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Wilson Mar

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How to find stuff on your Mac hard drives


Here are my notes on finding (and replacing) stuff on a Mac.

Using Command line

  1. cd to the folder you want searched. For example:

    cd ~/gits/wilsonmar/wilsonmar.github.io/_posts

  2. To find text “Exception” within files of “.md” type at the current folders down:

    find . –name "*.md" –print | xargs grep "Exception"

    PROTIP: It’s important that you drill down into the lowest folder you can. If you are too high in the folder hierarchy, you’ll encounter messages like these about protected folders and files not processed:

    find: ./.DocumentRevisions-V100: Permission denied
    find: ./.fseventsd: Permission denied
    find: ./.MobileBackups: Permission denied
    find: ./.Spotlight-V100: Permission denied
    find: ./.Trashes: Permission denied
    find: ./dev/fd/3: Not a directory
    find: ./dev/fd/4: Not a directory
    find: fts_read: Permission denied

Find “foo” within files by diving recursively into folders :

grep -ri "foo" .
  • Remove the i to not ignore case distinctions.

Display print only the filenames with GNU grep:

grep -r -l "foo" .


Use -print0 option to find filenames that contain spaces or other metacharacters:

   find /path/to/dir -type f -print0 | xargs -0 grep -l "foo"

Find file names

Find files using file-name ( case in-sensitve find)

   find -iname "MyCProgram.c"

Execute commands on files found by the find command

   find -iname "MyCProgram.c" -exec md5sum {} \;

Find all empty files in home directory

   find ~ -empty

More find examples: http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2009/03/15-practical-linux-find-command-examples/ Mommy, I found it! — 15 Practical Linux Find Command Examples



Hidden files

If you are searching for hidden files:

How to Search the Content of Your Files on Windows

Using Utility programs


Using IDE

If you’re working in an IDE, it’s simpler.