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GNU coreutils 8.32
March 2020


The basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities of the GNU operating system


coreutils common optional components


Documentation for the GNU Core Utilities


shred - overwrite a file to hide its contents, and optionally delete it


shred [\,OPTION\/]... \,FILE\/...


Overwrite the specified FILE(s) repeatedly, in order to make it harder for even very expensive hardware probing to recover the data.
If FILE is -, shred standard output.
Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
-f, --force
change permissions to allow writing if necessary
-n, --iterations=\,N\/
overwrite N times instead of the default (3)
get random bytes from FILE
-s, --size=\,N\/
shred this many bytes (suffixes like K, M, G accepted)
-u deallocate and remove file after overwriting
like -u but give control on HOW to delete; See below
-v, --verbose
show progress
-x, --exact
do not round file sizes up to the next full block;
this is the default for non-regular files
-z, --zero add a final overwrite with zeros to hide shredding
--help display this help and exit
output version information and exit
Delete FILE(s) if --remove (-u) is specified. The default is not to remove the files because it is common to operate on device files like \,/dev/hda\/, and those files usually should not be removed. The optional HOW parameter indicates how to remove a directory entry: ’unlink’ => use a standard unlink call. ’wipe’ => also first obfuscate bytes in the name. ’wipesync’ => also sync each obfuscated byte to disk. The default mode is ’wipesync’, but note it can be expensive.
CAUTION: shred assumes the file system and hardware overwrite data in place. Although this is common, many platforms operate otherwise. Also, backups and mirrors may contain unremovable copies that will let a shredded file be recovered later. See the GNU coreutils manual for details.


Written by Colin Plumb.


GNU coreutils online help: <>
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Copyright © 2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info \(aq(coreutils) shred invocation\(aq
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