I need to find all folders with the name "test" and move all folders along with the files inside up a level to their parent folders:

html/folder1/js/test -> html/folder1/test

html/folder2/js/test -> html/folder2/test

for over 500 folders


You can do this with a for loop in the directory that is the parent of folder1, folder2 etc (the html directory in your example) so first cd to it (replace with the real path:

cd /PATH/TO/html

In this command, if the name of what you want to move is not test then replace test with the real name or use * to move everything:

for dir in ./* ; do mv "$dir"/*/test "$dir"/ ; done

This will move all things named test (and all their contents, if they are directories) in sub-subdirectories of the current working directory to their parent directories but it will not delete the sub-subdirectories themselves (so js in your example, would not be deleted)



├── 15
│   └── rainbow
│       ├── test
│       └── fun


├── 15
│   ├── rainbow
│   └── test
│       └── fun

The command will throw an error for anything that is not a directory with this structure and matching contents, but it still does what you want, so please ignore this, or send the errors away by appending 2>/dev/null

for dir in ./* ; do mv "$dir"/*/test "$dir"/ ; done 2>/dev/null
  • Thank you for your help, but I need a bulk command to move more than 500 folders. – Paulo Rodrigues Jul 18 '16 at 16:42
  • @PauloRodrigues I've now changed my answer completely to do what you want – Zanna Jul 18 '16 at 21:39
find folder* -name 'test' -exec mv {} {}/../.. \;


find folder* Searches in any ./folder* (glob patterns expanded by shell)

-name 'test' for files with name test.

-exec mv {} {}/../.. \; Moves them two levels higher1. {} is replaced with the found name. The -exec option must be terminated with an escaped semicolon. You can do a dry run by adding echo before mv.

1 Why two levels up? If we moved the folder into its parent folder, we’d ask to make it a subfolder of its current superfolder, so it will remain in the current place. However, we want to move it to become a subfolder of the parent’s parent. An expanded command will look like mv folder1/js/test folder1/js/test/../.. which is expanded to mv folder1/js/test folder1.


Execution of this command will issue warnings like:

find: ‘folder1/js/test’: No such file or directory

because it’s trying to search in that folder after it has been moved. This can be silenced by specifying 2> /dev/null.

  • @Zanna Explanation added to the answer. What is happening in your case? – Melebius Jul 19 '16 at 6:59
  • Explanation clear. And it does work, if the target is a directory :) Nice! – Zanna Jul 19 '16 at 7:04

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