TOPS-20 Commands Reference Manual


Permanently erases all the deleted files from a directory.


@EXPUNGE (DIRECTORY) dev:<directory>,


dev:<directory> is the name of the directory you wish to expunge; you may use wildcard characters to expunge more than one directory.
Default dev: your connected structure
Default <directory> the directory (on the specified structure) of the same name as your connected directory
Default (if no arguments are given) your connected directory
@@subcommand means that after a final comma you can give one or more optional subcommands on successive lines.
DELETE deletes and expunges temporary files (those with the Temporary (;T) attribute) created by some system programs to hold interim data. Do not use if you will have any further need of these files.
PURGE expunges all files which you have opened but not closed.
REBUILD rebuilds the symbol table of the directory named.


After a successful EXPUNGE command, the system reports the number of disk pages freed with the message [n pages freed]. If deleted files are mapped, they will not be expunged, and so will not contribute to the number of pages freed. Occasionally the system will report a negative number. This can mean that files were being written in the directory during the EXPUNGE, or (especially if you include the REBUILD subcommand) that previous computations of directory size had not adequately accounted for some files, for example, files written near the time of a system crash and reload.


Using the REBUILD Subcommand

The REBUILD subcommand is not needed under usual conditions, as the system performs this action automatically. Use REBUILD if a message is printed on your terminal advising you to rebuild the symbol table of a directory.

Using the PURGE Subcommand

The PURGE subcommand is useful chiefly for removing the remains of files that were being created at the time of a system crash or a structure dismount. Do not give it while anyone might be using the directory, because that user's program might be deprived of necessary files as a result.

Cannot CTRL/C

You cannot use <CTRL/C> to interrupt an EXPUNGE once it is started.

Special Cases

Files With the "Permanent" Attribute

The system erases only the contents of any files that have the Permanent attribute, for example your MAIL.TXT file, when you try to expunge them. The file specifications of permanent files remain among your deleted files, and cannot be removed by TOPS-20 commands.

Related Commands

DELETE for marking files to be later expunged
DIRECTORY-class commands for obtaining lists of file specifications
INFORMATION DISK-USAGE for finding out the size of a directory
UNDELETE for recovering deleted files


  1. Expunge all deleted files from your directory.
     PS:<LATTA> [6 pages freed]
  2. Find out how much of your disk space is in use and how much is occupied by deleted files. Delete some of your backup files, then give the EXPUNGE command to erase all of these.
     154 Pages assigned, 101 in use, 53 deleted
     590 Working pages, 590 Permanent pages allowed
     33371 Pages free on PS:
    @DELETE *.Q*
     BLUE.QAR.1 [OK]
     REMARK.QXT.1 [OK]
     PS:<LATTA> [56 pages freed]