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How To Find All Video Files on Ubuntu System

Ubuntu 18

In this article, we will guide you through the process of finding all video files on your Ubuntu system using various command-line techniques. This can be particularly useful if you’re trying to locate a specific video file or simply want to organize your media.

Quick Answer

To find all video files on your Ubuntu system, you can use the find command with the appropriate options to search for files with video file extensions. Another option is to use the locate command, which relies on a database of files and directories on your system. You can also create a custom script to find video files.

Using the find Command

The find command is a powerful tool that allows you to search for files in a directory hierarchy. Here’s how you can use it to find all video files on your system:

sudo find . -type f -exec file -N -i -- {} + | grep video

Let’s break down this command:

  • sudo: This prefix is used to run the command with root privileges, which may be necessary depending on the permissions of the directories and files you’re searching.
  • find . -type f: This command searches for all files (-type f) in the current directory and its subdirectories (.).
  • -exec file -N -i -- {} +: This part of the command executes the file command on each file found. The -N option tells file to not stop at the first match, the -i option makes file output the file’s mime type, and the -- {} + part is used to handle each file found.
  • | grep video: This part of the command filters the output to only show lines that contain the word “video”, which will typically include all video files.

Using the locate Command

The locate command is another useful tool for finding files. It uses a database of files and directories on your system, which is updated regularly. Here’s how you can use it to find video files:

locate *.mkv *.webm *.flv *.vob *.ogg *.ogv *.drc *gifv *.mng *.avi$ *.mov *.qt *.wmv *.yuv *.rm *.rmvb *.asf *.amv *.mp4$ *.m4v *.mp *.m?v *.svi *.3gp *.flv *.f4v

This command will search for files with any of the specified video file extensions. Note that you may need to run sudo updatedb before using locate to ensure the database is up to date.

Using a Script

If you frequently need to find video files, it might be useful to create a script that you can run whenever necessary. Here’s an example of a script that finds video files:

#!/bin/bash
find /. -type f | grep -E "\.webm$|\.flv$|\.vob$|\.ogg$|\.ogv$|\.drc$|\.gifv$|\.mng$|\.avi$|\.mov$|\.qt$|\.wmv$|\.yuv$|\.rm$|\.rmvb$|/.asf$|\.amv$|\.mp4$|\.m4v$|\.mp*$|\.m?v$|\.svi$|\.3gp$|\.flv$|\.f4v$"

This script uses the find command to search for all files in the system, and then filters the output using grep to show only the video files with specific extensions. You can modify the script to add or remove extensions as needed.

To use this script, save it to a file (for example, findvids.sh), make it executable using chmod +x findvids.sh, and then run it using ./findvids.sh.

Conclusion

Finding video files on your Ubuntu system can be done in various ways, each with its own advantages. The find command is versatile and powerful, but may be slower on large systems. The locate command is faster, but relies on a database that needs to be kept up to date. A custom script can be tailored to your specific needs and can be run with a single command.

By understanding and using these techniques, you can easily locate video files on your Ubuntu system.

Can I use these commands to find video files on other Linux distributions?

Yes, you can use these commands on other Linux distributions as well. The find and locate commands are commonly available on most Linux distributions.

What if I want to search for video files with specific file extensions?

You can modify the commands to search for video files with specific file extensions. For example, in the find command, you can modify the -exec file -N -i -- {} + | grep video part to filter the output based on the desired file extensions.

How can I search for video files in a specific directory?

To search for video files in a specific directory, you can replace the . in the find command with the path to the desired directory. For example, sudo find /path/to/directory -type f -exec file -N -i -- {} + | grep video.

Are there any graphical tools available for finding video files on Ubuntu?

Yes, there are graphical tools available for finding video files on Ubuntu. One popular tool is "Catfish", which provides a GUI interface to search for files based on various criteria, including file type. You can install Catfish using the command sudo apt-get install catfish.

How often should I update the `locate` command’s database?

The locate command’s database is typically updated automatically on a regular basis (usually daily). However, if you want to manually update the database, you can run the command sudo updatedb.

Can I search for video files based on their metadata using these commands?

No, the commands provided in this article focus on searching for video files based on their file extensions. If you want to search for video files based on their metadata, you may need to use specialized tools or commands that can read and search metadata, such as the exiftool command.

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