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I have been using Ubuntu for abuot 2 weeks and and still frustrated with simple file operations.

I want to find a file called 9.jpg. Every internal command and 3rd party program I have tried, gives me 99.jpg, 999.jpg, "lovepotion number9.jpg" and a zillion other similar ones.

How do you search for an EXACT file name WITHOUT wildcards?

This is only my most recent frustration. I'm obviously missing something basic. good tutorial anywhere?

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3 Answers 3

How do you search for an EXACT file name WITHOUT wildcards?

To search an exact file without wildcard use find command.

  1. Open a terminal by Pressing Ctrl+Alt+T

  2. Type the command and hit Enter

    find / -name 9.jpg
    

If you want to search in your home folder only, use ~/ instead of / and so on. Replace / with the directory name you want to search in them. If you want to search in current directory and all directories withing it, use ./ in place of /.

  • For getting help on Learning Linux filesystem, see this page
  • Also see this very helpful guide to become familiar with Linux system, especially with Debian and it's derivatives like Ubuntu.
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locate /9.jpg

Note the / - without it you'll just find every file ending in 9.jpg. Technically though, it searches for file paths with it as a substring on all of the drives, which includes 9.jpg.png, so this works better with files that have file extensions - a file named log using /log will show you every file in /var/log/.

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The search in nautilus (the file manager thingy) is, by design, limited to a simple wildcard-like option. If you need something more sophisticated, you can either go for the GUI or the command line.

GUI: install the package gnome-search-tool, either through the software center or by typing

 sudo apt-get install gnome-search-tool

Run it (it is called "search for files"). Leave the main entry empty, and add a search option called "Name matches regular expression". In the new text field, type ^9.jpg (the ^ at the beginning matches the beginning of a string in a regular expression).

enter image description here

As for command line, the find utility will give you the precise answer:

 find . -name '9.jpg'

Consider this: files "999.jpg" and "9.jpg" in the directory t/:

$ ls t
99.jpg  9.jpg
$ find . -name '9.jpg'
./t/9.jpg
$ find . -name '*9.jpg'
./t/99.jpg
./t/9.jpg
$

I hope that this is clear.

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