I'm trying to recursively find files that have not been accessed for over 365 days. I can use stat and verify that the file has not been accessed for over 365 days. It is odd that the file shows that it has been changed about 6 months ago, but again stat shows last access was over a year ago.

Then I try using the find command and searching for files that have not been accessed for over a year, but the file I verified is not listed:

skunkbad:/var/www/htdocs/newera$ stat ./index.html
  File: './index.html'
  Size: 31          Blocks: 8          IO Block: 4096   regular file
Device: 802h/2050d  Inode: 3279283     Links: 1
Access: (0664/-rw-rw-r--)  Uid: ( 1000/skunkbad)   Gid: ( 1001/ webdevs)
Access: 2018-01-08 16:22:58.271143975 -0800
Modify: 2017-09-21 14:01:36.950307771 -0700
Change: 2018-06-04 09:00:36.801632639 -0700
  Birth: -

skunkbad:/var/www/htdocs/newera$ find . -atime +365 -type f -print

So, in this case, why isn't this index.html file listed by find? How can I recursively find files that haven't been accessed in over 365 days?

I'm asking because I intend to issue a command that touches these files, but I need to know that it's going to work. Example for 90 days:

find -type f -atime +90 -exec touch -a {} +

closed as off-topic by Stephen Harris, Sparhawk, thrig, msp9011, user34720 Jan 8 at 16:22

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions describing a problem that can't be reproduced and seemingly went away on its own (or went away when a typo was fixed) are off-topic as they are unlikely to help future readers." – Stephen Harris, Sparhawk, thrig, msp9011, Community
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 6
    Looks like the stat information shows the last access date as 2018-01-08; it's only been 364 days since then. I would expect your command to work on 2019-01-09 at 16:23. – edaemon Jan 7 at 23:16
  • 4
    +365 means "366 or more", so you'll need to wait 2 more days. – Mark Plotnick Jan 7 at 23:17
  • @adaemon, thank you. I feel dumb for overlooking that. – Brian Gottier Jan 7 at 23:24
  • That proofs you are not a robot :-) – nst0022 Jan 8 at 0:48
  • @edaemon It seems that you have answered the question. You could place it as an answer to receive reputation. – Crypteya Jan 8 at 3:43

The manual for find explains how the time calculations work for the -atime, -ctime and -mtime tests:

-atime n

File was last accessed n*24 hours ago. When find figures out how many 24-hour periods ago the file was last accessed, any fractional part is ignored, so to match -atime +1, a file has to have been accessed at least two days ago.

The second part of this is how the numerical argument has been specified:

Numeric arguments can be specified as

+n for greater than n,

-n for less than n,

n for exactly n.

So when you specify -atime +365, find will retrieve the files accessed more than 365 days ago. Because the calculation does not account for fractions, that means a file will only be matched if it has been accessed at least 366 days ago (days, as in 366*24 hours instead of calendar days).

So in your case, find . -atime +365 will match the shown file only after 366*24 hours from the date of access. This condition becomes true after 2019-01-09 16:22:58.

  • @ilkkachu Thanks for the edit, but I have a slightly different opinion. I had considered adding an emphasis on that quote as well, but I felt that the entire quoted text was equally important. Namely, 1) the n*24 hours part, the 2) the part about fractions being ignored, and 3) the example with 'atime +1'. Do you think the emphasis is still necessary, in this case? – Haxiel Jan 8 at 7:49
  • ok, I removed the emphasis. I only started editing to format the literal commands, the emphasis was a random thought, though I think the example there nicely shows the 'gotcha' part. – ilkkachu Jan 8 at 7:54

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