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Finding Files with find
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17.7 The Times that find Finds

The times that go with the find operators -mtime , -atime , and -ctime ( 17.4 ) aren't documented very well. The times are in days:

  • A number with no sign, for example, 3 (as in -mtime 3 or -atime 3 ), means the 24-hour period that ended exactly three days ago (in other words, between 96 and 72 hours ago).

  • A number with a minus sign ( - ) refers to the period since that time. For example, -3 (as in -mtime -3 ) is any time between now and three days ago (in other words, between 0 and 72 hours ago).

  • Naturally, a number with a plus sign ( + ) refers to the 24-hour period before that time. For example, +3 (as in -mtime +3 ) is any time more than three days ago (in other words, more than 96 hours ago).

Got that? Then you should see that -atime -2 and -atime 1 are both true on files that have been accessed between 48 and 24 hours ago. ( -atime -2 is also true on files accessed 24 hours or less ago.)

For more exact comparisons, use find -newer with touch ( 17.8 ) .

- JP


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