Section: System Administrator's Manual (8)
tmpwatch - removes files which haven't been accessed for a period of time
[-u|-m|-c] [-MUXadfqstvx] [--verbose] [--force] [--all]
[--nodirs] [--nosymlinks] [--test] [--fuser] [--quiet]
[--atime|--mtime|--ctime] [--dirmtime] [--exclude path
] [--exclude-pattern pattern
recursively removes files which haven't been accessed
for a given time.
Normally, it's used to clean up directories
which are used for temporary holding space such as /tmp.
When changing directories, tmpwatch is very sensitive to possible
race conditions and will exit with an error if one is detected. It does
not follow symbolic links in the directories it's cleaning (even if a
symbolic link is given as its argument),
does not switch filesystems (including non-trivial bind mounts),
skips lost+found directories owned by the root user,
and only removes empty directories, regular files, symbolic links, and on some
systems also unused sockets.
By default, tmpwatch dates files by their atime (access time), not
their mtime (modification time). If files aren't being removed when
ls -l implies they should be, use ls -u to examine their
atime to see if that explains the problem.
If the --atime, --ctime or --mtime options are used in combination,
the decision about deleting a file will be based on the maximum of
these times. The --dirmtime option implies ignoring atime of directories,
even if the --atime option is used.
The time parameter defines the threshold for removing files.
If the file has not been accessed for time, the file is removed.
argument is a number with an optional single-character suffix
specifying the units:
If no suffix is specified,
is in hours.
Following this, one or more directories may be given for tmpwatch
to clean up.
- -u, --atime
Make the decision about deleting a file based on the file's atime (access
time). This is the default.
Note that the periodic updatedb file system scans keep the atime of
- -m, --mtime
Make the decision about deleting a file based on the file's mtime
(modification time) instead of the atime.
- -c, --ctime
Make the decision about deleting a file based on the file's ctime
(inode change time) instead of the atime; for directories, make the
decision based on the mtime.
- -M, --dirmtime
Make the decision about deleting a directory based on the directory's mtime
(modification time) instead of the atime; completely ignore atime for
- -a, --all
Remove all file types, not just regular files, symbolic links and directories.
On systems where
can remove unused sockets, make the decision only based on file times,
ignoring possible use of the socket.
- -d, --nodirs
Do not attempt to remove directories, even if they are empty.
- -f, --force
Remove root-owned files even if root doesn't have write access
(akin to rm -f).
- -l, --nosymlinks
Do not attempt to remove symbolic links.
- -q, --quiet
Report only fatal errors.
- -s, --fuser
Attempt to use the "fuser" command to see if a file is already open
before removing it. Not enabled by default. Does help in some
circumstances, but not all. Dependent on fuser being installed in
/sbin. Not supported on HP-UX or Solaris.
- -t, --test
Don't remove files, but go through the motions of removing them. This
- -U, --exclude-user=user
Don't remove files owned by user, which can be an user name or numeric
- -v, --verbose
Print a verbose display. Two levels of verboseness are available -- use
this option twice to get the most verbose output.
- -x, --exclude=path
Skip path; if path is a directory, all files
contained in it are skipped too.
does not exist,
it must be an absolute path that contains no symbolic links.
- -X, --exclude-pattern=pattern
Skip paths matching pattern;
if a directory matches pattern,
all files contained in it are skipped too.
must match an absolute path that contains no symbolic links.
Erik Troan <email@example.com>
Preston Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nalin Dahyabhai <email@example.com>
Miloslav Trmac <firstname.lastname@example.org>