rm cannot remove file device or resource busy

Learn how to handle the “rm cannot remove file device or resource busy” error in Linux and Unix systems. Find out what causes this error and explore different methods to resolve it.

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The tool you want is lsof, which stands for list open files.

It has a lot of options, so check the man page, but if you want to see all open files under a directory:

lsof +D /path

That will recurse through the filesystem under /path, so beware doing it on large directory trees.

Once you know which processes have files open, you can exit those apps, or kill them with the kill(1) command.


rm, remove file, device or resource busy, Linux, Unix, error handling, troubleshooting

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