Many newcomers find it difficult use the find command at shell prompt under Linux. Find is nifty tool on remote server where UNIX admin can find out lot of information too. Find command can perform a search based on a variety of search constraints. It searches through one or more directory tree(s) of a filesystem, locating files based on some user-specified criteria. By default, find returns all files below the current working directory. Further, find allows the user to specify an action to be taken on each matched file. Thus, it is an extremely powerful program for applying actions to many files. It also supports regexp matching.
Find command examples
Let us try out some examples.
Finding files and printing their full name
You wish to find out all *.c (all c source code) files located under /home directory, enter:
$ find /home -name "*.c"
You would like to find httpd.conf file location:
$ find / -name httpd.conf
Finding all files owned by a user
Find out all files owned by user vivek:
# find / -user vivek
Find out all *.sh owned by user vivek:
# find / -user vivek -name "*.sh"
Finding files according to date and time
Files not accessed in a time period – It is useful to find out files that have or have not been accessed within a specified number of days. Following command prints all files not accessed in the last 7 days:
# find /home -atime +7
- -atime +7: All files that were last accessed more than 7 days ago
- -atime 7: All files that were last accessed exactly 7 days ago
- -atime -7: All files that were last accessed less than7 days ago
Finding files modified within a specified time – Display list of all files in /home directory that were not last modified less than then days ago.
# find /home -mtime -7
Finding newer (more recently) modified files
Use -newer option to find out if file was modified more recently than given file.
# find /etc/apache-perl -newer /etc/apache-perl/httpd.conf
Finding the most recent version of file
It is common practice before modifying the file is copied to somewhere in system. For example whenever I modify web server httpd.conf file I first make backup. Now I don’t remember whether I had modified the /backup.conf/httpd.conf or /etc/apache-perl/httpd.conf. You can use the find command as follows (tip you can also use ls -l command):
find / -name httpd.conf -newer /etc/apache-perl/httpd.conf
The locate command is often the simplest and quickest way to find the locations of files and directories on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.
For example, the following command uses the star wildcard to display all files on the system that have the .c filename extension:
# locate "*.c"
Originally posted 2016-01-11 05:52:58.