How to use find Command in Linux? [A Beginner’s Guide]

In its primary type, discovering it’s simple. On the identical time, it may be complicated as a result of giant variety of choices, checks and actions accessible.

The discover command is an extremely highly effective software, and making the hassle to be taught it may be effectively value it. It helps you effectively carry out numerous system administration duties equivalent to disk area administration, recursive file operations and backups.

Linux discover command searches for information and directories primarily based on the factors you outline and permits you to carry out an motion on the search outcomes. The syntax of discover is as follows:

$ discover directory-to-search standards motion

The place

  • directory-to-search is the start line from the place discover begins trying to find information. The search consists of all subfolders below this folder.
  • standards (take a look at) inform which information to seek for
  • motion tells what to do with every discovered file that meets the factors.

To check

Search by title

Here is a easy instance. The next command searches for the a.txt file within the present listing:

$ discover . -name "a.txt"

The place

  • . refers back to the present listing
  • -name take a look at specifies the factors to be met

This search with -name take a look at is case delicate and ignores file A.txt. Use to make sure that your search is case delicate -iname take a look at:

$ discover . -iname "a.txt"

To go looking every little thing .jpg picture information within the present listing, use the wildcard sample *.jpg:

$ discover . -name "*.jpg"

You should use the folder title you might be looking out in. For instance, to seek for all .jpg pictures within the /dwelling folder:

$ discover /dwelling -name "*.jpg"
discover: `/dwelling/ubuntu/.ssh': Permission denied
/dwelling/me/good day.jpg
discover: `/dwelling/me/testfiles': Permission denied
discover: `/dwelling/me/information': Permission denied
discover: `/dwelling/me/.cache': Permission denied

In the event you see too many permissions denied errors, you’ll be able to add 2>/dev/null to the top of the command. This redirects error messages to /dev/null machine and provides a cleaner output:

discover /dwelling -name "*.jpg" 2>/dev/null
/dwelling/me/good day.jpg

Search by file kind

The habits -type take a look at permits you to search information by kind. File sorts will be:

f plain information
d directories
l symbolic hyperlinks
b block units
c character units
p named pipes
s sockets

For instance, should you use take a look at -type d, solely directories are proven:

$ discover . -type d

Search by file measurement

It’s possible you’ll must seek for giant information and delete them. Within the following instance, the take a look at -size is adopted by the string +1G. Searches for all information bigger than 1 GB.

$ discover . -size +1G 

The + signal means you might be in search of information bigger than the following quantity. A minus signal (-) can be utilized to point lower than. If you don’t use an indication, it signifies that the dimensions matches precisely.

The quantity is adopted by the file measurement unit. Items will be:

Character Fantastic unit of measure
B 521 day blocks
C Bytes
okay Kilobytes
m megabytes
G gigabytes

Search empty folders and information

Utilization -empty take a look at to search out empty directories and information like this:

$ discover . -empty

Search by file modification time

You possibly can seek for all information and folders primarily based on their creation or modification time utilizing -cmin take a look at. Use to seek for all information which have been modified within the final 60 minutes (lower than 60). -60 related:

$ discover . -cmin -60

For information which have been modified at any time earlier than the final 60 minutes, use +60.

Search by entry time

You possibly can seek for information by final entry time, with -atime take a look at. For instance, the next command searches for information that haven’t been accessed within the final 180 days:

$ discover . -atime +180

These will be moved to a backup machine if there may be not sufficient disk area.

Search by username

With person person title take a look at permits you to search all information and folders of a person. For instance, the next command searches for all information and directories owned by the person ubuntu within the /dwelling listing:

$ discover /dwelling -user ubuntu 2>/dev/null

Search by mode

Need to discover information which are set in a particular mode, that’s, have a particular set of permissions? Use -perm-test. The next instance searches for information with permissions set to 777:

$ discover /dwelling -perm 777


You should use the next three logical operators to mix a number of checks in a single search:

  • -And
  • -or
  • -not

For instance, the next command searches for information bigger than 100 MB owned by person me:

$ discover /dwelling  -user me  -and  -size +100M  2>/dev/null

The next command searches for information bigger than 100 MB owned by person me or person roamer:

$ discover /dwelling ( -user vagrant -or -user me )  -and  -size +100M  2>/dev/null

It’s essential to put a backslash earlier than the parentheses to forestall the shell from attempting to interpret them.


discover provides you the search outcomes after which the selection to carry out an motion on them. Listed here are some predefined actions:

Motion Description
-to delete Deletes information that match the search standards
-ls Exhibits an in depth ls output with file sizes and inode depend
-print Exhibits the complete path title of the matching information. That is the default motion if no different motion is specified
-exec Runs the next command on every line of the search output

So if you wish to discover and delete all empty information, this is learn how to do it:

$ discover . -empty -delete

Word: Earlier than utilizing the delete motion, it’s all the time protected to run the command as soon as -print take motion and make sure the outcomes.

The -exec motion is particular. This lets you run a command of your alternative on the search outcomes. It’s like this:

-exec <em>command</em> {} ;

Right here

  • command is the command you need to run on the search outcomes, equivalent to rm, mv, or cp.
  • {} represents the search outcomes.
  • The command ends with a semicolon, escaped with a backslash.

So, the command to search out and delete all empty information will be written as follows:

$ discover . -empty -exec rm {} ;

Here is one other instance utilizing -exec motion. The next command will copy every little thing .png picture information to the backup/pictures folder:

$ discover . -name "*.png" -exec cp {} /backups/pictures ;


You should use the Linux discover command to seek for information primarily based on title, date final accessed, date final modified, username (proprietor), group title, measurement, permissions, and numerous different standards. With these search outcomes, you’ll be able to carry out actions on them, equivalent to delete, copy, or transfer to a different location.

When you get the grasp of the discover command, it may be an important assist and simplify system administration duties for you. And the important thing to mastering it’s apply and use!

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