How to Find a File in Linux with the Find Command

The Linux find command is one of the most important and handy commands in Linux systems. It can, as the name suggests, find files on your Linux PC based on pretty much whatever conditions and variables you set. You can find files by permissions, users, groups, file type, date, size and other possible criteria using the find command.

The find command is available on most Linux distro by default, so you do not have to install a package for it.

In this tutorial we will show you how to find files on Linux using various common combinations of search expressions in the command line.

The most obvious way of searching for files is by name. To find a file by name in the current directory, run:

find . -name photo.png

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If you want to find a file by name that contains both capital and small letters, run:

find . -iname photo.png

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If you want to find a file in the root directory, prefix your search with sudo which will give you all permissions required to do so, and also the ‘/’ symbol which tells Linux to search in the root directory. Finally, the -print expression displays the directories of your search results. If you were looking for Gzip, you’d type:

sudo find / -name gzip -print

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If you want to find files under a specific directory like “/home,” run:

find /home -name filename.txt

If you want to find files with the “.txt” extension under the “/home” directory, run:

find /home -name *.txt

To find files whose name is “test.txt” under multiple directories like “/home” and “/opt,” run:

find /home /opt -name test.txt

To find hidden files in the “/home” directory, run:

find /home -name ".*"

To find a single file called “test.txt” and remove it, run:

find /home -type f -name test.txt -exec rm -f {}

To find all empty files under the “/opt” directory, run:

find /opt -type f -empty

If you want to find all directories whose name is “testdir” under the “/home” directory, run:

find /home -type d -name testdir

To file all empty directories under “/home,” run:

find /home -type d -empty

The find command can be used to find files with a specific permission using the perm option.

To find all files whose permissions are “777” in the “/home” directory, run:

find /home -type f -perm 0777 -print

To find all the files without permission “777,” run:

find . -type f ! -perm 777

To find all read only files, run:

find /home -perm /u=r

To find all executable files, run:

find /home -perm /a=x

To find all the sticky bit set files whose permissions are “553,” run:

find /home -perm 1553

To find all SUID set files, run:

find /home -perm /u=s

To find all files whose permissions are “777” and change their permissions to “700,” run:

find /home -type f -perm 0777 -print -exec chmod 700 {} ;

To find all the files under “/opt” which are modified twenty days earlier, run:

find /opt -mtime 20

To find all the files under “/opt” which are accessed twenty days earlier, run:

find /opt -atime 20

To find all the files under “/opt” which are modified more than thirty days earlier and less than fiffy days after:

find /opt -mtime +30 -mtime -50

To find all the files under “/opt” which are changed in the last two hours, run:

find /opt -cmin -120

To find all 10MB files under the “/home” directory, run:

find /home -size 10M

To find all the files under the “/home” directory which are greater than 10MB and less than 50MB, run:

find /home -size +10M -size -50M

To find all “.mp4” files under the “/home” directory with more than 10MB and delete them using a single command, run:

find /home -type f -name *.mp4 -size +10M -exec rm {} ;

And there it is – a wholesome list of ways to find whatever files you’re looking for on Linux. It may not be as simple as your rudimentary Windows search, but it’s much more detailed and specific. Are there any commands here that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit: Control by DepositPhotos

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