a handle e.g.,

$handle = sqlite('temp.db');

unset($handle); first befofe
unlink($handle);

to avoide permission denied error.
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-1
zibi at nora dot pl
3 years ago
Shorter'n'faster version of Eddys "The shortest recursive delete possible"

function rrmdir($path)
{
  return is_file($path)?
    @unlink($path):
    array_map('rrmdir',glob($path.'/*'))==@rmdir($path)
  ;
}
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-1
bitman3 at rambler dot ru
2 years ago
This code deletes all files from directory, but there's a secret :)
I killed a lot of time before I realized my mistake.
I used jquery to create event in frame.
@ - it`s a secret :)

$dir = '../upload_tmp/';
if($dh = opendir($dir)){
    while(($file = readdir($dh))!== false){
        if(file_exists($dir.$file)) @unlink($dir.$file);
    }
        closedir($dh);
}
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-1
southsentry at yahoo dot com
5 years ago
This is in response to alvaro at demogracia dot com

Yes, I found that out and have had to wrap it with is_file:

<?php
if(is_file("$file")) {
unlink("$file");
}
?>
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-1
http://www.paladinux.net
5 years ago
Under Windows System and Apache, denied access to file is an usual error to unlink file.
To delete file you must to change file's owern.
An example:

<?php
chown
($TempDirectory."/".$FileName,666); //Insert an Invalid UserId to set to Nobody Owern; 666 is my standard for "Nobody"
unlink($TempDirectory."/".$FileName);
?>
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-1
bmcouto at hotmail dot com
7 years ago
<?php
$myFile
= "testFile.txt";
$fh = fopen($myFile, 'w') or die("can't open file");
fclose($fh);
?>

Now to delete testFile.txt we simply run a PHP script that is located in the same directory. Unlink just needs to know the name of the file to start working its destructive magic.

<?php
$myFile
= "testFile.txt";
unlink($myFile);
?>

The testFile.txt should now be removed.
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-2
Alex, the Marrch Ca&#39;at
1 year ago
The best way to delete files by mask is as follows:
<?php
array_walk
(glob('/etc/*'), 'unlink');
?>
Do not use array_map mentioned below - it's purpose is to process values in a given array AND COLLECT data returned by the callback function. So, array_map is slower and uses additional memory compared to array_walk.
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-2
ggarciaa at gmail dot com
7 years ago
<?php
// ggarciaa at gmail dot com (04-July-2007 01:57)
// I needed to empty a directory, but keeping it
// so I slightly modified the contribution from
// stefano at takys dot it (28-Dec-2005 11:57)
// A short but powerfull recursive function
// that works also if the dirs contain hidden files
//
// $dir = the target directory
// $DeleteMe = if true delete also $dir, if false leave it alone

function SureRemoveDir($dir, $DeleteMe) {
    if(!
$dh = @opendir($dir)) return;
    while ((
$obj = readdir($dh))) {
        if(
$obj=='.' || $obj=='..') continue;
        if (!@
unlink($dir.'/'.$obj)) SureRemoveDir($dir.'/'.$obj, true);
    }
    if (
$DeleteMe){
       
closedir($dh);
        @
rmdir($dir);
    }
}

//SureRemoveDir('EmptyMe', false);
//SureRemoveDir('RemoveMe', true);

?>
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-1
james at dunmore dot me dot uk
9 months ago
I know it is obvious, but.... if you have nested symlinks (for example, we archive into yyyy-mm for backups, and symbolic link to make our directory structure look flat - don't ask), unlink will only delete the top level symlink (as expected).

If you want to delete the actual file, you'll need to use readlink. If you want to delete all of the files and the symlinks, you'll need to recurse up and down to achieve that.
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-1
bishop
9 years ago
<?php
/**
* rm() -- Vigorously erase files and directories.
*
* @param $fileglob mixed If string, must be a file name (foo.txt), glob pattern (*.txt), or directory name.
*                        If array, must be an array of file names, glob patterns, or directories.
*/
function rm($fileglob)
{
    if (
is_string($fileglob)) {
        if (
is_file($fileglob)) {
            return
unlink($fileglob);
        } else if (
is_dir($fileglob)) {
           
$ok = rm("$fileglob/*");
            if (!
$ok) {
                return
false;
            }
            return
rmdir($fileglob);
        } else {
           
$matching = glob($fileglob);
            if (
$matching === false) {
               
trigger_error(sprintf('No files match supplied glob %s', $fileglob), E_USER_WARNING);
                return
false;
            }      
           
$rcs = array_map('rm', $matching);
            if (
in_array(false, $rcs)) {
                return
false;
            }
        }      
    } else if (
is_array($fileglob)) {
       
$rcs = array_map('rm', $fileglob);
        if (
in_array(false, $rcs)) {
            return
false;
        }
    } else {
       
trigger_error('Param #1 must be filename or glob pattern, or array of filenames or glob patterns', E_USER_ERROR);
        return
false;
    }

    return
true;
}
?>
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-5
Eddy Vlad
4 years ago
The shortest recursive delete possible.

<?php
   
/**
     * Delete a file or recursively delete a directory
     *
     * @param string $str Path to file or directory
     */
   
function recursiveDelete($str){
        if(
is_file($str)){
            return @
unlink($str);
        }
        elseif(
is_dir($str)){
           
$scan = glob(rtrim($str,'/').'/*');
            foreach(
$scan as $index=>$path){
               
recursiveDelete($path);
            }
            return @
rmdir($str);
        }
    }
?>
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-4
Anonymous
5 years ago
To unlink, the web server user must have write permissions to the directory.

Conversely, if a user has write permissions to a directory, it may delete files from that directory regardless of who owns them...
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-3
jchase at solidmark dot com
9 years ago
[Editor's note: A suggestion for a work-around was submitted by argistof at gmail dot com: You can use the recursive option (see man chmod) when chmodding, for instance 'chmod 777 directory/ -R'. Be aware though, this will change the permissions of all files and folders in the diectory.]

Just a note which you probably all know, but I didn't, and it might save another poor sap some unnecessary time:

I was doing unlink() and fopen() on a file and got a permission denied error, even after chmoding the file to 0777. 

The folder that contains the file must ALSO have write permission.  Took a headache to find this out. 

Hope this helps someone :)
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-6
pc AT newagelab DOT com DOT ua
9 years ago
To delete files using wildcards:

<?
function delfile($str)
{
    foreach(
glob($str) as $fn) {
       
unlink($fn);
    }
}
?>
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-4
Set
4 months ago
<?php
// for deleting in other directory

unlink("dir/" .$file ); //or
unlink("http://www.localhost/dir/" . $file );
?>
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