rmlint [TARGET_DIR_OR_FILES ...] [//] [TAGGED_TARGET_DIR_OR_FILES ...] [-] [OPTIONS]
rmlint finds space waste and other broken things on your filesystem.
Types of waste include:
rmlint will not delete any files. It does however produce executable output
(for example a shell script) to help you delete the files if you want to.
In order to find the lint,
rmlint is given one or more directories to traverse.
If no directories or files were given, the current working directory is assumed.
rmlint will ignore hidden files and will not follow symlinks (see
traversal options below).
rmlint will first find "other lint" and then search
the remaining files for duplicates.
Duplicate sets will be displayed as an original and one or more duplicates. You
can set criteria for how
rmlint chooses using the -S option (by default it
chooses the first-named path on the command line, or if that is equal then the
oldest file based on mtime). You can also specify that certain paths only contain
originals by naming the path after the special path separator //.
Examples are given at the end of this manual.
Configure the types of lint rmlint will look for. The list string is a comma-separated list of lint types or lint groups (other separators like semicolon or space also work).
One of the following groups can be specified at the beginning of the list:
Any of the following lint types can be added individually, or deselected by prefixing with a -:
WARNING: It is good practice to enclose the description in quotes. In obscure cases argument parsing might fail in weird ways.
Configure the way
For a list of formatters and their options, refer to the Formatters section below.
Configure a format. This option can be used to fine-tune the behaviour of the existing formatters. See the Formatters section for details on the available keys.
If the value is omitted it is set to a true value.
Only look into file if it is readable, writable or executable by the current user. Which one of the can be given as argument as one of "rwx".
If no argument is given, "rw" is assumed. Note that r does basically
nothing user-visible since
By default this check is not done.
Choose the algorithm to use for finding duplicate files. The algorithm can be either paranoid (byte-by-byte file comparison) or use one of several file hash algorithms to identify duplicates. The following well-known algorithms are available:
spooky, city, murmur, xxhash, md5, sha1, sha256, sha512, farmhash, sha3, sha3-256, sha3-384, sha3-512, blake2s, blake2b, blake2sp, blake2bp.
There are also some compound variations of the above functions:
Increase or decrease the paranoia of
Increase or decrease the verbosity. You can pass these options several
times. This only affects
Convenience shortcut for
Note: This flag clears all previous outputs. Specify any additional outputs after this flag!
Makes rmlint use a special mode where all found duplicates are collected and
checked if whole directory trees are duplicates. Use with caution: You
always should make sure that the investigated directory is not modified
Output is deferred until all duplicates were found. Duplicate directories are printed first, followed by any remaining duplicate files.
--rank-by applies for directories too, but 'p' or 'P' (path index) has no defined (i.e. useful) meaning. Sorting takes only place when the number of preferred files in the directory differs.
During output, sort the found duplicate groups by criteria described by order. order is a string that may consist of one or more of the following letters:
The letter may also be written uppercase (similar to
Start the optional graphical frontend to
This will only work when
The gui has its own set of options, see
Use color escapes for pretty output or disable them.
If you pipe rmlints output to a file
Show a shorter reference help text (
Print the version of rmlint. Includes git revision and compile time features.
Only consider files in a certain size range. The format of range is min-max, where both ends can be specified as a number with an optional multiplier. The available multipliers are:
The size format is about the same as dd(1) uses. Example: "100KB-2M".
It's also possible to specify only one size. In this case the size is
interpreted as "bigger than this size". If you want to to filter for files
up to this size you can add a
Only recurse up to this depth. A depth of 1 would disable recursion and is equivalent to a directory listing.
Whether to report hardlinked files as duplicates.
Stay always on the same device (
Also traverse hidden directories? This is often not a good idea, since
Only consider those files as dupes that have the same basename. See also
Only consider those files as dupes that do not share the same basename.
Only consider those files as dupes that have the same file extension. For
example two photos would only match if they are a
Only consider those files as dupes that have the same basename minus the file
extension. For example:
Only consider files (and their size siblings for duplicates) newer than a certain modification time (mtime). The age barrier may be given as seconds since the epoch or as ISO8601-Timestamp like 2014-09-08T00:12:32+0200.
