Rsync --delete does not work

Granzow, Doug (NCI) granzowd at
Tue Jul 23 12:35:01 EST 2002

Try adding -v to your rsync command to get more verbose output, perhaps
giving you an idea why --delete is not working as expected.  --delete works
for me, but there are situations where rsync will ignore --delete for safety
(such as if certain errors occur).

Also, remember that "*" is expanded by your shell, before rsync sees the
command line.  So if your /data/transfer contained files "a", "b", "c", and
"d", and you deleted "c", rsync would see your command line as:

rsync -a --delete a b d /data/exp_dir

In other words, you've told rsync not to sync "c", so it would have no
reason to delete it at the destination directory.  Try using "." instead of
"*" to get more reliable results.


-----Original Message-----
From: g dm [mailto:gdm2002 at] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 11:55 AM
To: rsync at
Subject: Rsync --delete does not work


I just started to use rsync & samba to backup some windows NT & 98 shared
directories to a linux machine

linux: debian 2.2.4
rsync: 2.2.5
samba: 2.2.3a-6

I first mount the windows directory on the linux and then do a 
local rsync.

---command on linux
umount /data/transfer
mount -t smbfs -o username=user,password=passwd //ntserver/exp_dir 

cd /data/transfer

rsync -a --delete * /data/exp_dir

umount /data/transfer

this works fine, except for deleted files. Files that got deleted on the 
windows remain on the linux side, even after repeated rsync's

This is what the --delete option is supposed to do.

I've tested this several times. the samba mount show the correct state, 
i.e. without the deleted files. Rsync does not notice they're gone.

I've seen/read a lot of posts in the google archives concerning this
option. Most of them came from this mailing list. They all seem to suggest
it really should work.

So, what did I do wrong?

best regards

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