How to find files and folders in Linux:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Find Linux Files and Folders with Command Lines Use these command lines to find a file in Linux: find ~ -name "filename"; find ~ -mtime – amount of days (in number); find ~ -type (type symbol) –name "filename"; use Locate and Grep commands...Full steps
Find a File in Linux Using Terminal Launch your virtual machine, such as Ubuntu, on your PC. Open your Linux terminal. Enter the file find commands...Full steps
Find Deleted or Lost Files in Linux If you want to find deleted or lost files on Linux, use professional Linux data recovery software...Full steps
When you need to locate a file in Linux, it's not always as simple as it is in any other operating system. It is particularly true if you use Linux without a GUI and must depend on the command line and terminal. However, Linux commands such as find, locate, grep, and so on can be used to discover a file and folder by repeatedly filtering items in the file system using a simple conditional method.

find a file in Linux

But since Linux is more complicated than other operating systems, it is common to wonder how to use these commands to find files Linux. But don't worry, this article covers all the correct ways to find the lost files and folders in Linux. Let's get started!

How to Find Files and Folders in Linux with Command Lines

Most users use a graphical file manager to search files on Linux, such as Nautilus in Gnome, Dolphin in KDE, or Thunar in Xfce. However, regardless of whatever desktop manager you use, there are various methods to utilize the command line to locate files in Linux.

1.   Use Find Command

You can utilize the "find" command to look for files whose names you have an idea of. The most basic version of the command examines the folder and its subdirectories for files that meet the search parameters. Files may be found using a variety of search parameters, including name, owner, group, type, rights, and date.

You can find a file by its filename by utilizing regular expressions to provide the full file name or sections of the file name.

Syntax: find ~ -name "filename"

Use the -mtime option with a (negative) number of days in the past to discover a file you last updated last week.

Syntax: find ~ -mtime – amount of days (in number)

It's usual to optimize the "find" command results by providing the file type you're searching for. The option is -type, and its parameters are letter codes denoting various data types.

Syntax: find ~ -type (type symbol) –name "filename"

Some of the basic type symbols are:

  • d - directory
  • l - symbolic link
  • b - block special
  • p - named pipe
  • s – socket
  •  f – file

To understand how to find a file in Linux using the find command, follow these instructions:

Step 1. Open the command line and type cd folder name/, and hit the Enter button.

Note: Here folder name indicates the folder in which you wish to search a file.

Step 2. Now type the find command with one of the above syntaxes according to your need, and press Enter to list the files.

find a file in Linux with find command

2. Use Locate Command

If you're looking for anything in a database, the locate command is much quicker than the find command since it doesn't have to search over the whole system. For the required parameter and syntaxes, locate command provides a list of all possible pathnames.

In its most basic form, the locate command discovers all files on the file system, beginning with the path that contains all or part of the search parameters.

Syntax: locate filename

Use the -b argument with the locate command to identify all files or directories that match just your search criteria.

Syntax: locate –b \filename

The backslash is a globing character here to expand the wildcards.

To understand how to find a file in Linux using the locate command, follow these instructions:

Step 1. Launch the command line and type sudo apt-get install mlocate to get the locate command. After that, press Enter and type your password to proceed with the installation process.

find a file in Linux with locate command step 1

Step 2. After that, create a database by typing sudo /etc/cron.daily/mlocate on the command line and hit the Enter key.

Note: locate command does not work without a database.

find a file in Linux with locate command step 2

Step 3. Now, write "locate" with any of the above syntaxes and hit the Enter key to locate the file or folder.

find a file in Linux with locate command step 3

3.  Use Grep Command

Another way to search the files in Linux with the command line is by using the grep command. Grep allows you to search for the text files.

To find a file that includes a specific sentence or combination of letters, use the grep command using the following syntax.

Syntax: grep -r -i "text" /path

-r: causes the search to be recursive, which means it will scan the current directory and all subdirectories.

-i: specifies that the query is case-insensitive.

You can suppress the matched text and show the file names and paths.

Syntax: grep -r -i "text" /path | cut -d: -f1

When the grep command attempts to access directories without the proper permissions or encounters empty folders, it will produce an error. The error messages could be sent to /dev/null.

Syntax: grep -r -i "text" /path 2>/dev/null

To understand how to find a file in Linux using the grep command, follow these instructions:

Step 1. Open the command line in Linux

Step 2. Now, use grep with any of the above syntaxes to find the file path.

find a file in Linux with grep command

How to Find a File in Linux Using Terminal

Many graphical user interface (GUI) service enables you to browse for files while operating under Linux, regardless of distribution. However, in other cases, such as when managing servers or using SSH to access the service, you will only have accessibility to the Linux terminal.

A Linux terminal is a text-based interface for controlling a Linux machine. It's simply one of several tools accessible to Linux users for completing any given work, but it's often regarded as the most appropriate solution. You can utilize the find, locate, grep, which, and whereis commands to find the find or folders on the Linux terminal.

  • The syntax for which command: which filename
  • The syntax for whereis command whereis filename

For Linux find a file by name, follow these steps:

Step 1. Launch your virtual machine, such as Ubuntu, on your PC.

Step 2. Open your Linux terminal.

Step 3. Now, enter any of the above-discussed command and their syntax to find the pile or folder you're trying to locate.

Note: To utilize the "find" command, first go to the folder by typing the cd folder name on the terminal.

find a file in Linux with terminal

How to Find Lost or Deleted Files with Linux Data Recovery Software

Lost data and unintentional loss of critical files can be a nightmare. Consider the possibility of mistakenly deleting a collection of your critical work files. While Linux provides the trash bin as a last resort for recovery, there is no chance of recovering once lost from there.

Unless you've been keeping backups, your prospects of recovery are minimal. However, not everyone maintains a backup. In this scenario, you will want specialized data recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

It is a professional file recovery tool that can recover lost data by utilizing its software algorithm and the fact that the majority of the deleted files are there on the disk but cannot be retrieved. That's how the operating system works. EaseUS data recovery wizard, on the other hand, is intelligent enough to locate them and recover deleted files quickly. 

So if you're trying to recover your lost or deleted files on Linux, the EaseUS data recovery wizard is your bet because of its straightforward and efficient interface. Free download this Linux data recovery software and restore your lost data on Windows PC through a simple connection. 

Step 1. Install and Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your Windows PC. Choose "Linux Recovery" on the left panel. 

Step 2. This software will detect your IP and Port automatically. You need to input the user name and password. If the IP address or Port is not right, you can correct it manually. Then, click "Connect Now". 

choose linux recovery

Step 3. After successfully connecting to your Linux device, EaseUS recovery software will start scanning the disk to find all lost and deleted files. When the scan process completes, click "Filter" > "Type" to specify lost file types.

choose the recovered data type

Step 4. You can preview the scanned files first. Then, select the target data and click the "Recover" button to restore lost files in Linux. 

recover windows 10 lost data


Even though Windows is the most commonly used operating system, people still use Linux since it provides more security. However, Linux is a bit complicated compared to Windows, making it difficult to find files in Linux. But with the methods discussed in this article, you can easily find files in Linux.

Moreover, if you've accidentally deleted or lost your files, we recommend using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to find the lost files in Linux. Since it provides proper protection to the data, it's your safest the most efficient approach to recovering the files.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

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