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Check command history, but avoid running it

Terminal - Check command history, but avoid running it
2009-02-05 21:39:39
User: jonty
Check command history, but avoid running it

!whatever will search your command history and execute the first command that matches 'whatever'. If you don't feel safe doing this put :p on the end to print without executing. Recommended when running as superuser.


There are 4 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

not working on my ubuntu machine or mac.

Comment by cowholio4 480 weeks ago

Pressing +r then start typing the command will show you live updates of the history as you type. You can also use the up and down arrows to find the one your looking for.

Comment by pkkid 480 weeks ago

@cowholio4: i got it working with both ubuntu and os x; you did not actually type in


did you?

Comment by p3k 480 weeks ago

Works on Opensuse 11, very cool!

Comment by Williebee 479 weeks and 5 days ago

looklike it works, but may be batter to cat .bash_history?

or I`d just not understand the true meaning of this thing

Comment by GreyCardinal 479 weeks and 3 days ago

Oh! understood!

ubuntu 8.10 -works

debian etch - no -:(

Comment by GreyCardinal 479 weeks and 2 days ago


hahah.... thanks.

Still i prefer control + r

Comment by cowholio4 478 weeks and 4 days ago

I can only think that the :p means "just kidding about re-executing it" :)

Comment by Buzzcp 470 weeks and 4 days ago

ctrl+r works better and everywhere.

Comment by oringo 467 weeks and 3 days ago

... or you could just set histverify ("shopt -s histverify") and be done.

Comment by akg240 450 weeks and 1 day ago

On ubuntu also:

history|grep whatever

That will show every time in your history file the command has been called rather than just the last time.

Comment by magikid 432 weeks and 1 day ago

Agree with C-r

Comment by Erus 423 weeks ago

use bash lusers! pkkid is right!

Comment by buzzy 416 weeks and 2 days ago

To those who say Ctrl-R works everwhere, try running Ctrl-R on csh/tcsh, or ksh, Ctrl-R only works on bash and Z shell. While !search:p works on many more, also it is more continent to type a simple command in than to use a shell feature, as you can use it in a string of commands.

Comment by Chartreuse 414 weeks and 5 days ago

function hg(){ history | grep $1; }

Then "hg command" will print all previous commands

Comment by quincymd 410 weeks and 3 days ago

it works fine like this:

1. type

echo hello

then you have it in your history. now you can type:


and you get "echo hello" in your commandline with the cursor at the end, so you can edit it before you commit it or you press ^C to cancel

very useful!

Comment by rubo77 391 weeks and 2 days ago

Your point of view

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