Delete All Files in a Subversion Working Copy


You want to remove all the files in your subversion working copy but you do not want to remove the folder structure.


I have had to do this when upgrading an application from Rails 1.x to Rails 2.0. The file structure of my project changed significantly enough that I just moved everything out to a non-working copy to do the work. When I started to move the work back in there were a lot of files/folders that had changed.

Rather than work through the manual process of moving files in svn it's sometimes easier to just start from a new point in time within the same repository. In that case you want to:

  1. remove all the files in your current working copy yet preserve the folder structure for SVN
  2. move all the new files into your working copy and commit those changes
  3. clean up any new/missing files and folders.



From the command line run:

find . -not \( -name '.svn' -type d -prune \) -type f -print | xargs rm 

This says....

find from the current directory (find .)
...ignoring files in a directory called '.svn' (-not ( -name '.svn' -type d -prune ))
...any file (-type f)
...and delete it (-print lists the files and xargs rm removes any file in that list)

oddly enough the following _will_ list out the same as above...

find . -type d -name '.svn' -prune -o -type f -print
but -delete is invoked with -depth implied so you will end up deleting required svn files if you run

find . -type d -name '.svn' -prune -o -type f -print


This is easier from the UI with your favorite search tool. I use Directory Opus so from the advanced tab specify Location to not match .svn and type matches files only.

Any other good ideas for this on Windows?

Comments (1)

For Windows: Directory Opus has a good built-in find utility. A free alternative is Agent Ransack:

Posted over 6 years ago