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The way to Delete a File or Folder in Python


Introduction

On this Byte we’ll be exploring the right way to delete information and folders in Python. It is a widespread job in lots of programming and scripting contexts, particularly in areas like information cleansing, momentary file elimination, and even when working with file-based databases. You may have to deal with file deletion rigorously as an error may cause information loss, which is usually irreversible.

To point out how to do that, we’ll be utilizing built-in Python modules like os and shutil for this job. So, if you’re acquainted with primary Python syntax and file operations, you are good to go!

Deleting a File in Python

Deleting a file in Python is pretty simple to do. Let’s focus on two strategies to perform this job utilizing completely different Python modules.

Utilizing the ‘os’ Module

The os module in Python offers a way referred to as os.take away() that can be utilized to delete a file. This is a easy instance:

import os

# specify the file identify
file_name = "test_file.txt"

# delete the file
os.take away(file_name)

Within the above instance, we first import the os module. Then, we specify the identify of the file to be deleted. Lastly, we name os.take away() with the file identify because the parameter to delete the file.

Notice: The os.take away() perform can solely delete information, not directories. For those who attempt to delete a listing utilizing this perform, you may get a IsADirectoryError.

Utilizing the ‘shutil’ Module

The shutil module, brief for “shell utilities”, additionally offers a way to delete information – shutil.rmtree(). However why use shutil when os can do the job? Properly, shutil can delete an entire listing tree (i.e., a listing and all its subdirectories). Let’s examine the right way to delete a file with shutil.

import shutil

# specify the file identify
file_name = "test_file.txt"

# delete the file
shutil.rmtree(file_name)

The code appears fairly just like the os instance, proper? That is one of many nice elements of Python’s design – consistency throughout modules. Nonetheless, do not forget that shutil.rmtree() is extra highly effective and may take away non-empty directories as nicely, which we’ll have a look at extra intently in a later part.

Deleting a Folder in Python

Shifting on to the subject of listing deletion, we will once more use the os and shutil modules to perform this job. Right here we’ll discover each strategies.

Utilizing the ‘os’ Module

The os module in Python offers a way referred to as os.rmdir() that enables us to delete an empty listing. This is how you should use it:

import os

# specify the listing you need to delete
folder_path = "/path/to/your/listing"

# delete the listing
os.rmdir(folder_path)

The os.rmdir() methodology solely deletes empty directories. If the listing just isn’t empty, you may encounter an OSError: [Errno 39] Listing not empty error.

Utilizing the ‘shutil’ Module

In case you need to delete a listing that is not empty, you should use the shutil.rmtree() methodology from the shutil module.

import shutil

# specify the listing you need to delete
folder_path = "/path/to/your/listing"

# delete the listing
shutil.rmtree(folder_path)

The shutil.rmtree() methodology deletes a listing and all its contents, so use it cautiously!

Wait! At all times double-check the listing path earlier than operating the deletion code. You do not need to by chance delete necessary information or directories!

Frequent Errors

When coping with file and listing operations in Python, it’s normal to come across a couple of particular errors. Understanding these errors is necessary to dealing with them gracefully and making certain your code continues to run easily.

PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied

One widespread error you may encounter when making an attempt to delete a file or folder is the PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied. This error happens if you try and delete a file or folder that your Python script does not have the mandatory permissions for.

This is an instance of what this may appear to be:

import os

attempt:
    os.take away("/root/check.txt")
besides PermissionError:
    print("Permission denied")

On this instance, we’re making an attempt to delete a file within the root listing, which usually requires administrative privileges. When run, this code will output Permission denied.

To keep away from this error, guarantee your script has the mandatory permissions to carry out the operation. This may contain operating your script as an administrator, or modifying the permissions of the file or folder you are making an attempt to delete.

FileNotFoundError: [Errno 2] No such file or listing

One other widespread error is the FileNotFoundError: [Errno 2] No such file or listing. This error is thrown if you try and delete a file or folder that does not exist.

This is how this may look:

import os

attempt:
    os.take away("nonexistent_file.txt")
besides FileNotFoundError:
    print("File not discovered")

On this instance, we’re making an attempt to delete a file that does not exist, so Python throws a FileNotFoundError.

To keep away from this, you’ll be able to verify if the file or folder exists earlier than making an attempt to delete it, like so:

import os

if os.path.exists("check.txt"):
    os.take away("check.txt")
else:
    print("File not discovered")

OSError: [Errno 39] Listing not empty

The OSError: [Errno 39] Listing not empty error happens if you attempt to delete a listing that is not empty utilizing os.rmdir().

As an illustration:

import os

attempt:
    os.rmdir("my_directory")
besides OSError:
    print("Listing not empty")

This error could be prevented by making certain the listing is empty earlier than making an attempt to delete it, or through the use of shutil.rmtree(), which might delete a listing and all its contents:

import shutil

shutil.rmtree("my_directory")

Comparable Options and Use-Instances

Python’s file and listing deletion capabilities could be utilized in a wide range of use-cases past merely deleting particular person information or folders.

Deleting Information with Particular Extensions

Think about you will have a listing filled with information, and you have to delete solely these with a particular file extension, say .txt. Python, with its versatile libraries, may help you do that with ease. The os and glob modules are your pals right here.

import os
import glob

# Specify the file extension
extension = "*.txt"

# Specify the listing
listing = "/path/to/listing/"

# Mix the listing with the extension
information = os.path.be a part of(listing, extension)

# Loop over the information and delete them
for file in glob.glob(information):
    os.take away(file)

This script will delete all .txt information within the specified listing. The glob module is used to retrieve information/pathnames matching a specified sample. Right here, the sample is all information ending with .txt.

Deleting Empty Directories

Have you ever ever discovered your self with a bunch of empty directories that you simply need to eliminate? Python’s os module may help you right here as nicely.

import os

# Specify the listing
listing = "/path/to/listing/"

# Use listdir() to verify if listing is empty
if not os.listdir(listing):
    os.rmdir(listing)

The os.listdir(listing) perform returns an inventory containing the names of the entries within the listing given by path. If the record is empty, it means the listing is empty, and we will safely delete it utilizing os.rmdir(listing).

Notice: os.rmdir(listing) can solely delete empty directories. If the listing just isn’t empty, you may get an OSError: [Errno 39] Listing not empty error.

Conclusion

On this Byte, we explored the right way to delete information and folders. We additionally noticed different comparable use instances, like deleting information with particular extensions, empty directories, and nested directories utilizing Python. We leveraged the facility of the os, glob, and shutil modules to do these duties.

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