Use this tag for questions about file management and operations on files.

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105
votes
3answers
222k views

How can I replace a string in a file(s)?

Replacing strings in files based on certain search criteria is a very common task. How can I replace string foo with bar in all files in the current directory? do the same recursively for sub ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it possible to find out what program or script created a given file?

Three files have suddenly appeared in my home directory, called "client_state.xml", "lockfile", and "time_stats_log". The last two are empty. I'm wondering how they got there. It's not the first time ...
30
votes
3answers
3k views

Can a bash script be hooked to a file?

I want a script to sleep unless a certain file is modifed/deleted (or a file created in a certain directory, or ...). Can this be achieved in some elegant way? The simplest thing that comes to my mind ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

How to run a command when a directory's contents are updated?

There is a directory A whose contents are changed frequently by other people. I have made a personal directory B where I keep all the files that have ever been in A. Currently I just occasionally ...
29
votes
5answers
25k views

How to determine which process is creating a file?

Given file path, how can I determine which process creates it (and/or reads/writes to it)?
56
votes
4answers
16k views

What's the point in adding a new line to the end of a file?

Some compilers (especially C or C++ ones) give you warnings about: No new line at end of file I thought this would be a C-programmers-only problem, but github displays a message in the commit view: ...
48
votes
2answers
25k views

Why can rm remove read-only files?

If I create a file and then change its permissions to 444 (read-only), how come rm can remove it? If I do this: echo test > test.txt chmod 444 test.txt rm test.txt ...rm will ask if I want to ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Rename All Files with a Certain Name

I'm trying to find certain files with the name "stringx" and replace the name (but not the extension) with "stringy". So basically for stringx.txt and stingx.cs, I'd want stringy.txt and stringy.cs. ...
54
votes
5answers
44k views

What is a Superblock, Inode, Dentry and a File?

From the article Anatomy of Linux File Systems by Tim Jones, I read that Linux views all the file systems from the perspective of a common set of objects and these objects are superblock, inode, ...
41
votes
2answers
44k views

How do I do a ls and then sort the results by date created?

In what order are the dated ordered by? Certainly not alphanumeric order. ls -lt sorts by modification time. But I need creation time.
7
votes
2answers
6k views

How can I rename a lot of files using a regex?

I want to rename a lot of files on Mac OS X (10.7.2).. I don't have the perl package for the rename command. My files have names like "T452-102456-0.png" and I want to delete the "-0" part. I know I ...
4
votes
2answers
598 views

Precedence of user and group owner in file permissions

I just ran into something unexpected (for me) regarding file permissions on Linux (Arch Linux). Basically I have: userX in groupX fileX userX:groupX ---rwx---- What puzzles me: I cannot perform ...
24
votes
2answers
35k views

How can I increase the number of inodes in an ext4 filesystem?

I had a problem (new to me) last week. I have a ext4 (Fedora 15) filesystem. The application that runs on the server suddenly stopped. I couldn't find the problem at first look. df showed 50% ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

undelete files from local fileserver

I have a NAS (mybook world white light) in my living room where all my music and stuff is stored. I've mounted the music folder of the nas in the local music folder of my home directory on my desktop ...
51
votes
6answers
36k views

How to remove duplicate lines inside a text file?

A huge (up to 2 GiB) text file of mine contains about 100 exact duplicates of every line in it (useless in my case, as the file is a CSV-like data table). What I need is to remove all the repetitions ...
41
votes
6answers
68k views

How to find creation date of file?

I want to find out the creation date of particular file, not modification date or access date. I have tried with ls -ltrh and stat filename.
28
votes
5answers
50k views

Script to monitor folder for new files?

How do I detect new files in a folder with a bash script? I would like to process the files as soon as they are created in the folder. Is this possible to do so or do I have to schedule a script with ...
23
votes
8answers
50k views

List only regular files (but not directories) in current directory

I can use ls -ld */ to list all the directory entries in the current directory. Is there a similarly easy way to just list all the regular files in the current directory? I know I can use find find . ...
18
votes
5answers
13k views

How to list files that were changed in a certain range of time?

How can I list recursively all files that were changed between 22.12.2011 and 24.12.2011?
9
votes
6answers
11k views

Shell script for moving oldest files?

How do I write a script for moving just the 20 oldest files from one folder to another? Is there a way to grab the oldest files in a folder?
7
votes
7answers
10k views

What's the best way to count the number of files in a directory?

If parsing the output of ls is dangerous because it can break on some funky characters (spaces, \n, ... ), what's the best way to know the number of files in a directory? I usualy rely on find to ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

I accidentally chmod -R +x on a directory. How do I restore the correct permissions?

Well, to be specific, it was chmod -R 755. Now every file is executable, which I don't want. I am thinking that I should look at the first two bytes of each file for the #!, but will this cover ...
15
votes
1answer
304 views

When did directories stop being readable as files?

I have the 1st edition of The Unix Programming Environment book. In chapter 2, the authors state that directories are readable as files, and mention some facts about the format of these files. They ...
4
votes
4answers
18k views

Linux file access monitoring

Is there any way in unix to find out who accessed certain file in last 1 week? It may be user or some script ftp it to some other place. Can I get a list of user name who accessed certain file? How ...
0
votes
4answers
213 views

How does one inspect the directory structure information of a unix/linux file?

