How can I delete a file or folder in Python?


How can I delete a file or folder in Python?

Asked By: Zygimantas



Path objects from the Python 3.4+ pathlib module also expose these instance methods:

Answered By: RichieHindle


shutil.rmtree(path[, ignore_errors[, onerror]])

(See complete documentation on shutil) and/or




(Complete documentation on os.)

Answered By: Mihai Maruseac

Here is a robust function that uses both os.remove and shutil.rmtree:

def remove(path):
    """ param <path> could either be relative or absolute. """
    if os.path.isfile(path) or os.path.islink(path):
        os.remove(path)  # remove the file
    elif os.path.isdir(path):
        shutil.rmtree(path)  # remove dir and all contains
        raise ValueError("file {} is not a file or dir.".format(path))
Answered By: flycee

Python syntax to delete a file

import os


import os


pathlib Library for Python version >= 3.4

file_to_rem = pathlib.Path("/tmp/<file_name>.txt")


Unlink method used to remove the file or the symbolik link.

  • If missing_ok is false (the default), FileNotFoundError is raised if the path does not exist.
  • If missing_ok is true, FileNotFoundError exceptions will be ignored (same behavior as the POSIX rm -f command).
  • Changed in version 3.8: The missing_ok parameter was added.

Best practice

First, check if the file or folder exists and then delete it. You can achieve this in two ways:

  1. os.path.isfile("/path/to/file")
  2. Use exception handling.

EXAMPLE for os.path.isfile

import os

myfile = "/tmp/foo.txt"
# If file exists, delete it.
if os.path.isfile(myfile):
    # If it fails, inform the user.
    print("Error: %s file not found" % myfile)

Exception Handling

import os

# Get input.
myfile = raw_input("Enter file name to delete: ")

# Try to delete the file.
except OSError as e:
    # If it fails, inform the user.
    print("Error: %s - %s." % (e.filename, e.strerror))

Respective output

Enter file name to delete : demo.txt
Error: demo.txt - No such file or directory.

Enter file name to delete : rrr.txt
Error: rrr.txt - Operation not permitted.

Enter file name to delete : foo.txt

Python syntax to delete a folder


Example for shutil.rmtree()

import os
import sys
import shutil

# Get directory name
mydir = raw_input("Enter directory name: ")

# Try to remove the tree; if it fails, throw an error using try...except.
except OSError as e:
    print("Error: %s - %s." % (e.filename, e.strerror))
Answered By: Anand Tripathi

You can use the built-in pathlib module (requires Python 3.4+, but there are backports for older versions on PyPI: pathlib, pathlib2).

To remove a file there is the unlink method:

import pathlib
path = pathlib.Path(name_of_file)

Or the rmdir method to remove an empty folder:

import pathlib
path = pathlib.Path(name_of_folder)
Answered By: MSeifert
import os

folder = '/Path/to/yourDir/'
fileList = os.listdir(folder)

for f in fileList:
    filePath = folder + '/'+f

    if os.path.isfile(filePath):

    elif os.path.isdir(filePath):
        newFileList = os.listdir(filePath)
        for f1 in newFileList:
            insideFilePath = filePath + '/' + f1

            if os.path.isfile(insideFilePath):
Answered By: Lalithesh

How do I delete a file or folder in Python?

For Python 3, to remove the file and directory individually, use the unlink and rmdir Path object methods respectively:

from pathlib import Path
dir_path = Path.home() / 'directory' 
file_path = dir_path / 'file'

file_path.unlink() # remove file

dir_path.rmdir()   # remove directory

Note that you can also use relative paths with Path objects, and you can check your current working directory with Path.cwd.

For removing individual files and directories in Python 2, see the section so labeled below.

To remove a directory with contents, use shutil.rmtree, and note that this is available in Python 2 and 3:

from shutil import rmtree



New in Python 3.4 is the Path object.

Let’s use one to create a directory and file to demonstrate usage. Note that we use the / to join the parts of the path, this works around issues between operating systems and issues from using backslashes on Windows (where you’d need to either double up your backslashes like \ or use raw strings, like r"foobar"):

from pathlib import Path

# .home() is new in 3.5, otherwise use os.path.expanduser('~')
directory_path = Path.home() / 'directory'

file_path = directory_path / 'file'

and now:

>>> file_path.is_file()

Now let’s delete them. First the file:

>>> file_path.unlink()     # remove file
>>> file_path.is_file()
>>> file_path.exists()

We can use globbing to remove multiple files – first let’s create a few files for this:

>>> (directory_path / '').touch()
>>> (directory_path / '').touch()

Then just iterate over the glob pattern:

