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This is my first time trying to work with Linux Scripts so this may be something obvious.

Here is what I am trying to do:

  1. Remove all contents from local folder - rm /home/user/Documents/Exercise/
  2. Copy files from a shared windows network drive - cp smb://server/arc/Exercise%20Files/Word/

So from my understanding my command should look like this

  rm /home/user/Documents/Exercise/
  cp smb://server/arc/Exercise%20Files/Word/ /home/user/Documents/Exercise/

But anytime I try and run either of the above commands I get the following error:

  "rm: cannot remove `/home/user/Documents/Exercise/': Is a directory"
  "cp: cannot stat `smb://server/arc/Exercise%20Files/Word/': No such file or directory"

What am I doing wrong?

Kind Regards,



I now have the rm function working yet am still troubled by the cp function. To ensure it is not an issue with the spaces in the folder names I have renamed the folders on the share so it now reads: //server/Arc/ExerciseFiles/*

I have mounted the folder so I (assume) no longer need the smb://. It currently reads: cp -rfv /home/user/Documents/ExerciseShare/ExerciseFiles/Word/ /home/user/Documents/Exercise/


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

No your commands should look like following

  rm -rfv /home/user/Documents/Exercise/*

because folder Exercise can have subdirectories

and in case of a samba share first you have to mount it locally


mount -t smbfs smb://"server/arc/Exercise Files/Word/" /mnt 

and then do

 cp /mnt /home/user/Documents/Exercise/
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if there are blank spaces in your directory names I feel they probably are causing the problem so you can do some thing like quoting the names in double quotes "" – Registered User Mar 20 '13 at 4:32
OP updated. rm command resolved thankyou. Still issues with cp. – Mitchell Mar 20 '13 at 4:39
can you post exactly what are the error messages and what are the commands you execute for cp… – Registered User Mar 20 '13 at 4:42
sudo apt-get install smbfs This will install the samba filesystem package on your system, simply re-run the mount command when you’ve got this package – Registered User Mar 20 '13 at 4:46
I think it must have been the %20 in the originals. I restarted the machine and used the exact same command and it worked! – Mitchell Mar 20 '13 at 4:47

You have to use the "minus r" flag or -r

rm -r


cp -r

This will copy or delete recursively into folders or files within files.

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