In my parent directory I have 78,160 files.
File names are: sb_604_dpm_0089000.dpx, sb_604_0089001.dpx etc.

I want to move the files to 4 sub directories subdir1, subdir2, subdir3, subdir4. There must be exactly 20,000 files in each directory in sequential order.

Is it to possible to move a certain range of files from the parent directory to the sub-directories i.e., sb_604_dpm_0089000.dpx to sb_604_dpm_0108,999.dpx files to subdir1 sb_604_dpm_0109000.dpx to sb_604_dpm_0128,999.dpx files to subdir2 etc.

The final folder will only contain the remaining files after the first 60,000.

All of these should be done using a batch file, ideally being able to specify/check the range before the move proceeds. Is this possible?

In DOS I would probably be able to work this out for myself writing a batch file, but with Linux I'm a little lost... I'm not a programmer, I'm just a linux user looking for faster/better ways to do this rather than the GUI, so any help appreciated. Please keep it as simple as possible!

Thanks in advance!

  • I will write you a quick script... one sec May 11, 2018 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


If it's a one-time task, you could use shell expansion like so:

mkdir subdir1 subdir2 subdir3 subdir4
mv sb_604_dpm_{0089000..0108999}.dpx subdir1
mv sb_604_dpm_{0109000..0128999}.dpx subdir2
mv sb_604_dpm_{0129000..0148999}.dpx subdir3
mv sb_604_dpm_*.dpx                  subdir4

{1..5} expands to 1 2 3 4 5, so the above commands expand to the first/second/third 20,000 files, and the last line handles the rest.

  • That was quick - thank-you PerlDuck!
    – rich
    May 11, 2018 at 18:45
  • +1 because OP will be more likely to understand it than something more fancy. May 11, 2018 at 21:05

Something like this little script should do it for you:



if [ ! -d "folder$folder" ]; then
   mkdir "folder$folder"

for i in "${files[@]}"
   mv "$i" "folder$folder"
   let count=$count+1
   if [ "$count" == "20000" ]; then
      let count=0
      let folder=$folder+1
      if [ ! -d "folder$folder" ]; then
        mkdir "folder$folder"

Put script into a file inside of the folder with the files you want to move (eg folder in your home folder named "my-files") and name the file "move". Then from the command line:

$ cd ~/my-files
$ chmod 755 move
$ ./move
  • +1 Because this is way more flexible than my hardcoded suggestion. It might be a bit slow because mv is called 78,160 times (instead of 4 times). But an old rule says: don't optimize before profiling.
    – PerlDuck
    May 11, 2018 at 18:15
  • Out of curiosity I just measured: 1) create 20k files: touch sb_604_dpm_{0089000..0108999}.dpx 2) move one by one: time for i in sb_604_dpm_{0089000..0108999}.dpx; do mv $i subdir1/; done gives 25 seconds. 3) move all at once: time mv sb_604_dpm_{0089000..0108999}.dpx subdir1/ gives 0.4 seconds. But still: If it's a one-time task I wouldn't care. I just spent more time diagnosing than it actually took.
    – PerlDuck
    May 11, 2018 at 18:30
  • 1
    This is def not the fastest solution, but it works ;) May 11, 2018 at 18:31
  • Thank-you Joshua. Sorry to ask a basic question, but how do I implement that script...? In DOS I just used to save it as a batch file and double click - what is the Linux equivalent?
    – rich
    May 11, 2018 at 18:47

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