Find, Grep, Locate, Whereis


Example 1

Type this from the home directory. It will display all modified files in the last 3 minutes, in home directory and in /tmp:

find . -mmin -3 -print

Example 2

The use of “sudo” allows us to find files we normally wouldn’t have access to:

sudo find / -type f -mmin -10

Example 3

find ~ -iname "*pic*" -exec mv -v {} /home/user/pics \;


Grep looks for text within files. In this example we search for the word “span” in all the text files:

grep "span" *.txt

It then spits out every reference to the word “span” in all the txt files. Note: it uses Regular Expressions (regex), so you have to use delimiters for certain characters).


The “whereis” command is used for finding the location of executables (binaries), source code, and manuals for a specific program:

whereis gimp

The results returned for this particular example are:


Not as flexible as the “Find” command, because it takes few parameters. But it is lightning fast because it does not manually search the file-system, but rather a database list of files that is maintained by the system. Example:

locate filename

Can be used with “-i” for case-insensitive searches, ie:

locate -i filename

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