I need to find all .pem files on my system. Would the following do this?

sudo find / -type f -name *.pem

If not, how would I write a find command to find every file of the sort?


You're on the right track -- you just need to quote the pattern so that it gets interpreted by find and not by your shell:

sudo find / -type f -name '*.pem'
  • You beat me to it. :) – EEAA May 24 '12 at 20:35
  • 2
    /me holsters the pistols ;-) – mgorven May 24 '12 at 20:36

Using find / will normally be very slow. Using locate is much faster but somewhat imprecise because it doesn't support anything more complex than substring matching. A directory called .pembroke will be found and returned by locate along with every file inside it.

A combination of locate and grep, however, has speed and precision. Conveniently, it also does not require sudo.

locate .pem | grep "\.pem$"

The downside? The database locate uses is normally only updated once per day so any recent changes (additions, deletions, name changes, etc.) will not be found.

  • locate is much faster than find – B14D3 May 24 '12 at 22:23


sudo find / -type f -name \*.pem


sudo find / -type f -name "*.pem"

otherwise the shell will interpret the * instead of find.

  • \* is a bit depended on the shell and the flavor of Unix. (Will work as intended on most systems though.) The quoted version will always work as far as I know. – Tonny May 24 '12 at 21:52
  • That's funny. Had to write \\* to escape the escape. Very appropriate in this case. – Tonny May 24 '12 at 21:54

...or if mlocate runs on your computer and you don't need the most actual data use locate command

locate *.pam

It's faster becouse it finds files in previously created database; not on whole system.

sudo find / | grep .pam

Think that should work.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.