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MV(1) BSD General Commands Manual MV(1)
mv -- move files
mv [-fiv] source target
mv [-fiv] source ... directory
In its first form, the mv utility renames the file named by the source operand to the desti-
nation path named by the target operand. This form is assumed when the last operand does
not name an already existing directory.
In its second form, mv moves each file named by a source operand to a destination file in
the existing directory named by the directory operand. The destination path for each oper-
and is the pathname produced by the concatenation of the last operand, a slash, and the
final pathname component of the named file.
The following options are available:
-f Do not prompt for confirmation before overwriting the destination path.
-i Causes mv to write a prompt to standard error before moving a file that would over-
write an existing file. If the response from the standard input begins with the char-
acter ``y'', the move is attempted.
-v Cause mv to be verbose, showing files as they are processed.
The last of any -f or -i options is the one which affects mv's behavior.
It is an error for any of the source operands to specify a nonexistent file or directory.
It is an error for the source operand to specify a directory if the target exists and is not
If the destination path does not have a mode which permits writing, mv prompts the user for
confirmation as specified for the -i option.
Should the rename(2) call fail because source and target are on different file systems, mv
will remove the destination file, copy the source file to the destination, and then remove
the source. The effect is roughly equivalent to:
rm -f destination_path && \
cp -PRp source_file destination_path && \
rm -rf source_file
The mv utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
cp(1), rename(2), symlink(7)
The mv utility is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') compatible.
The -v option is an extension to IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'').
BSD December 26, 2002 BSD
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