IO error encountered - skipping file deletion

Tim Conway conway at
Mon Jun 21 17:08:30 GMT 2004

That is a safety mechanism.  If there was an error, the lists may be in 
error, and a deletion may take out a whole lot more than you want. Picture 
getting permissions on a large section of the source directory messed up 
so the rsync process can't see into them.  The send list now does not 
include everything down there, but it can be seen, and deleted, on the 
destination.  Generally, users would prefer to rectify the problems on the 
source end and re-run the sync, rather than losing large quantities on the 
destination end.
This safety mechanism can be overridden, by the "--ignore-errors" flag. If 
you're taking the default --delete behaviour, wherein it deletes before 
the transfer (can be overridden by "--delete-after"), these errors are in 
the filelist generation stage, not problems of insufficient space, or 
dropped connection.  If you do, in fact, have a place you can't read on 
the destination or source, and it should be that way, exclude it.  That 
way, it won't hit it and error, so you can both run your sync with 
deletes, and still have it try not to ruin your life over a little 

Tim Conway
Unix System Administration
Contractor - IBM Global Services
conway at


"receiving file list ... 
96 files to consider
IO error encountered - skipping file deletion
wrote 101 bytes  read 2047 bytes  1432.00 bytes/sec
total size is 107673960  speedup is 50127.54
rsync error: partial transfer (code 23) at main.c(926)"

Why can't delete files?
Thank you!

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