>>> for each_file_path in directory_path.glob('*.my'):
...     print(f'removing {each_file_path}')
...     each_file_path.unlink()
removing ~/directory/
removing ~/directory/

Now, demonstrating removing the directory:

>>> directory_path.rmdir() # remove directory
>>> directory_path.is_dir()
>>> directory_path.exists()

What if we want to remove a directory and everything in it?
For this use-case, use shutil.rmtree

Let’s recreate our directory and file:


and note that rmdir fails unless it’s empty, which is why rmtree is so convenient:

>>> directory_path.rmdir()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "~/anaconda3/lib/python3.6/", line 1270, in rmdir
  File "~/anaconda3/lib/python3.6/", line 387, in wrapped
    return strfunc(str(pathobj), *args)
OSError: [Errno 39] Directory not empty: '/home/username/directory'

Now, import rmtree and pass the directory to the funtion:

from shutil import rmtree
rmtree(directory_path)      # remove everything 

and we can see the whole thing has been removed:

>>> directory_path.exists()

Python 2

If you’re on Python 2, there’s a backport of the pathlib module called pathlib2, which can be installed with pip:

$ pip install pathlib2

And then you can alias the library to pathlib

import pathlib2 as pathlib

Or just directly import the Path object (as demonstrated here):

from pathlib2 import Path

If that’s too much, you can remove files with os.remove or os.unlink

from os import unlink, remove
from os.path import join, expanduser

remove(join(expanduser('~'), 'directory/file'))


unlink(join(expanduser('~'), 'directory/file'))

and you can remove directories with os.rmdir:

from os import rmdir

rmdir(join(expanduser('~'), 'directory'))

Note that there is also a os.removedirs – it only removes empty directories recursively, but it may suit your use-case.

shutil.rmtree is the asynchronous function,
so if you want to check when it complete, you can use while…loop

import os
import shutil


while os.path.exists(path):

Answered By: m0z4rt

For deleting files:

os.unlink(path, *, dir_fd=None)


os.remove(path, *, dir_fd=None)

Both functions are semantically same. This functions removes (deletes) the file path. If path is not a file and it is directory, then exception is raised.

For deleting folders:

shutil.rmtree(path, ignore_errors=False, onerror=None)


os.rmdir(path, *, dir_fd=None)

In order to remove whole directory trees, shutil.rmtree() can be used. os.rmdir only works when the directory is empty and exists.

For deleting folders recursively towards parent:


It remove every empty parent directory with self until parent which has some content

ex. os.removedirs(‘abc/xyz/pqr’) will remove the directories by order ‘abc/xyz/pqr’, ‘abc/xyz’ and ‘abc’ if they are empty.

For more info check official doc: os.unlink , os.remove, os.rmdir , shutil.rmtree, os.removedirs

Answered By: Somnath Muluk

To remove all files in folder

import os
import glob

files = glob.glob(os.path.join('path/to/folder/*'))
files = glob.glob(os.path.join('path/to/folder/*.csv')) // It will give all csv files in folder
for file in files:

To remove all folders in a directory

from shutil import rmtree
import os

// os.path.join()  # current working directory.

for dirct in os.listdir(os.path.join('path/to/folder')):
Answered By: Sarender Reddy

To avoid the TOCTOU issue highlighted by Éric Araujo’s comment, you can catch an exception to call the correct method:

def remove_file_or_dir(path: str) -> None:
    """ Remove a file or directory """
    except NotADirectoryError:

Since shutil.rmtree() will only remove directories and os.remove() or os.unlink() will only remove files.

Answered By: Isaac Turner

My personal preference is to work with pathlib objects – it offers a more pythonic and less error-prone way to interact with the filesystem, especially if You develop cross-platform code.

In that case, You might use pathlib3x – it offers a backport of the latest (at the date of writing this answer Python 3.10.a0) Python pathlib for Python 3.6 or newer, and a few additional functions like "copy", "copy2", "copytree", "rmtree" etc …

It also wraps shutil.rmtree:

$> python -m pip install pathlib3x
$> python
>>> import pathlib3x as pathlib

# delete a directory tree
>>> my_dir_to_delete=pathlib.Path('c:/temp/some_dir')
>>> my_dir_to_delete.rmtree(ignore_errors=True)

# delete a file
>>> my_file_to_delete=pathlib.Path('c:/temp/some_file.txt')
>>> my_file_to_delete.unlink(missing_ok=True)

you can find it on github or PyPi

Disclaimer: I’m the author of the pathlib3x library.

Answered By: bitranox

Deleting a file or folder in Python

There are multiple ways to Delete a File in Python but the best ways are the following:

  1. os.remove() removes a file.
  2. os.unlink() removes a file. it is a Unix name of remove() method.
  3. shutil.rmtree() deletes a directory and all its contents.
  4. pathlib.Path.unlink() deletes a single file The pathlib module is available in Python 3.4 and above.


