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Bash Bits: Find all files containing specific text (and remove them)

Published: 07-05-2019 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article

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Bash Bits are small examples and tips for Bash Scripts. This bash bit shows you how to find all files containing specific text, and how to remove them.

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Finding all files with specific text in them

For text news I convert news articles to plain text with readability. Recently one of the sites I convert changed their HTML, causing the parsing to fail. I fixed that in the parser, but had over 200 failed parsed articles. I wanted to remove them all. They all contain the following string:

Wij willen graag weten in welke omgeving u woont

Navigate to the folder where you want to search (recursivly):

cd /var/gopher

Search for all .txt files which have the string in them. grep -l will only write the filename of the file that contains the string.

find -iname "*.txt" | xargs grep -l "Wij willen graag weten in welke omgeving"

This will give you a list of files:


Check them by hand, and if you're sure you want to remove them, use the following command:

find -iname "*.txt" | xargs grep -l "Wij willen graag weten in welke omgeving" | awk '{print "rm "$1}' | bash
Tags: bash , bash-bits , find , grep , remove , shell , snippets