FIND (1)


find - find files


Environment Variables
See Also


find pathname-list expression


Find recursively descends the directory hierarchy for each pathname in the pathname-list (i.e., one or more pathnames) seeking files that match a boolean expression written in the primaries given below. In the descriptions, the argument n is used as a decimal integer where +n means more than n, -n means less than n and n means exactly n.
-name filename
  True if the filename argument matches the current file name. Normal Shell argument syntax as described in glob(7) may be used if escaped (watch out for '[', '?' and '*'). The internationalization constructs '[[:class:]]', '[[=e=]]', and '[[.cs.]]' are understood with /usr/5bin/s42/find, /usr/5bin/posix/find, and /usr/5bin/posix2001/find, but not with /usr/5bin/find.
-perm mode True if the file permission flags exactly match the octal number or symbolic mode (see chmod(1)). If mode is prefixed by a minus sign, the flags are compared: (flags&mode)==mode.
-type c True if the type of the file is c, where c is

bblock special file;
ccharacter special file;
DSolaris door;
fplain file;
lsymbolic link;
nHP-UX network special file;
pnamed pipe;
-follow Always true; causes find to follow symbolic links. The '-type l' condition never occurs in this case.
-links n True if the file has n links.
-user uname True if the file belongs to the user uname (login name or numeric user ID).
-group gname
  True if the file belongs to group gname (group name or numeric group ID).
-size n[c] True if the file is n blocks long (512 bytes per block), or, with c, n bytes long.
-inum n True if the file has inode number n.
-atime n True if the file has been accessed in n days.
-mtime n True if the file has been modified in n days.
-ctime n True if the file inode has been changed in n days.
-exec command ... ;
  True if the executed command returns a zero value as exit status. The end of the command must be punctuated by an (escaped) semicolon. A command argument '{}' is replaced by the current pathname.
-exec command ... {} +
  Always true. The {} argument is replaced by a set of aggregated pathnames. Each pathname is passed to the command as a single argument. Every time a limit of arguments is reached by the pathnames found so far, the command is executed, and aggregating starts using a new set beginning with the next pathname. If any invocation of command returns a non-zero exit status, find will return a non-zero exit status when its processing is done.
-ok command ... ;
  Like -exec except that the generated command is written on the standard output, then the standard input is read and the command executed only upon response y.
-print Always true; causes the current pathname to be printed. If no expression is given, -print is used per default (as a change introduced by POSIX.2).
-newer file True if the current file has been modified more recently than the argument file.
-anewer file
  True if the current file has been accessed more recently than the argument file was modified. This primary is an extension.
-cnewer file
  True if a status change has occurred on the current file more recently than the argument file was modified. This primary is an extension.
-depth Always true; causes the contents of each directory to be examined before the directory itselves.
-fstype type
  True if the current file resides on a file system of the given type.
-local True if the file is on a local file system. Are file system types except for nfs and smbfs are currently considered local.
-mount Always true; restricts the search to directories that have the same device id as the currently examined path operand.
-xdev The same as -mount. This primary has been introduced by POSIX.
-nouser True if the file is owned by a user that has no login name.
-nogroup True if the file is owned by a group that lacks a group name.
-prune Always true. Causes the search for the current path to be stopped once the primary is evaluated. When combined with -depth, -prune has no effect.
-cpio device
  Always true. Writes the file on the named device in binary cpio format (5120-byte records). Implies -depth.
-ncpio device
  Always true. Writes the file on the named device in SVR4 ASCII cpio format (5120-byte records). Implies -depth.

The primaries may be combined using the following operators (in order of decreasing precedence):
1) A parenthesized group of primaries and operators (parentheses are special to the Shell and must be escaped).
2) The negation of a primary ('!' is the unary not operator).
3) Concatenation of primaries (the and operation is implied by the juxtaposition of two primaries or by an explicit -a operator).
4) Alternation of primaries ('-o' is the or operator).

Options have been introduced by POSIX.1-2001 in addition to the expression operators. They must preceed the pathname-list one the command line and have no effect on boolean expression processing.
-H Follow symbolic links given on the command line, but do not follow symbolic links encountered during directory traversal.
-L Follow all symbolic links found, like the -follow primary.

With the -follow primary or the -L option, hierarchy loops caused by symbolic links are detected, but only /usr/5bin/posix2001/find prints an error message. The offending link is not followed, and operation continues with the next directory entry found.


To remove all files named 'a.out' or '*.o' that have not been accessed for a week:
find / \( -name a.out -o -name '*.o' \) -atime +7 -exec rm {} \;

The rm command is executed once for each file. The form
find / \( -name a.out -o -name '*.o' \) -atime +7 -exec rm {} +

is faster since the rm command is executed with a set of pathnames.

To find all files below the directory 'documents' that contain the regular expression 'string':
find documents -type f -exec grep string {} +

To find all files in the directory 'home', not descending into its subdirectories:
find home ! -name home -prune

To check whether the file 'diary' has been updated within the last two days; the name of the file is printed if true, and is not printed otherwise:
find diary -prune -mtime -2




  See locale(7).
  Affects the collation order for range expressions, equivalence classes, and collation symbols in patterns with /usr/5bin/s42/find, /usr/5bin/posix/find, and /usr/5bin/posix2001/find.
  Determines the mapping of bytes to characters and character class expressions in patterns.
  Causes the text of some diagnostic messages to be changed; causes -ncpio to create traditional ASCII cpio format archives.


chmod(1), cpio(1), pax(1), sh(1), xargs(1), stat(2), glob(7), locale(7)


Undesired effects can result if file names printed by find contain newline characters, as shown by the following command sequence:

$ mkdir -p 'dummy
> /etc'
$ touch 'dummy
> /etc/passwd'
$ find . -print

./dummy /etc ./dummy /etc/passwd $

Shell scripts or utilities unaware of this problem will operate on /etc/passwd (or other arbitrary file names) when reading such output; a malicious user might create such files to read or overwrite privileged information. To circumvent this problem, one of the following proposals should be taken unless the file hierarchy traversed by the find command is definitively known not to contain such file names:
- If the output is read by the xargs utility to gain faster execution by aggregating command arguments as in

find . -print | xargs command

a safe and equally fast substitute is the

find . -exec command {} +

operand of find; it is not portably accepted by find implementations, though.

- A universal solution for submitting file names to the xargs utility is given in the NOTES section of xargs(1).
- The method employed by this script can be generalized as follows: If the script or utility reading the output of find provides the necessary parsing capabilities, special path prefixes can be given to the find command, such as

find /.//. -print

for absolute path names or

find .//. -print

for relative path names. Since adjacent slash characters never appear in relative file names found during directory traversal, they can be taken as delimiters; a line starts a new path name only if the delimiter appears.

- The -name operand can be used to exclude all path names that contain newline characters, as in

$ find . -name '*
> *' -prune -o ! -name '*
> *' -print

Note that certain other implementations of find require a leading period in the pattern to match file names with a leading period; it may be necessary to exclude such patterns as well.
- The -depth operand cannot be combined with the -prune operand used in the previous example. When the directory name must be printed after file names below that directory, as with the cpio command, file names that leave the specified path hierarchy should be filtered out:

find . -depth | egrep '^\./' | cpio -oc -O /dev/rmt/c0s0

(note the escaped regular expression meta-character).

- The -cpio and -ncpio operands will automatically exclude file names that contain newline characters with this find implementation.

The -print0 operand supported by some other implementations is considered a very limited work-around since it does not allow the output to be processed by utilities unaware of NUL characters; it has therefore not been included here.

Heirloom Toolchest FIND (1) 8/14/05
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