mv – Used to Rename Files or Directories

The mv command is used to rename files or directories in Linux. It can also be used to move files or directories from one location to another. This command is essential for managing files and directories in a Linux system.


The syntax for using the mv command is as follows:

mv [OPTION]... [-T] source destination
mv [OPTION]... source... directory
mv [OPTION]... -t directory source...

Here, source refers to the file or directory that needs to be renamed or moved, while destination is the new name for the file or directory. If you want to move the file or directory to a new location, destination should be the path to the new location.


  1. Renaming a file:
mv old_file_name.txt new_file_name.txt

This command will rename old_file_name.txt to new_file_name.txt.

  1. Moving a file to a new directory:
mv file.txt /home/user/new_directory/

This command will move file.txt to the new_directory directory located in the home directory of the user.

  1. Renaming a directory:
mv old_directory_name/ new_directory_name/

This command will rename old_directory_name to new_directory_name.

  1. Moving a directory to a new location:
mv directory/ /home/user/new_location/

This command will move the directory to the new_location directory located in the home directory of the user.


Here is a table of available options for the mv command:

Option Description
-f Force move, even if the destination file already exists
-i Prompt before overwriting a destination file
-v Verbose mode, print the name of each file as it is moved
-n Do not overwrite an existing file
-u Move only when the source file is newer than the destination file
-T Treat the destination as a normal file, even if it is a directory
–help Display help information for the command

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you receive a “Permission denied” error when trying to move a file, make sure you have the necessary permissions to write to the destination directory.
  • If you receive a “No such file or directory” error, double-check that you have entered the correct file or directory name and path.


  • Be careful when using the mv command, as it can overwrite existing files without warning.
  • It is always a good idea to make a backup of important files before renaming or moving them.