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Java Programming: Recursively Deleting a Directory with Its Subdirectories and Files

In this concise guide, you will discover how to delete a directory recursively, including all its subdirectories and files.

We will explore two examples that illustrate how to accomplish this task effectively. The underlying concept in both examples involves traversing the file tree, deleting the files within each directory before proceeding to delete the directory itself.

Delete directory recursively – Java 8+

This example makes use of Files.walk(Path) method that returns a Stream<Path> populated with Path objects by walking the file-tree in depth-first order.

import java.io.IOException;
import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.util.Comparator;

public class DeleteDirectoryRecursively {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws IOException {
        Path dir = Paths.get("java");

        // Traverse the file tree in depth-first fashion and delete each file/directory.
        Files.walk(dir)
                .sorted(Comparator.reverseOrder())
                .forEach(path -> {
                    try {
                        System.out.println("Deleting: " + path);
                        Files.delete(path);
                    } catch (IOException e) {
                        e.printStackTrace();
                    }
                });
    }
}

Delete directory recursively – Java 7

The following example uses Files.walkFileTree(Path, FileVisitor) method that traverses a file tree and invokes the supplied FileVisitor for each file.

We use a SimpleFileVisitor to perform the delete operation.

import java.io.IOException;
import java.nio.file.*;
import java.nio.file.attribute.BasicFileAttributes;

public class DeleteDirectoryRecursively1 {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws IOException {
        Path dir = Paths.get("java");

        // Traverse the file tree and delete each file/directory.
        Files.walkFileTree(dir, new SimpleFileVisitor<Path>() {
            @Override
            public FileVisitResult visitFile(Path file, BasicFileAttributes attrs) throws IOException {
                System.out.println("Deleting file: " + file);
                Files.delete(file);
                return FileVisitResult.CONTINUE;
            }

            @Override
            public FileVisitResult postVisitDirectory(Path dir, IOException exc) throws IOException {
                System.out.println("Deleting dir: " + dir);
                if (exc == null) {
                    Files.delete(dir);
                    return FileVisitResult.CONTINUE;
                } else {
                    throw exc;
                }
            }
        });
    }
}

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