mv command

Linux mv command practical examples

In Linux and UNIX flavors, mv command has multiple advantages.

1. It can be used for moving the files from one directory to another directory. Like cut & paste option, we usually have on word documents.

2. It can also be used for renaming a file in a given directory.



  • There is no other command in Linux/Unix for renaming the files & directories.
  • mv command can’t rename a directory.



mv  source-file-name   target-file-name


mv  source-file-name   target-directory


Let us understand this command practical use cases with below examples.



Rename a file in a directory:

[rreddy@abclearn abclearn_dir2]$ ls


[rreddy@abclearn abclearn_dir2]$ mv abc_lab1.txt newfile.txt
[rreddy@abclearn abclearn_dir2]$ ls


Move a file from one directory to another directory

This mv command will remove the file from present directory and will made available in new directory.

[rreddy@abclearn abclearn_dir1]$ mv abc_lab1_copy.txt /home/rreddy/ebclearn_dir2/


If we check under abclearn_dir1 then file should be removed,

[rreddy@abclearn abclearn_dir1]$ ls
abc_lab1.txt abc_lab2.txt abc_lab3.txt  abc_lab4.txt


the same file is available under abclearn_dir2.

[rreddy@abclearn abclearn_dir1]$ ls /home/rreddy/abclearn_dir2/
abc_lab1_copy.txt newfile.txt


If we know the directory path, then check directory content using ls command, without changing into it.


Move one directory as subdirectory to another

Couple of more options to try

Promoting options

-u, --update

Move only when the SOURCE file is newer than the destination file or when the destination file is missing

-b like --Backup but does not accept an argument


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