Useful Unix Commands

Useful Unix commands

To search text in files and all subdirectories

find [directory] -name [files] | xargs grep [text to search for]

Example to find “insert” in the odb directory (search all files in that directory):
find odb -name “*” | xargs grep “insert”

Run job in batch now

at -s now <

List users in group

getent group <goupname>

or simply vi /etc/group to view groups and members

or if logged in as the user, simply enter “id”

Show current process active

ps -efa

Show process information

psrinfo -v

Show who you are currently logged in as


Show who you initially logged in as

who am i

Show version of unix

uname -a

Display System Configuration




Print VTOC

prtvtoc /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s0

Query Disk space

df -k disk space in kilobytes

du -sk disk space summary in kilobytes

Remove all files and sub-directories

rm -r *

Move all files from one directory to another using tar pipe

from directory /var

mkdir /var1

cd /var

tar cf – . | (cd /var1 && tar xBf -)

Directory compare (don’t show files that are the same)

dircmp -s /var /var1

Give User execute permission on a file

chomod u+x filename gives execute permission to the owner.

Find command to find in current directory and sub directory

find . -name “dbmslogmnr.sql” -print

DATE Command

date mmddHHMM[[cc]yy]

example “date 022610221998”

Get DATE from another unix box

rdate pluto

Find Command for certain size files

find . -size +10000c

This example say find all the file > 10000 bytes.

Find command to find a word in the directory and sub directory

find . -exec grep -ls pkzip {} \;

Commands to take tar backups

tar -cvf /dev/rmt/0 /usr /var /lib [Taking into tape ]

tar -cvf backup_file.tar /usr /var /lib [ Taking disk image]

tar -xvf filename.tar [ Restore contents of a tar file ]

List contents of tar backup

tar -tvf /dev/rmt/0 [ List contents of a tar tape ]

tar -tvf filename.tar [ List contents of a tar file ]

Bind a process to processor

pbind –b processor_no process_id

Find out total RAM installed on your machine

$prtconf |grep size

Find no. of processors installed on your sun box and processing speed

Ans: $psrinfo –v

Find out how many disks are available on your system

$ format (for sysadmins)

$ iostat –E (for users – count only the disks which has disk size correctly)

Commands to shutdown the system

shutdown, init , halt, reboot

Show type of file system

df -n

Process info and manipulation

pgrep, pkill, prstat -a

Processor information and more

mpstat, prtdiag, psrinfo -v

Information about binaries

what, ldd, strings

Which package does ls belong to

pkgchk -lp /usr/bin/ls

Compare directories, sync utilities

dircmp, rsync, filesync

Basic system information

uname -X

List users


Current nfs mount

nfsstat -m (or check /etc/rmtab)

Clear nfs locks

clear locks

Process types commands

apptrace – for tracing library calls

dtrace – debugger, new in version 10

pargs – get list of arguments and environment variables with which process was started

pfiles – list of file descriptors, associated with process

pgrep – get the PID’s of processes by name i.e. Something like ps -efl|grep -v grep|grep process_name

pkill – send signal to process. For example pkill -9 init 😛

pldd – list dynamic libraries, associated with process, similar to ldd for executable

plockstat – see list of locked by process files. Lock can be mutex i.e. exclusive and reader/writer for shared access

pmap – get memory map (segments) of process

preap – try to kick-off zombie process

prstat – fullscreen view of processes sorted by different criteria, similar to Linux top command

prun – continue hold with pstop process

ps – print process information and status. In Solaris exist SYSV and BSD variants, respectively /usr/bin/ps and /usr/ucb/ps

psig – list signals that can be handled by process

pstack – get backtrace stack of process for debugging purposes

pstop – temporary hold process

ptree – print the tree of processes

pwait – wait till process finish

pwdx – list working directory for process, like pwd command

truss – for tracing user/library/system calls and signals

Basic Unix Commands

diff file1 file2

Shows the DIFFerences between 2 files


shows the Disk Usage on the current directory. Note that Newer versions of Unix display usage in 512-byte units. Most users prefer to see Kbytes. To do that, use the command “du -k”. If you want this all the time, put “alias du du -k” in .cshrc.

grep string files

search all the specified files for the specified string. (Actually, you can specify a fairly complicated search pattern, but you will have to do “man grep” for details on that.)

lpr file

print file on the Line Printer – Solaris

Common options for ls:


all files [normally files starting . not shown]


long form – give lots of information


time-sorted – most recent first


Recursively look into directories

The “-a” option requires some explanation. Filenames starting with “.” are for files that you don’t normally want to see. These include .login and .logout, which list commands that get done automatically every time you log in or out, and files giving default options for various other programs. The designers of Unix figured you would want to set up these options and then forget about them. Thus a normal “ls” will not show files whose names start with “.”. “ls -a” will show all files, including those that start with “.”.


Once you know the printer name, and any conversions needed, you can issue the print command. If the file is plain text or it’s already been converted to Postscript, you can issue a simple print command, e.g.

lpr -P printer filename

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