TMPWATCH(8)              System Administrator’s Manual             TMPWATCH(8)


       tmpwatch  -  removes  files which haven’t been accessed for a period of


       tmpwatch [-u|-m|-c] [-faqstv] [--verbose] [--force] [--all] [--test]
                      [--fuser] [--atime|--mtime|--ctime] [--quiet]
                      [--exclude <path>] <hours> <dirs>


       tmpwatch recursively removes files which haven’t been  accessed  for  a
       given  number  of  hours.  Normally,  it’s used to clean up directories
       which are used for temporary holding space such as /tmp.

       When changing directories, tmpwatch is very sensitive to possible  race
       conditions  and will exit with an error if one is detected. It does not
       follow symbolic links in the directories it’s cleaning (even if a  sym-
       bolic  link  is  given  as  its argument), will not switch filesystems,
       skips lost+found directories owned by the root user, and  only  removes
       empty directories and regular files.

       By  default,  tmpwatch  dates  files  by their atime (access time), not
       their mtime (modification time). If files aren’t being removed when  ls
       -l  implies  they should be, use ls -u to examine their atime to see if
       that explains the problem.

       If the --atime, --ctime or --mtime options are used in combination, the
       decision  about  deleting  a file will be based on the maximum of these

       The hours parameter defines the threshold for removing  files.  If  the
       file  has not been accessed for hours hours, the file is removed.  Fol-
       lowing this, one or more directories may be given for tmpwatch to clean


       -u, --atime
              Make  the  decision  about  deleting  a file based on the file’s
              atime (access time). This is the default.

       -m, --mtime
              Make the decision about deleting a  file  based  on  the  file’s
              mtime (modification time) instead of the atime.

       -c, --ctime
              Make  the  decision  about  deleting  a file based on the file’s
              ctime (inode change time) instead of the atime; for directories,
              make the decision based on the mtime.

       -a, --all
              Remove all file types, not just regular files and directories.

       -d, --nodirs
              Do not attempt to remove directories, even if they are empty.

       -f, --force
              Remove  files even if root doesn’t have write access (akin to rm

       -t, --test
              Doesn’t remove files, but goes through the motions  of  removing
              them. This implies -v.

       -s, --fuser
              Attempt  to  use the "fuser" command to see if a file is already
              open before removing it.  Not enabled by default.   Does help in
              some  circumstances,  but  not  all.   Dependent  on fuser being
              installed in /sbin.  Not supported on HP-UX or Solaris.

       -v, --verbose
              Print a verbose display. Two levels of verboseness are available
              -- use this option twice to get the most verbose output.

       -x, --exclude=path
              Skip  absolute path; if path is a directory, all files contained
              in it are skipped too.  The directories to clean up must also be
              absolute paths.


       cron(1), ls(1), rm(1), fuser(1)


       GNU-style long options are not supported on HP-UX.


       Erik Troan <>
       Preston Brown <>
       Nalin Dahyabhai <>
       Miloslav Trmac <>

4th Berkeley Distribution       Tue Dec 21 2004                    TMPWATCH(8)

Man(1) output converted with man2html