Note: you can make rmlint write out a compatible timestamp with:
Don't delete any duplicates that are in tagged paths (
Only look for duplicates of which at least one is in one of the tagged paths. (Paths that were named after //).
Sort the files in a group of duplicates into originals and duplicates by one or more criteria. Each criteria is defined by a single letter (except r and x). Multiple criteria may be given as string, where the first criteria is the most important. If one criteria cannot decide between original and duplicate the next one is tried.
Alphabetical sort will only use the basename of the file and ignore its case.
One can have multiple criteria, e.g.:
For more fine grained control, it is possible to give a regular expression
to sort by. This can be useful when you know a common fact that identifies
original paths (like a path component being
To use the regular expression you simply enclose it in the criteria string
by adding <REGULAR_EXPRESSION> after specifying r or x. Example:
Warning: When using r or x, try to make your regex to be as specific
as possible! Good practice includes adding a
Read an existing json file and re-output it. When
This is very useful if you want to reformat, refilter or resort the output
you got from a previous run. Usage is simple: Just pass
If you want to view only the duplicates of certain subdirectories, just pass them on the commandline as usual.
The usage of
By design, some options will not have any effect. Those are:
Read or write cached checksums from the extended file attributes. This feature can be used to speed up consecutive runs.
CAUTION: This is a potentially unsafe feature. The cache file might be
changed accidentally, potentially causing
NOTE: The speedup you may experience may vary wildly. In some cases the parsing of the json file might take longer than the actual hashing. Also, the cached json file will not be of use when doing many modifications between the runs, i.e. causing an update of mtime on most files. This feature is mostly intended for large datasets in order to prevent the re-hashing of large files.
NOTE: Many tools do not support extended file attributes properly, resulting in a loss of the information when copying the file or editing it. Also, this is a linux specific feature that works not on all filesystems and only if you have write permissions to the file.
$ rmlint large_file_cluster/ -U --xattr-write # first run. $ rmlint large_file_cluster/ --xattr-read # second run.
Include files in output that have not been hashed fully (i.e. files that do
not appear to have a duplicate). This is mainly useful in conjunction with
The number of threads to use during file tree traversal and hashing.
Apply a maximum number of bytes to use for --paranoid.
The argument can be either passed as factor (a number with a
Only look at the content of files in the range of from
This is useful in a few cases where a file consists of a constant sized header or footer. With this option you can just compare the data in between. Also it might be useful for approximate comparison where it suffices when the file is the same in the middle part.
-Z --mtime-window=T (default: -1)
Only consider those files as duplicates that have the same content and the same modification time (mtime) within a certain window of T seconds. If T is 0, both files need to have the same mtime. For T=1 they may differ one second and so on. If the window size is negative, the mtime of duplicates will not be considered. T may be a floating point number.
However, with three (or more) files, the mtime difference between two duplicates can be bigger than the mtime window T, i.e. several files may be chained together by the window. Example: If T is 1, the four files fooA (mtime: 00:00:00), fooB (00:00:01), fooC (00:00:02), fooD (00:00:03) would all belong to the same duplicate group, although the mtime of fooA and fooD differs by 3 seconds.
|Enable or disable reading the file extents on rotational disk in order to optimize disk access patterns.|
csv: Output all found lint as comma-separated-value list.
sh: Output all found lint as shell script This formatter is activated
cmd: Specify a user defined command to run on duplicates.
The command can be any valid
/bin/sh-expression. The duplicate
path and original path can be accessed via
The command will be written to the
user_command function in the
sh-file produced by rmlint.
handler Define a comma separated list of handlers to try on duplicate files in that given order until one handler succeeds. Handlers are just the name of a way of getting rid of the file and can be any of the following:
btrfsonly. Try to clone both files with the BTRFS_IOC_FILE_EXTENT_SAME
ioctl(3p). This will physically delete duplicate extents. Needs at least kernel 4.2.
reflink: Try to reflink the duplicate file to the original. See also
man 1 cp. Fails if the filesystem does not support it.
hardlink: Replace the duplicate file with a hardlink to the original file. The resulting files will have the same inode number. Fails if both files are not on the same partition. You can use
ls -ito show the inode number of a file and
find -samefile <path>to find all hardlinks for a certain file.
symlink: Tries to replace the duplicate file with a symbolic link to the original. Never fails.
remove: Remove the file using
rm -rf. (
-rfor duplicate dirs). Never fails.
usercmd: Use the provided user defined command (
-c sh:cmd=something). Never fails.
link: Shortcut for
hardlink: Shortcut for
symlink: Shortcut for
json: Print a JSON-formatted dump of all found reports.
