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.

By: jonty
2009-02-05 21:39:39

These Might Interest You

  • By defining a function "gh" as shown here, it saves me typing "history | grep" every time I need to search my shell history because now I only have to type "gh". A nifty time saver :-) You can also add the "gh" function definition to your .bashrc so it is defined each time you login. (updated 2015_01_29: changed from hg to gh to avoid clash with that other hg command. mnemonic: gh = grep history) Show Sample Output

    function gh () { history | grep $* ; } # gh or "grep history"
    mpb · 2014-04-02 15:17:31 4
  • By default bash history of a shell is appended (appended on Ubuntu by default: Look for 'shopt -s histappend' in ~/.bashrc) to history file only after that shell exits. Although after having written to the history file, other running shells do *not* inherit that history - only newly launched shells do. This pair of commands alleviate that. Show Sample Output

    $ history -a #in one shell , and $ history -r #in another running shell
    b_t · 2011-11-05 01:19:30 0
  • Note the extra space before the command (I had to put it as an underscore since the website eats up preceding spaces). That's all it takes. Now if you check your history with "$ history", it wont show up.

    _cd ~/nsfw; mplayer midget_donkey.mpeg
    Kirbe · 2009-02-16 17:19:40 6
  • eh stands for Edit History . Frequently, I'll mistype a command, and then step back through my history and correct the command. As a result, both the correct and incorrect commands are in my history file. I wanted a simple way to remove the incorrect command so I don't run it by mistake. . When running this function, first the ~/bash_history file is updated, then you edit the file in vi, and then the saved history file is loaded back into memory for current usage. . while in vi, remember that `Shift-G` sends you to the bottom of the file, and `dd` removes a line. . this command is different than bash built-in `fc` because it does not run the command after editing.

    eh () { history -a ; vi ~/.bash_history ; history -r ; }
    unixmonkey8121 · 2011-03-23 18:00:20 5

What Others Think

not working on my ubuntu machine or mac.
cowholio4 · 489 weeks and 3 days 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.
pkkid · 489 weeks and 3 days ago
@cowholio4: i got it working with both ubuntu and os x; you did not actually type in !whatever:p did you?
p3k · 489 weeks and 3 days ago
Works on Opensuse 11, very cool!
Williebee · 489 weeks and 1 day ago
looklike it works, but may be batter to cat .bash_history? or I`d just not understand the true meaning of this thing
GreyCardinal · 489 weeks ago
Oh! understood! ubuntu 8.10 -works debian etch - no -:(
GreyCardinal · 488 weeks and 6 days ago
@p3k hahah.... thanks. Still i prefer control + r
cowholio4 · 488 weeks ago
I can only think that the :p means "just kidding about re-executing it" :)
Buzzcp · 480 weeks ago
ctrl+r works better and everywhere.
oringo · 477 weeks ago
... or you could just set histverify ("shopt -s histverify") and be done.
akg240 · 459 weeks and 5 days 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.
magikid · 441 weeks and 4 days ago
Agree with C-r
Erus · 432 weeks and 4 days ago
use bash lusers! pkkid is right!
buzzy · 425 weeks and 6 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.
Chartreuse · 424 weeks and 1 day ago
function hg(){ history | grep $1; } Then "hg command" will print all previous commands
quincymd · 419 weeks and 6 days ago
it works fine like this: 1. type echo hello then you have it in your history. now you can type: !echo 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!
rubo77 · 400 weeks and 5 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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