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File::Path - Create or remove directory trees


This document describes version 2.12 of File::Path.


use File::Path qw(make_path remove_tree);
@created = make_path('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang');
@created = make_path('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang', {
    verbose => 1,
    mode => 0711,
make_path('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang', {
    chmod => 0777,
$removed_count = remove_tree('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang');
$removed_count = remove_tree('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang', {
    verbose => 1,
    error  => \my $err_list,
# legacy (interface promoted before v2.00)
@created = mkpath('/foo/bar/baz');
@created = mkpath('/foo/bar/baz', 1, 0711);
@created = mkpath(['/foo/bar/baz', 'blurfl/quux'], 1, 0711);
$removed_count = rmtree('foo/bar/baz', 1, 1);
$removed_count = rmtree(['foo/bar/baz', 'blurfl/quux'], 1, 1);
# legacy (interface promoted before v2.06)
@created = mkpath('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang', { verbose => 1, mode => 0711 });
$removed_count = rmtree('foo/bar/baz', '/zug/zwang', { verbose => 1, mode => 0711 });


This module provide a convenient way to create directories of arbitrary depth and to delete an entire directory subtree from the filesystem.

The following functions are provided:


If make_path or remove_tree encounter an error, a diagnostic message will be printed to STDERR via carp (for non-fatal errors), or via croak (for fatal errors).

If this behaviour is not desirable, the error attribute may be used to hold a reference to a variable, which will be used to store the diagnostics. The variable is made a reference to an array of hash references. Each hash contain a single key/value pair where the key is the name of the file, and the value is the error message (including the contents of $! when appropriate). If a general error is encountered the diagnostic key will be empty.

An example usage looks like:

remove_tree( 'foo/bar', 'bar/rat', {error => \my $err} );
if (@$err) {
    for my $diag (@$err) {
        my ($file, $message) = %$diag;
        if ($file eq '') {
            print "general error: $message\n";
        else {
            print "problem unlinking $file: $message\n";
else {
    print "No error encountered\n";

Note that if no errors are encountered, $err will reference an empty array. This means that $err will always end up TRUE; so you need to test @$err to determine if errors occurred.


File::Path blindly exports mkpath and rmtree into the current namespace. These days, this is considered bad style, but to change it now would break too much code. Nonetheless, you are invited to specify what it is you are expecting to use:

use File::Path 'rmtree';

The routines make_path and remove_tree are not exported by default. You must specify which ones you want to use.

use File::Path 'remove_tree';

Note that a side-effect of the above is that mkpath and rmtree are no longer exported at all. This is due to the way the Exporter module works. If you are migrating a codebase to use the new interface, you will have to list everything explicitly. But that's just good practice anyway.

use File::Path qw(remove_tree rmtree);


The API was changed in the 2.0 branch. For a time, mkpath and rmtree tried, unsuccessfully, to deal with the two different calling mechanisms. This approach was considered a failure.

The new semantics are now only available with make_path and remove_tree. The old semantics are only available through mkpath and rmtree. Users are strongly encouraged to upgrade to at least 2.08 in order to avoid surprises.


There were race conditions 1.x implementations of File::Path's rmtree function (although sometimes patched depending on the OS distribution or platform). The 2.0 version contains code to avoid the problem mentioned in CVE-2002-0435.

See the following pages for more information:

Additionally, unless the safe parameter is set (or the third parameter in the traditional interface is TRUE), should a remove_tree be interrupted, files that were originally in read-only mode may now have their permissions set to a read-write (or "delete OK") mode.


FATAL errors will cause the program to halt (croak), since the problem is so severe that it would be dangerous to continue. (This can always be trapped with eval, but it's not a good idea. Under the circumstances, dying is the best thing to do).

SEVERE errors may be trapped using the modern interface. If the they are not trapped, or the old interface is used, such an error will cause the program will halt.

All other errors may be trapped using the modern interface, otherwise they will be carped about. Program execution will not be halted.



The following describes File::Path limitations and how to report bugs.


File::Path rmtree and remove_tree will not work with multithreaded applications due to its use of chdir. At this time, no warning or error results and you will certainly encounter unexpected results.

The implementation that surfaces this limitation may change in a future release.

NFS Mount Points

File::Path is not responsible for triggering the automounts, mirror mounts, and the contents of network mounted filesystems. If your NFS implementation requires an action to be performed on the filesystem in order for File::Path to perform operations, it is strongly suggested you assure filesystem availability by reading the root of the mounted filesystem.


Please report all bugs on the RT queue, either via the web interface:

or by email:

In either case, please attach patches to the bug report rather than including them inline in the web post or the body of the email.

You can also send pull requests to the Github repository:


Paul Szabo identified the race condition originally, and Brendan O'Dea wrote an implementation for Debian that addressed the problem. That code was used as a basis for the current code. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.

Gisle Aas made a number of improvements to the documentation for 2.07 and his advice and assistance is also greatly appreciated.


Prior authors and maintainers: Tim Bunce, Charles Bailey, and David Landgren <>.

Current maintainers are Richard Elberger <> and James (Jim) Keenan <>.


Contributors to File::Path, in alphabetical order.


This module is copyright (C) Charles Bailey, Tim Bunce, David Landgren, James Keenan, and Richard Elberger 1995-2015. All rights reserved.


This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.