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Solaris 9 Reference Manual Collection >> man pages section 1: User Commands >> User Commands >> find(1) - find files




    find- find files


    /usr/bin/find path... expression
    /usr/xpg4/bin/find path... expression


    The find utility recursively descends the directory hierarchy for each path seeking files that match a Boolean expression written in the primaries given below.

    find will be able to descend to arbitrary depths in a file hierarchy and will not fail due to path length limitations (unless a path operand specified by the application exceeds PATH_MAX requirements).


    The following operands are supported:


    A path name of a starting point in the directory hierarchy.


    The first argument that starts with a -, or is a ! or a (, and all subsequent arguments will be interpreted as an expression made up of the following primaries and operators. In the descriptions, wherever n is used as a primary argument, it will be interpreted as a decimal integer optionally preceded by a plus (+) or minus (-) sign, as follows:


    more than n


    exactly n


    less than n


      Valid expressions are:

      -atime n

      True if the file was accessed n days ago. The access time of directories in path is changed by find itself.

      -cpio device

      Always true. Writes the current file on device in cpio format (5120-byte records).

      -ctime n

      True if the file's status was changed n days ago.


      Always true. Causes descent of the directory hierarchy to be done so that all entries in a directory are acted on before the directory itself. This can be useful when find is used with cpio(1) to transfer files that are contained in directories without write permission.

      -exec command

      True if the executed command returns a zero value as exit status. The end of command must be punctuated by an escaped semicolon (;). A command argument {} is replaced by the current path name. If the last argument to -exec is {} and you specify + rather than the semicolon (;), the command will be invoked fewer times, with {} replaced by groups of pathnames.


      Always true. Causes symbolic links to be followed. When following symbolic links, find keeps track of the directories visited so that it can detect infinite loops. For example, such a loop would occur if a symbolic link pointed to an ancestor. This expression should not be used with the -type l expression.

      -fstype type

      True if the filesystem to which the file belongs is of type type.

      -group gname

      True if the file belongs to the group gname. If gname is numeric and does not appear in the /etc/group file, or in the NIS/NIS+ tables, it is taken as a group ID.

      -inum n

      True if the file has inode number n.

      -links n

      True if the file has n links.


      True if the file system type is not a remote file system type as defined in the /etc/dfs/fstypes file. nfs is used as the default remote filesystem type if the /etc/dfs/fstypes file is not present. Note that -local will descend the hierarchy of non-local directories. See EXAMPLES for an example of how to search for local files without descending.


      Always true. Prints current path name together with its associated statistics. These include (respectively):

      • inode number

      • size in kilobytes (1024 bytes)

      • protection mode

      • number of hard links

      • user

      • group

      • size in bytes

      • modification time.

      If the file is a special file, the size field will instead contain the major and minor device numbers.

      If the file is a symbolic link, the pathname of the linked-to file is printed preceded by `->'. The format is identical to that of ls -gilds (see ls(1B)). Note: Formatting is done internally, without executing the ls program.


      Always true. Restricts the search to the file system containing the directory specified. Does not list mount points to other file systems.

      -mtime n

      True if the file's data was modified n days ago.

      -name pattern

      True if pattern matches the current file name. Normal shell file name generation characters (see sh(1)) may be used. A backslash (\) is used as an escape character within the pattern. The pattern should be escaped or quoted when find is invoked from the shell.

      Unless the character '.' is explicitly specified in the beginning of pattern, a current file name beginning with '.' will not match pattern when using /usr/bin/find. /usr/xpg4/bin/find does not make this distinction; wildcard file name generation characters can match file names beginning with '.'.

      -ncpio device

      Always true. Writes the current file on device in cpio -c format (5120 byte records).

      -newer file

      True if the current file has been modified more recently than the argument file.


      True if the file belongs to a group not in the /etc/group file, or in the NIS/NIS+ tables.


      True if the file belongs to a user not in the /etc/passwd file, or in the NIS/NIS+ tables.

      -ok command

      Like -exec, except that the generated command line is printed with a question mark first, and is executed only if the user responds by typing y.

      -perm [-]mode

      The mode argument is used to represent file mode bits. It will be identical in format to the symbolic mode operand, symbolic_mode_list, described in chmod(1), and will be interpreted as follows. To start, a template will be assumed with all file mode bits cleared. An op symbol of:


      Will set the appropriate mode bits in the template


      Will clear the appropriate bits


      Will set the appropriate mode bits, without regard to the contents of the file mode creation mask of the process

      The op symbol of - cannot be the first character of mode, to avoid ambiguity with the optional leading hyphen. Since the initial mode is all bits off, there are no symbolic modes that need to use - as the first character.

      If the hyphen is omitted, the primary will evaluate as true when the file permission bits exactly match the value of the resulting template.

      Otherwise, if mode is prefixed by a hyphen, the primary will evaluate as true if at least all the bits in the resulting template are set in the file permission bits.

