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mv is a command which moves (renames) files.


mv [OPTION] source dest 
mv [OPTION] source directory 
mv [OPTION] --target-directory=directory source   

Rename source to dest, or move source(s) to directory.


Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

  • --backup[=CONTROL] - make a backup of each existing destination file
  • -b - like --backup but does not accept an argument
  • -f, --force - do not prompt before overwriting equivalent to --reply=yes
  • -i, --interactive - prompt before overwrite equivalent to --reply=query
  • --reply={yes,no,query} - specify how to handle the prompt about an existing destination file
  • --strip-trailing-slashes - remove any trailing slashes from each SOURCE argument
  • -S, --suffix=SUFFIX - override the usual backup suffix
  • --target-directory=DIRECTORY - move all SOURCE arguments into DIRECTORY
  • -u, --update - move only when the SOURCE file is newer than the destination file or when the destination file is missing
  • -v, --verbose - explain what is being done
  • --help - display this help and exit
  • --version - output version information and exit

The backup suffix is `~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX. The version control method may be selected via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable. Here are the values:

  • none, off - never make backups (even if --backup is given)
  • numbered, t - make numbered backups
  • existing, nil - numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise
  • simple, never - always make simple backups

Provided by

Most (all?) Linux distributions incorporate this from the GNU Coreutils: man page

Related Commands

  • cp - Copy files
  • rm - Removes files
  • mkdir - Creates a directory
  • dd - device-to-device copier
  • install - Copy and set permissions
  • shred - Remove files securely