How to Remove a Symbolic Link to a Directory in Linux

In Linux, symbolic links (symlinks) are pointers or shortcuts to files or directories. Removing a symlink to a directory involves deleting the symbolic link itself without affecting the actual target directory. This guide will walk you through the process of removing a symbolic link to a directory using command-line tools in Linux.

Understanding Symbolic Links

Symbolic links are files that act as pointers to another file or directory. They are commonly used to create shortcuts or references to files and directories in different locations on the filesystem.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Identify the Symbolic Link

First, you need to identify the symbolic link you want to remove. You can do this by using the ls -l command, which lists detailed information about files and directories, including whether they are symbolic links.

ls -l /path/to/symlink

Replace /path/to/symlink with the actual path to your symbolic link.

2. Remove the Symbolic Link

Once you have identified the symlink, use the rm command followed by the symlink’s path to delete it.

rm /path/to/symlink

For example, if the symbolic link is located at /home/user/mylink, you would use:

rm /home/user/mylink


Let’s say you have a symbolic link named mylink in your home directory pointing to /opt/myapp. Here’s how you would remove it:

$ ls -l ~/mylink
lrwxrwxrwx 1 user user 8 Jun 19 16:00 mylink -> /opt/myapp

$ rm ~/mylink


To ensure the symbolic link has been successfully removed, you can use ls -l again to verify its absence:

ls -l /path/to/symlink

If the symlink no longer exists, ls will return a message indicating that the file does not exist.


  • Deleting the Target: Removing a symbolic link does not delete the target directory or file it points to. It only deletes the link itself.
  • Permissions: You may need appropriate permissions to delete a symbolic link, especially if it resides in directories where you don’t have write permissions.


Removing a symbolic link to a directory in Linux is a straightforward process using the rm command. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can efficiently manage symbolic links, declutter your filesystem, and ensure accurate file and directory referencing in your Linux environment.

With this knowledge, you have the necessary skills to handle symbolic links effectively, maintaining clarity and organization within your filesystem.