      -perm [-]onum

      True if the file permission flags exactly match the octal number onum (see chmod(1)). If onum is prefixed by a minus sign (-), only the bits that are set in onum are compared with the file permission flags, and the expression evaluates true if they match.


      Always true. Causes the current path name to be printed.


      Always yields true. Does not examine any directories or files in the directory structure below the pattern just matched. (See EXAMPLES). If -depth is specified, -prune will have no effect.

      -size n[c]

      True if the file is n blocks long (512 bytes per block). If n is followed by a c, the size is in bytes.

      -type c

      True if the type of the file is c, where c is b, c, d, D, f, l, p, or s for block special file, character special file, directory, door, plain file, symbolic link, fifo (named pipe), or socket, respectively.

      -user uname

      True if the file belongs to the user uname. If uname is numeric and does not appear as a login name in the /etc/passwd file, or in the NIS/NIS+ tables, it is taken as a user ID.


      Same as the -mount primary.


      True if the file has extended attributes.

    Complex Expressions

      The primaries may be combined using the following operators (in order of decreasing precedence):

      1) ( expression )

      True if the parenthesized expression is true (parentheses are special to the shell and must be escaped).

      2) ! expression

      The negation of a primary (! is the unary not operator).

      3) expression [-a] expression

      Concatenation of primaries (the and operation is implied by the juxtaposition of two primaries).

      4) expression -o expression

      Alternation of primaries (-o is the or operator).

      Note: When you use find in conjunction with cpio, if you use the -L option with cpio then you must use the -follow expression with find and vice versa. Otherwise there will be undesirable results.

      If no expression is present, -print will be used as the expression. Otherwise, if the given expression does not contain any of the primaries -exec, -ok or -print, the given expression will be effectively replaced by:

      ( given_expression ) -print

      The -user, -group, and -newer primaries each will evaluate their respective arguments only once. Invocation of command specified by -exec or -ok does not affect subsequent primaries on the same file.


    See largefile(5) for the description of the behavior of find when encountering files greater than or equal to 2 Gbyte ( 231 bytes).


    Example 1 Writing out the hierarchy directory

    The following commands are equivalent:

    example% find .example% find . -print

    They both write out the entire directory hierarchy from the current directory.

    Example 2 Removing files

    Remove all files in your home directory named a.out or *.o that have not been accessed for a week:

    example% find $HOME \( -name a.out -o -name '*.o' \) \
           -atime +7 -exec rm {} \; 

    Example 3 Printing all file names but skipping SCCS directories

    Recursively print all file names in the current directory and below, but skipping SCCS directories:

    example% find . -name SCCS -prune -o -print

    Example 4 Printing all file names and the SCCS directory name

    Recursively print all file names in the current directory and below, skipping the contents of SCCS directories, but printing out the SCCS directory name:

    example% find . -print -name SCCS -prune

    Example 5 Testing for the newer file

    The following command is basically equivalent to the -nt extension to test(1):

    example$ if [ -n "$(find
    file1 -prune -newer file2)" ]; then
    printf %s\\n "file1 is newer than file2"

    Example 6 Selecting a file using 24-hour mode

    The descriptions of -atime, -ctime, and -mtime use the terminology n ``24-hour periods''. For example, a file accessed at 23:59 will be selected by:

    example% find . -atime -1 print

    at 00:01 the next day (less than 24 hours later, not more than one day ago). The midnight boundary between days has no effect on the 24-hour calculation.

    Example 7 Printing files matching a user's permission mode

    Recursively print all file names whose permission mode exactly matches read, write, and execute access for user, and read and execute access for group and other:

    example% find . -perm u=rwx,g=rx,o=rx

    The above could alternatively be specified as follows:

    example% find . -perm a=rwx,g-w,o-w

    Example 8 Printing files with write access for other

    Recursively print all file names whose permission includes, but is not limited to, write access for other:

    example% find . -perm -o+w

    Example 9 Printing local files without descending non-local directories

    example% find . ! -local -prune -o -print

    Example 10 Printing the files in the name space possessing extended attributes

    example% find . -xattr


    See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of find: LC_COLLATE, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.


    The following exit values are returned:


    All path operands were traversed successfully.


    An error occurred.



    password file


    group file


    file that registers distributed file system packages


    See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

     Availability SUNWcsu
     CSI Enabled
     Interface Stability Stable



    The following options are obsolete and will not be supported in future releases:

    -cpio device

    Always true. Writes the current file on device in cpio format (5120-byte records).

    -ncpio device

    Always true. Writes the current file on device in cpio -c format (5120-byte records).


    When using find to determine files modified within a range of time, use the -mtime argument before the -print argument. Otherwise, find will give all files.

    Some files that may be under the Solaris root file system are actually mount points for virtual file systems, such as mntfs or namefs. When comparing against a ufs file system, they will not be selected if -mount or -xdev is specified in the find expression.

SunOS 5.9  Last Revised 6 Jun 2001


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