Find files that were modified by a given command

strace <name of the program>
Traces the system calls of a program. See for more information.

By: eitland
2009-08-31 20:42:50

1 Alternatives + Submit Alt

  • This has helped me numerous times trying to find either log files or tmp files that get created after execution of a command. And really eye opening as to how active a given process really is. Play around with -anewer, -cnewer & -newerXY Show Sample Output

    touch /tmp/file ; $EXECUTECOMMAND ; find /path -newer /tmp/file
    matthewdavis · 2009-08-31 18:47:19 3

What Others Think

Although be warned strace catches extra junk such as linker activity and process setup even before the program you desire is exec'd.
bwoodacre · 621 weeks ago
Yeah, at least use "-e file" with it, or better yet look at something like "dpkg-depcheck" which actually interprets strace output specifically with this in mind...
eichin · 621 weeks ago
Advantage of the strace against t touch /tmp/file ; $EXECUTECOMMAND ; find /path -newer /tmp/file is that you don't have to wait for find.
eitland · 621 weeks ago
Surely the strace command is different from the touch-exec-find combo? The latter will find all files changed within a time window, meaning that they could have been modified by any other process. The strace command will ONLY show files modified by the specific process. Right?
sandman · 621 weeks ago
That is true, the touch-exec-find combo will find other files. But its useful for quick & dirty commands. strace -ff |grep open would probably suffice to truly find all files touched by a given command.
matthewdavis · 620 weeks and 6 days ago
dpkg-depcheck is available in the 'devscripts' package, for those running debian/ubuntu.
bwoodacre · 620 weeks and 6 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?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this? is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Share Your Commands

Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.


Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for: