How Do I Remove a Symbolic Link in Linux?

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A symbolic link, also known as symlink, is a file that points to another file. The file points to can be in the same or different directory. It is similar to the shortcuts in Windows OS.

In today’s post, we will be describing how to remove a symbolic link in Linux. Note that removing a symbolic link does not affect the file it points to.

Before removing a file, you can verify whether it is a symbolic link using the ls -l command. It will also show you the file or directory that it points to.

The l in permissions (lrwxrwxrwx) confirms that it’s a symbolic link.

The unlink command is used for removing a single file from the file system. To remove a symbolic link in Linux, type the unlink command followed by the name of the symbolic link and hit Enter:

$ sudo unlink symbolic_link

Replace symbolic_link with the name of the symbolic link you want to remove. After that, you can use the ls -l command to confirm if the symlink has been removed.

Remove a symlink that points to a directory, don’t use the slash after the directory name. Let’ say we want to remove a symbolic link directory named Docs, as shown in the following screenshot:

The command to remove the symlink directory will be:

The rm command can also be used to remove a symbolic link. For removing a symbolic link in Linux, type the rm command followed by the name of the symbolic link and hit Enter:

After that, you can use the ls -l command to confirm if the symlink has been removed.

You can also use the -i flag with the rm command to prompt for confirmation.

Removing a symlink that points to a directory, don’t use the slash after the directory name. Let’ say we want to remove a symbolic link directory named Docs, as shown in the following screenshot:

The command to remove the symlink directory will be:

After that, you can use the ls -l command to confirm if the symlink has been removed.

That is all there is to it! You have learned to remove a symbolic link in Linux OS using the unlink and rm command in this post. While removing a symbolic link, make sure only to remove the symbolic link itself, not the file or directory it is linking to.

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