If I do the usual


Would that take care of the actual deletion of the file as well on node_save?


No, it doesn't. You should use file_delete(). The function will remove the attached file from the database and from the disk.

// Load the node.
$node = node_load('1');
// Get the language for the file field.
$lang = field_language('node', $node, 'myfilefield');
// load the file
$file = file_load($node->myfilefield[$lang][0]['fid']);
// unset the field for the node
// delete file from disk and from database
// Save the node.

The file_delete() also takes a second argument $force that if set to TRUE will remove the file even if it's reported as in use by the file_usage table.

  • Suppose before saving $node I set $node->revision =1 then in this case will the attachment still be deleted?
    – AgA
    Mar 19 '13 at 7:16
  • @Aga - I guess so, if the file was attached to that revision. But, the best way would be to just try it and see how it works. Mar 20 '13 at 8:19
  • I've tried it and it won't delete it.
    – AgA
    Mar 20 '13 at 12:40
  • @Aga - Was the file attached to an earlier revision? In that case I don't think it would be deleted. I will try it when I get a chance. Mar 21 '13 at 10:18
  • 1
    I figured out the problem was after we unset a value, since it is a multi valued field we must reset the array. hence after resetting we should use '$node->file['und'] = array_values($node->file['und'])'. And it works!
    – ruby
    Sep 12 '14 at 18:10

not necessarily call file_delete(), enough:

  • 1
    That will only remove the relation between the file_managed table and your custom image field. It won't remove the file from disk nor will it remove the record in the file_managed table, but thanks for the downvote. Dec 8 '12 at 13:35
  • I checked. File removed from db and filesystem.
    – xandeadx
    Dec 8 '12 at 13:47
  • I tried it and it doesn't work for me. Dec 8 '12 at 14:09

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