Linux Command to Rename a File

This simple article shows how to rename a file on a Linux machine. For this, we are going to use CentOS, but you can run this command on any Unix distro.

In this article, we are going to use the `mv` command to rename a file. This command is not only used to rename a file but also to move a file to a different location on a Linux machine.

The “mv” command is part of the Coreutils package.

Linux Command to Rename a File

Linux Command to Rename a File

Now, let’s see how to rename a file using the Linux command ‘mv’.

For this tutorial, we are first creating a file called hello.txt and then will rename it to hello_world.txt. You can find the syntax of the mv command below to rename a file.


mv source_file new_name 


[opc@cent tutorial]$ echo "Hello, world" > hello.txt
[opc@cent tutorial]$ 
[opc@cent tutorial]$ mv hello.txt hello_world.txt

Does “mv” command overwrites a file while renaming?

Yes, that’s true!

If you want to rename a file to a name that is already present in the same directory, mv will replace the file without confirming.

To avoid overwriting a file while using the “mv” command on Linux system always use “-i” option like the below:

$ mv -i hello_linux.txt hello_world.txt 
mv: overwrite ‘hello_world.txt’? n

Note: You can also use the “-n” option, but it will not prompt anything and will not overwrite the file if already present.

This was a basic Linux command to rename a file. We have other tools too to rename a file like the “rename” command, but we will discuss that in our next tutorial. You can also check this guide on Linux Commands Cheat Sheet.

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