I have directory with files from 2010 year.. I want to delete all files older than 500 days and I tried this:

find /var/log/arc/* -type f -mtime +500 -delete {}\;      

But I get this:

-bash: /usr/bin/find: Argument list too long

As I know this means that there are too many files and find can't handle them. But even if I put +2000 which is 3+ years I still getting this.

What I'm missing here?


1 Answer 1


You're missing that find doesn't need a list of files as input. The problem is that the glob /var/log/arc/* expands to too many files. However, find will recurse into subdirectories by default, so there's no need to use the glob at all:

find /var/log/arc/ -type f -mtime +500 -delete

-delete is a non-standard predicate. If your find implementation doesn't support it, you can use:

find /var/log/arc/ -type f -mtime +500 -exec rm -f {} +


  • Thank's but now got this: find: invalid predicate -delete'`
    – Garg
    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:42
  • 1
    @Garg first, sorry, I just copied your command and hadn't noticed your syntax is wrong. The -delete doesn't take {}. See update. However, your error message seems to suggest that your version of find doesn't support -delete. If you're not using GNU find (which in most cases you won't unless you're using Linux), you need to use -exec -rm {} \; instead.
    – terdon
    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:47
  • Thank you. -exec rm {} \; do the trick.
    – Garg
    Jul 29, 2016 at 11:52
  • 1
    @hobbs I don't see why not, -exec is defined by POSIX.
    – terdon
    Jul 29, 2016 at 18:35
  • @terdon my mistake.
    – hobbs
    Aug 3, 2016 at 22:05

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