The mv command


Staff member
Oct 27, 2011
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'mv' is a command that we're going to use to move files around or to rename them. 'mv' sort of has a split-personality because it serves these two functions at the same time.

'mv' command for renaming files

Let's go back yet again to Tony's file, 'stuff' again. 'stuff' is not a good name for a file just as 'book' isn't a good name for a book. Just imagine: "The number one bestselling book this week is 'Book' by John Author.

You should probably re-name this file to something meaningful. I would suggest doing something like this:

mv stuff tonys_jokes

You may have noticed the underscore '_' in the title. It's there because Linux doesn't really like spaces in the file names. You can do it and Linux will accept it but it will put a \\ between the different words. Spaces are sort of 'faux pas' in Linux but not 'verboten'. It would be to your advantage to use '_' between words though.

Moving files with the 'mv' command

Now you can use the 'mv' command to move Tony's jokes into the directory you made to keep his files.

mv tonys_jokes tonyd/

If you do cd tonyd and then ls to* you will see his file there along with 'toms_jokes' and 'tomato_soup_recipe'. (if you have another friend named Tom and you like to cook)

You can also move entire directories with this command. You do not have to use the '-r' option as you did with 'cp'. You would just substitute the file name for a directory name

mv tonyd/ my_friends/

would move the directory 'tonyd' to the directory 'my_friends'.

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