Example 1: Basic Example to Remove a File Using os.remove() Method.

import os
print("File removed successfully")

Example 2: Checking if File Exists using os.path.isfile and Deleting it With os.remove

import os
#checking if file exist or not
    #os.remove() function to remove the file
    #Printing the confirmation message of deletion
    print("File Deleted successfully")
print("File does not exist")
#Showing the message instead of throwig an error

Example 3: Python Program to Delete all files with a specific extension

import os 
from os import listdir
my_path = 'C:\Python Pool\Test'
for file_name in listdir(my_path):
    if file_name.endswith('.txt'):
        os.remove(my_path + file_name)

Example 4: Python Program to Delete All Files Inside a Folder

To delete all files inside a particular directory, you simply have to use the * symbol as the pattern string.
#Importing os and glob modules
import os, glob
#Loop Through the folder projects all files and deleting them one by one
for file in glob.glob("pythonpool/*"):
print("Deleted " + str(file))


os.unlink() is an alias or another name of os.remove() . As in the Unix OS remove is also known as unlink.
Note: All the functionalities and syntax is the same of os.unlink() and os.remove(). Both of them are used to delete the Python file path.
Both are methods in the os module in Python’s standard libraries which performs the deletion function.


Example 1: Python Program to Delete a File Using shutil.rmtree()

import shutil 
import os 
# location 
location = "E:/Projects/PythonPool/"
# directory 
dir = "Test"
# path 
path = os.path.join(location, dir) 
# removing directory 

Example 2: Python Program to Delete a File Using shutil.rmtree()

import shutil 
import os 
location = "E:/Projects/PythonPool/"
dir = "Test"    
path = os.path.join(location, dir) 

pathlib.Path.rmdir() to remove Empty Directory

Pathlib module provides different ways to interact with your files. Rmdir is one of the path functions which allows you to delete an empty folder. Firstly, you need to select the Path() for the directory, and then calling rmdir() method will check the folder size. If it’s empty, it’ll delete it.

This is a good way to deleting empty folders without any fear of losing actual data.

from pathlib import Path
q = Path('foldername')
Answered By: dataninsight

This is my function for deleting dirs. The "path" requires the full pathname.

import os

def rm_dir(path):
    cwd = os.getcwd()
    if not os.path.exists(os.path.join(cwd, path)):
        return False
    os.chdir(os.path.join(cwd, path))

    for file in os.listdir():
        print("file = " + file)
    os.rmdir(os.path.join(cwd, path))
Answered By: Daring_T
import os

def del_dir(rootdir):
    for (dirpath, dirnames, filenames) in os.walk(rootdir):
        for filename in filenames: os.remove(rootdir+'/'+filename)
        for dirname in dirnames: del_dir(rootdir+'/'+dirname)
Answered By: phu

There is a simple and effective way to remove all files and directories using List Comprehension.

 import glob
 from os import path, remove, rmdir
 #The directory you wish to empty...
 your_dir = "/path/to/dir/with/contents"
 # Use list comprehension to ensure we don't compromise on speed
    remove(f) if path.isfile(f)
    else [remove(ff) for ff in glob.glob(path.join(f, "*"))] + [rmdir(f)]
    for f in glob.glob(path.join(your_dir, "*"))

This is what it works:

  1. We first use glob to get all files and directories in the directory you want to empty. In this case, "your_dir" for f in glob.glob(path.join(your_dir, "*"))
  2. Then we remove any files within this "parent directory" remove(f) if path.isfile(f)
  3. This line else [remove(ff) for ff in glob.glob(path.join(f, "*"))] + [rmdir(f)] is the most interesting.
  • First, because these will be directories we empty them using the glob and remove combination [remove(ff) for ff in glob.glob(path.join(f, "*"))]
  • Now that the "child directory" is empty, we need rmdir to remove it. To do so, we use a hack; list concatenation. By adding + [rmdir(f)] we force python to evaluate rmdir(f) and thus remove the directory for us. Viola!
Answered By: Anthony M.

My prefered method os.walk and os.remove with list comprehension:

To delete all files in one directory:

import os
from os import walk

path1 = './mypath1/'

[os.remove(path1+ff) for ff in next(walk(path1), (None, None, []))[2]]

If you have various directories you want to delete all files:

import os
from os import walk

path1 = "./mypath1/"
path2 = "./mypath2/"
path3 = "./mypath3/"

for p in [path1,path2,path3]:
    [os.remove(p+ff) for ff in next(walk(p), (None, None, []))[2]]
Answered By: SachaDee