I'm trying to find any files on a specific mount that are older than one year and do not belong to a specific user. This is the command I'm using (within the root directory of the mount):

find . ! -user username -mtime +365 -type f | xargs ls -al > /tmp/list

I'm piping this through xargs because I need to know the absolute path and size for each result. I do get results, but a number of files seem to be missing.

Could someone give me a hand? What am I missing?

  • The command looks OK to me. But doesn't the -ls option to find show the full path and size?
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 20:04
  • Or -printf "%p %s\n"
    – muru
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 20:05
  • 2
    Do the files that are missing have anything in common? xargs will have problems with files that have whitespace in their names. Use find -print0 and xargs -0 to deal with that. The -ls option also won't have a problem.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 20:07
  • Thanks guys.. I think that the issue was indeed whitespace. Using the -ls option is working great for my purposes.
    – Mikey
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


Although it's not exactly the same thing as piping to xargs ls -al, the -ls flag of find itself might be enough for your and simplify the command a bit:

find . ! -user username -mtime +365 -type f -ls > /tmp/list

If you think a file is missing, look at what stat says about it. Keep in mind that -mtime is a condition concerning modification time. There's also inode change time, and access time.

  • 1
    Most Unix filesystems don't have creation time. There's access time, modification time, and inode change time.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 20:05
  • Fantastic. I'm not sure exactly what about piping everything through xargs was messing up the process, but your command did the job perfectly. Thanks, @janos!
    – Mikey
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 20:21

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