In Unix file systems directories are just special files with special directory structures that hold the child filename, filename size and inode reference number. The actual file metadata beyond ...
42
votes
6answers
22k views

Find duplicate files

Is it possible to find duplicate files on my disk which are bit to bit identical but have different file-names?
35
votes
2answers
60k views

timestamp, modification time, and created time of a file

I just know that ls -t and ls -f give different sorting of files and subdirectories under a directory. What are the differences between timestamp, modification time, and created time of a file? How ...
14
votes
10answers
20k views

How to move 100 files from a folder containing thousands?

I have a directory with thousands of files. How can I move 100 of the files (any files will do) to another location.
22
votes
3answers
11k views

List the files accessed by a program

time is a brilliant command if you want to figure out how much CPU time a given command takes. I am looking for something similar that can list the files being accessed by a program and its children. ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

How to implement a horizontal cat? [duplicate]

Standard cat concatenates files line by line (row by row, if you will). I find myself needing a horizontal cat command more and more often recently; i.e. a command that takes a list of files and ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Can a file that was originally sparse and expanded be made re-sparse

I know that copying or transferring what was originally a sparse file without using a utility that understands sparse files will cause the 'holes' to be filled out. Is there a method or utility to ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I edit a large file in place?

I have a few files sized > 1 GB each. I need to remove last few bytes from the files. How can I do it? I prefer to edit file in place to save disk space. I am on HP-UX.
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I make `cut` change a file in place?

The man page doesn't give me much hope, but I'm hoping it's an undocumented (and/or GNU-specific) feature.
19
votes
1answer
3k views

Who creates /etc/{group,gshadow,passwd,shadow}-?

In any linux system I have access to (a couple of Archlinuxes, an Ubuntu, a Debian Sid and a Gentoo) there are the following 4 files in /etc/, all ending with a dash: /etc/group- /etc/gshadow- ...
7
votes
1answer
10k views

Cannot delete a file - permission denied - why?

[db2inst1][testing ~/sqllib/db2dump] rm db2diag.log rm: cannot remove `db2diag.log': Permission denied [db2inst1][testing ~/sqllib/db2dump] id uid=1002(db2inst1) gid=107(db2iadm1) ...
70
votes
16answers
20k views

Is there an easy way to replace duplicate files with hardlinks?

I'm looking for an easy way (a command or series of commands, probably involving find) to find duplicate files in two directories, and replace the files in one directory with hardlinks of the files in ...
27
votes
3answers
48k views

Find and remove large files that are open but have been deleted

How does one find large files that have been deleted but are still open in an application? How can one remove such a file, even though a process has it open? The situation is that we are running a ...
31
votes
4answers
16k views

Clone ownership and permissions from another file?

Is there a command or flag to clone the user/group ownership and permissions on a file from another file? To make the perms and ownership exactly "like" that of another file?
17
votes
2answers
5k views

recursive statistics on file types in directory?

I did a website scrape for a conversion project. I'd like to do some statistics on the types of files in there -- for instance, 400 .html files, 100 .gif, etc. What's an easy way to do this? It has to ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

Renaming a bunch of files with date modified timestamp at the end of the filename?

So, say, I have a directory with a bunch of files like g.txt, where g.txt was last modified on, say, June 20, 2012. How would I batch-rename all of the files (like g.txt) with the last modified date ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

How to create a file even root user can't delete it

How to create a file even root user can't delete it ?
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Group member cannot write even with write permission

The logged in user is a member of a group that has a write permission on a folder. But when this user is trying to write something, "permission is denied". The log below summarizes the question: ...
8
votes
2answers
615 views

Cleaner way to delete files on Linux which include a datestamp as part of file name

I have a new requirement to purge MySQL dump files that are older than 30 days. The files use a naming convention of "all-mysql-YYYYMMDD-HHMM.dump". The files are located on SAN mounted file system, ...
7
votes
8answers
3k views

Bash, remove oldest files

I`m trying to delete old files from directory and leave only 3 newest files. cd /home/user1/test while [ `ls -lAR | grep ^- | wc -l` < 3 ] ; do rm `ls -t1 /home/user/test | tail -1` ...
6
votes
3answers
489 views

How can I make a special file that executes code when read from

Most files on a Linux system are normal files, i.e. they are saved on disk and reading from them just reads from a specified chunk of memory on the disk. How can I make something that behaves like a ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

“no such file or directory” message when deleting a file that exists on NTFS

I have a directory with images. Suddenly I found out that there's a new image with a new name. The image content is similar to another image in another directory but with a different name. I didn't ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

get age of given file

How can I get the age of a given file in, at least, days? I'm well aware of ls -lh and similar commands. I want something that will work sort of like this: getfage <FILE> # prints out '12d' ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Automatically detect when a file has reached a size limit

I would like to send an email when a file reach a certain size limit. The only way I thought of doing this is by doing a cronjob which will check the file size and send the email if the file is ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Access history of a file [duplicate]

I was wondering if there are any tools to keep track of the access history of a file. I know of stat, but as far as I understand, it only returns information about the last time the file was accessed. ...
37
votes
12answers
56k views

Efficiently delete large directory containing thousands of files

We have an issue with a folder becoming unwieldy with hundreds of thousands of tiny files. There are so many files that performing rm -rf returns an error and instead what we need to do is something ...