I am running as root. I want to copy all the users on the system's .bash_history files into my home directory. I can do this to combine all of them into one, but then I can't tell who's commands are who's.

find /home/ -maxdepth 2 -iname ".bash_history" -type f -exec cat {} >> ~/combined.txt \;

I would like to either put the user names between each of the files in the combined.txt file, or I would like to copy the files in this type of structure:


How can I accomplish either one (or both) of these?

2 Answers 2


In zsh, using zmv:

autoload zmv; alias zcp='zmv -C'  # this can go into your .zshrc
zcp '/home/(*)/.bash_history' '~/user-bash/$1.txt'

In other shells:

for x in /home/*/.bash_history; do
  u=${x%/*}; u=${u##*/}
  cp "$x" ~/user-bash/"$u.txt"

You could combine all files into one by feeding two commands into find: output first the file name (or a preprocessed version thereof) and then the contents:

find /home/ -maxdepth 2 -iname ".bash_history" -type f \
     -exec sh -c "echo {} >> combined.txt && cat {} >> combined.txt" \;

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.