How one can Delete a File or Folder in Python

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Introduction

On this Byte we’ll be exploring find out how to delete information and folders in Python. It is a frequent activity in lots of programming and scripting contexts, particularly in areas like information cleansing, non permanent file elimination, and even when working with file-based databases. You will must deal with file deletion fastidiously as an error could 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 activity. So, in case you are accustomed to 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 activity utilizing totally different Python modules.

Utilizing the ‘os’ Module

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

import os

# specify the file title
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 title of the file to be deleted. Lastly, we name os.take away() with the file title because the parameter to delete the file.

Word: The os.take away() operate can solely delete information, not directories. If you happen to attempt to delete a listing utilizing this operate, you will get a IsADirectoryError.

Utilizing the ‘shutil’ Module

The shutil module, quick for “shell utilities”, additionally supplies a technique 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 find out how to delete a file with shutil.

import shutil

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

# delete the file
shutil.rmtree(file_name)

The code seems to be fairly much like the os instance, proper? That is one of many nice components of Python’s design – consistency throughout modules. Nonetheless, keep in mind that shutil.rmtree() is extra highly effective and may take away non-empty directories as effectively, which we’ll have a look at extra carefully in a later part.

Deleting a Folder in Python

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

Utilizing the ‘os’ Module

The os module in Python supplies a technique known as os.rmdir() that enables us to delete an empty listing. This is how you need to use it:

import os

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

# delete the listing
os.rmdir(folder_path)

The os.rmdir() technique solely deletes empty directories. If the listing is just not empty, you will encounter an OSError: [Errno 39] Listing not empty error.

Utilizing the ‘shutil’ Module

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

import shutil

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

# delete the listing
shutil.rmtree(folder_path)

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

Wait! All the time double-check the listing path earlier than working the deletion code. You do not wish to by chance delete essential information or directories!

Widespread Errors

When coping with file and listing operations in Python, it is common to come across a number of particular errors. Understanding these errors is essential to dealing with them gracefully and guaranteeing your code continues to run easily.

PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied

One frequent error you would possibly encounter when attempting to delete a file or folder is the PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied. This error happens once 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 would possibly seem like:

import os

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

On this instance, we’re attempting 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 would possibly contain working your script as an administrator, or modifying the permissions of the file or folder you are attempting to delete.

FileNotFoundError: [Errno 2] No such file or listing

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

This is how this would possibly look:

import os

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

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

To keep away from this, you possibly can examine if the file or folder exists earlier than attempting 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 once you attempt to delete a listing that is not empty utilizing os.rmdir().

For example:

import os

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

This error may be averted by guaranteeing the listing is empty earlier than attempting to delete it, or by utilizing shutil.rmtree(), which may delete a listing and all its contents:

import shutil

shutil.rmtree("my_directory")

Related Options and Use-Instances

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

Deleting Information with Particular Extensions

Think about you might have a listing stuffed with information, and it is advisable delete solely these with a selected file extension, say .txt. Python, with its versatile libraries, can assist you do that with ease. The os and glob modules are your folks 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 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 just wish to eliminate? Python’s os module can assist you right here as effectively.

import os

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

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

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

Word: os.rmdir(listing) can solely delete empty directories. If the listing is just not empty, you will get an OSError: [Errno 39] Listing not empty error.

Conclusion

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

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