Outputs all finds as a json document. The document is a list of dictionaries,
where the first and last element is the header and the footer respectively,
everything between are data-dictionaries.
py: Outputs a python script and a JSON document, just like the json formatter.
The JSON document is written to
.rmlint.json, executing the script will
make it read from there. This formatter is mostly intented for complex use-cases
where the lint needs special handling. Therefore the python script can be modified
to do things standard
rmlint is not able to do easily.
Outputs a timestamp of the time
rmlint was run.
progressbar: Shows a progressbar. This is meant for use with stdout or
--progress) for a convenience shortcut option.
pretty: Shows all found items in realtime nicely colored. This formatter
is activated as default.
summary: Shows counts of files and their respective size after the run.
Also list all written output files.
fdupes: Prints an output similar to the popular duplicate finder
fdupes(1). At first a progressbar is printed on stderr. Afterwards the
found files are printed on stdout; each set of duplicates gets printed as a
block separated by newlines. Originals are highlighted in green. At the bottom
a summary is printed on stderr. This is mostly useful for scripts that were
set up for parsing fdupes output. We recommend the
json formatter for every other
-f / --omitfirstoption in
fdupes(1). Omits the first line of each set of duplicates (i.e. the original file.
-1 / --samelineoption in
fdupes(1). Does not print newlines between files, only a space. Newlines are printed only between sets of duplicates.
This is a collection of common usecases and other tricks:
Check the current working directory for duplicates.
Show a progressbar:
$ rmlint -g
Quick re-run on large datasets using different ranking criteria on second run:
$ rmlint large_dir/ # First run; writes rmlint.json
$ rmlint --replay rmlint.json large_dir -S MaD
Merge together previous runs, but prefer the originals to be from
make sure that no files are deleted from
$ rmlint --replay a.json // b.json -k
Search only for duplicates and duplicate directories
$ rmlint -T "df,dd" .
Compare files byte-by-byte in current directory:
$ rmlint -pp .
Find duplicates with same basename (excluding extension):
$ rmlint -e
Do more complex traversal using
$ find /usr/lib -iname '*.so' -type f | rmlint - # find all duplicate .so files
$ find ~/pics -iname '*.png' | ./rmlint - # compare png files only
Limit file size range to investigate:
$ rmlint -s 2GB # Find everything >= 2GB
$ rmlint -s 0-2GB # Find everything < 2GB
Only find writable and executable files:
$ rmlint --perms wx
Reflink on btrfs, else try to hardlink duplicates to original. If that does not work, replace duplicate with a symbolic link:
$ rmlint -c sh:link
Inject user-defined command into shell script output:
$ rmlint -o sh -c sh:cmd='echo "original:" "$2" "is the same as" "$1"'
Use data as master directory. Find only duplicates in backup that are also in data. Do not delete any files in data:
$ rmlint backup // data --keep-all-tagged --must-match-tagged
-pp) option. This will compare all the files byte-by-byte and is not much slower than SHA1.
rmlintrecognized as duplicate is modified afterwards, resulting in a different file. If you use the rmlint-generated shell script to delete the duplicates, you can run it with the
-poption to do a full re-check of the duplicate against the original before it deletes the file. When using
-c sh:symlinkcare should be taken that a modification of one file will now result in a modification of all files. This is not the case for
-c sh:clone. Use
-c sh:linkto minimise this risk.
Extended documentation and an in-depth tutorial can be found at:
If you found a bug, have a feature requests or want to say something nice, please visit https://github.com/sahib/rmlint/issues.
Please make sure to describe your problem in detail. Always include the version
--version). If you experienced a crash, please include
at least one of the following information with a debug build of
gdb --ex run -ex bt --args rmlint -vvv [your_options]
valgrind --leak-check=no rmlint -vvv [your_options]
You can build a debug build of
rmlint like this:
git clone email@example.com:sahib/rmlint.git
sudo scons install # Optional
rmlint is licensed under the terms of the GPLv3.
See the COPYRIGHT file that came with the source for more information.