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Contact is a command in Linux that is employed to develop and modify the timestamps of a file. Moreover, it can make files with no information and a timestamp specified by the user. Often, we have a directory in Linux with multiple subdirectories and files, and we wish to change the timestamps of each and every subdirectory and file.

In this posting, we will glance at how to contact all this sort of documents and subdirectories recursively, along with a detailed breakdown of the commands that are utilized for this intent.

What is the touch command, and how to use it?

The goal of the contact command in Linux is twofold it can be made use of to produce empty data files with a timestamp specified by us, and it can be utilized to modify and modify the timestamps of already existing files. It is a extremely valuable command since it can improve a huge selection of timestamps, which includes but not restricted to obtain (the past time the file was accessed) and modified (the previous time the file was modified) timestamps. We will record some of the frequent utilizes of the touch command and their formats.

  • touch filename: makes an vacant file with the title specified by the ‘filename’ argument.
  • contact -a: used to adjust the previous access timestamp of a file.
  • touch -c: checks if a file with the specified identify exists or not. If these kinds of a file does not exist, it avoids generating it.
  • touch -c -d: made use of to update the entry and modification time.
  • contact -m: utilised to update the past modification time of the specified file.
  • touch -r: employed to retailer the timestamp of a further file as a reference.
  • contact -t: utilized to produce a file with a specified timestamp.

Now that we have received our audience acquainted with the basic works by using of the touch command, we will shift forward to understanding how we can use it to touch all documents and subdirectories in a subtree recursively.

Phase 1 – Open a terminal

We will be utilizing the command-line interface to touch all data files in a subtree recursively. To begin, we will open a new command terminal. You can open up a terminal window either by accessing it by means of the application menu or by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.

Phase 2 – Execute the contact command

For demonstration applications, we will be having an example directory to freely experiment with the touch command. In this circumstance, our listing is positioned in ~/illustration. Certainly, you need to stick to along with the listing of your decision to ensure highest mastering. You must alter it according to the listing you want to touch. Just after environment the right listing, all that is still left to do is to execute the pursuing command to contact all information and subdirectories in the specified folder.

$ obtain ~/example -exec contact

As we saw earlier, there are several variants of the contact command that one can execute to accomplish various needs. One these types of case is when the person needs to print all the directories in query. This, far too, can in fact be performed by means of the contact command. All that requirements to be performed is a very little little bit of modification in the syntax and the addition of “-print” to the command. Run the command below to exam out the printing function (It is as soon as yet again encouraged that you make sure that the address is established to your ideal listing that wants to be touched).

$ discover ~/example -print -exec touch

As you can see from the photograph above, the directories are not only just touched but also printed as we ran the previous command.

Breakdown of the instructions

Now that we have lined the key part of the course of action, individuals that are curious about how the past commands worked can stick all over to discover much more specifics about them. This section will crack down each individual aspect of the commands we executed 1 by just one and go by means of their functionalities.

To start with of all, let us consider a search at the uncover command.

The uncover command is made use of to seem for data files and directories in a unique listing. Some probable techniques of its usage are presented down below.

  • come across -identify: used to lookup for a certain filename in a directory.
  • obtain -iname: employed to perform a circumstance insensitive title lookup.
  • discover -f: used to discover a regular file.
  • discover -d: employed to come across directories.
  • come across -l: applied to locate symbolic inbound links.
  • find -c: employed to locate character gadgets.
  • obtain -b: employed to locate block gadgets.
  • discover -s: applied to discover sockets

Now, you should really recognize what the come across command does and how to use it. Essentially, it lists all the data files and directories at an address provided by the user.

Going forward, we specify the directory exactly where we want to research for data files and directories.

-print tells the terminal to clearly show the data files and directories that the command finds.

-exec contact executes contact command on every single of the located documents and directories.

would make sure that the names of the files and the directories that they find command lists are being forwarded to touch command as arguments.

is made use of to escape from the exec command.

With that becoming stated, we have lined the intent at the rear of every portion of this command.


This short article looked at how to touch all information in a subtree recursively making use of uncover and touch commands. What’s more, an overview of the touch and find command is introduced, together with a breakdown of their blend utilised to checklist and contact files in a subtree recursively.

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