Deleting files older than a particular date and deleting more files then rm can handle

We collect data from clients via a number of methods including FTP. We’d been collecting, but not processing, a particular client’s files for a while now accumulating to over 200,000 files in a single folder.

That’s a fair few files and we needed to process them and then remove them, being the go-to-Linux-guy I was tasked with sorting through the files.

Sadly the version of find we have on the server doesn’t have the parameter allowing me to set a date to find files before/after but it does have the ability to pick a reference file:

find -not -newer ./mb-001.*****.log.csv -delete

This command finds every file not newer than the reference file, and deletes them, rather quickly too.

As a side note, even rm had difficulty deleting all the files in another folder (which had 400,000+ files in it) thankfully using find and xargs allowed me to break it up a little:

find . | xargs -0 rm -f

Before deleting the files I’d compressed them all down to back them up, went down from 1.6GB to 26MB, even the ls -l file listing was larger than that.


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Production Facilitator at Audacious Church Previously Software Developer at UKFast Ltd. and Web Applications Developer at SenseLogix Ltd. Graduate of Renewable Energy BSc from the University of Exeter. Experience with PHP, MySQL, Javascript, CSS and HTML.

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