Remove everything in a directory except the archive you just unpacked

Written by James McDonald

October 2, 2013

Just unpacked a zip file named CAT.zip and it exploded into hundreds of files and directories.

This is what I did to get rid of the contents of the extracted archive excepting the archive itself.

Warning: Don’t do this in directory that has many files you want to keep

# delete everything except a single file
ls -1 | grep -v CAT.zip | xargs rm -rf

# delete everything except multiple files

ls -1  | grep -v -e 'CAT.zip' -e 'skip.txt' | xargs rm -rf

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