rsync ignores --force and will not delete non-empty directories from destination (HFS+ -> FAT32)

Matt McCutchen matt at
Mon Mar 9 05:08:37 GMT 2009

On Mon, 2009-03-02 at 15:46 +0000, Simon Brown wrote:
> My scenario: I am trying to rsync from an external HFS+ (USB2) to a 
> FAT32 external NAS drive, using rsync version 2.6.9  protocol version 29 
> (as supplied with Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11). The data being synced is MP3 
> music files and JPGs.
> The command I am issuing within my script is:
>        rsync -ruxi "$sourcedir" "$destdir" \
>         --size-only --force --log-file="$synclog" --stats --delete 
> --modify-window=2 --out-format="%i %n%L (%b)" $* >>"$logfn" 2>&1
> The issue is that the sync works almost as expected, but fails to delete 
> non-empty directories at the destination that no longer exist at the 
> source. Running rsync with -n (dry-run) shows that extraneous 
> directories will be deleted, but when I omit -n, only the empty 
> directories are listed for deletion (and deleted).

I can't help with the Apple-modified rsync.  In addition, that area of
rsync's behavior underwent some improvements in version 3.0.0:

Please try the latest stable rsync, 3.0.5, which you can compile
yourself or get from Fink or MacPorts among other places.

> I am unsure whether I should be using -u, --size-only and 
> --modify-window together, though I do not see a connection between those 
> options and the failure to delete.

That combination of options does seem odd (though unrelated to the
deletion).  What are you trying to accomplish?


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