Unix Rename a Directory Command

September 8, 2019

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I am an new Unix system user. I have a directory called letters in my home directory. How do I rename letters to letters.old on Unix like operating systems?

You need to use the mv command as follows to rename the file or directory names on Unix-like operating systems.

mv command syntax to rename directories

The basic syntax is:

mv oldDirName newDirName


mv source target

Renaming a directory on Unix

Open the Terminal app and type the following command to rename a directory called foo to bar:

mv foo bar

Alert: The directory foo will be given the new name bar as long as a directory called bar did not previously exist. If directory bar already existed before the mv command was issued, the result of would be to put the directory foo and its files into the directory bar.

Getting verbose output

Pass the -v option to the mv command to be verbose, showing files after they are moved:

mv -v python-project-1 python-project-2
python-project-1 -> python-project-2

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.