Find the oldest file in Unix or Linux file system

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So I wanted to know the oldest file on my Debian Linux box.

find / -type f -printf '%T+ %p\n' | sort | head -n 1
Here is an another example for /etc/
find /etc/ -type f -printf '%T+ %p\n' | sort | head -n 10

Find the top 10 oldest file in a directory tree on GNU/Linux
Find the top 10 oldest file in a directory tree on GNU/Linux

So find command finds all files in / and print it with a special format. The %T+ (in -printf) means file’s last modification date and time in separated by +, for example ‘2004-04-28+22:22:05.0’. This is a GNU extension and may not work on other BSD/find or any other version of find. The %p indicts the file name. The sort command sorted input and passed it to head to display the oldest file on my GNU/Linux system. The sort command sorted input and passed it to head to display the oldest file on my GNU/Linux system. Cool, eh?

(Credit: Ubuntu forums).

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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