How To: Have Infinite Bash History

Today we’re going to have a good time because we’re learning how you can have infinite Bash history. There’s a bit more to it and not all of you will want an infinite Bash history. But, for those that do, we’re going to accomplish that right here in this article!

First, I’m assuming you’re using Bash as your shell. The odds are really good that you’d know if you’re not using Bash, as Bash is pretty much the default. Bash is the interactive shell you’re using, known as Bourne Again Shell. If you don’t know what shell you’re using, I covered that in an article about determining the shell you’re using.

Side Note: I sometimes write articles that are meant to preface another article, but then I forget and don’t write the additional article. I suppose that helps keep things interesting…

So, as you know, when you type a command into the terminal that command is stored in a file typically called ~/.bash_history – a hidden file in your home directory. Well, there’s a limit to how much history that file will retain and this is Linux – meaning that, of course, you can change that value. Today, we’ll be changing that value – making it ‘infinite’.

No, of course, it’s not really infinite. There’s a finite amount of disk space you have. This being a plain text file, it takes up very little space. While it’s not technically infinite you can store a whole lot of entries in your Bash history. We’ll set it to infinite, but I’ll show you how to set it to any value you want.


Infinite Bash History:

As you can see, this is a Bash thing. That’s a good sign that you’ll need an open terminal. You can press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. See? We’re already making progress!

With your terminal open, we’re going to edit another hidden file. The name of this file is .bashrc and it’s a file that stores things like terminal settings.

The tool we’ll be using is ‘nano‘. Click that link to learn about Nano, including how to install Nano should Nano not come preinstalled in your chosen distro. As you may know, Nano is one of my favorite text editors. We use Nano a lot around here.

Start with opening the ~/.bashrc file with nano, like so:

Scroll to the bottom and add the following lines:

Any negative value, in this case, -1, will result in an infinite history. However, you can make that value any number you want. When you’re done adding those lines, you have to save the file. Remember, to save a file in Nano, you just press CTRL + X, then Y, and then ENTER.

You could make the value 5000, for example. That’d simply look like this:

The sky is the limit. You can make that value any number you want, but all negative values will be treated the same. If the value is negative, it means you’ve got an infinite Bash history. Don’t forget to save any changes with Nano, as instructed above.

Now, you could reboot or log out to make the new settings take effect, or you can simply tell your system to reload the file to make the changes take immediate effect. That’s an easy command, simply use:

As you can see, infinite isn’t infinite (nothing is in the real world, according to current observations) and you don’t have to choose the infinite setting. You can pick whatever numbers you fancy and the process is the same.


There you go, you now know how to set up your system to have an infinite Bash history. Well, an infinite ~/.bash_history if you prefer. With that setting engaged, you’re limited only by your creativity, fanaticism, and disk space. Go nuts with it! They make bigger disks! (Also, it takes up very little space.)

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Fix Terminal Command Mistakes

In today’s article, we’re going to cover how to fix terminal command mistakes. While this may sound complicated, it’s actually very easy. As such, it should be a pretty short article. There’s not a lot to it, so it’s not hard to cover.

When you type a command in bash using systems, the command gets saved to the ~/.bash_history file. You can then use the up arrow and use that command again without having to type it again. We’ve also covered how to delete a ~/.bash_history entry. There have been a few articles on this subject.

So, with all that, this shouldn’t be a completely foreign article. It should be something that’s more or less familiar to new people and my regular readers. Because of this, it’s going to be a pretty short article.

Amusingly, it’s not that I want to write an easy/short article today, it’s just that this topic isn’t all that complicated. I was perfectly willing to write a longer article.

So then, let’s have a short article! Let’s learn how to…

Fix Terminal Command Mistakes:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, type an incorrect command. For example, you could try entering the following command to change to the ~/Downloads directory:

As you can guess, that’s likely to throw some sort of error. The command you’re actually intending to type would have been cd ~/Downloads. Well, you can fix it and run it automatically. Try this:

Tada! It should correct the previous command and then handily run the command on your behalf. To show you what I mean, here’s an image:

correcting an erroneous terminal command
See? It changes ‘cds’ to ‘cd’ and runs the command on your behalf. Pretty nifty, huh?!?

Yup, it just takes a couple of carets and spelling the proper command. It’s not all that hard to fix terminal mistakes. Just to be clear, bash will store both the original mistaken command and the properly fixed command in your ~/.bash_history. But, you can still use the arrow key to go back to either in the future. Of course, you can always delete the bash history entry if you want.


See? It is indeed a short article after all. It’s not all that complicated to fix terminal command mistakes, so it’s easy to cover. It’s that how to fix terminal command mistakes is just not something that many Linux users, especially new users, know they can do. Well, you can – and it’s really simple.

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Search For Command History By Date

Today’s article is going to show you how to search for the command history by date. This isn’t hard, but might seem a little advanced for some of the newer users. We’ll be doing this through the terminal, of course. That seems like a good idea to me!

Unless you’ve made some fairly drastic changes, Linux terminals keep a log of previously entered commands. This is on a per-user basis and considered relatively secure, or at least as secure as your user account is. It’s helpful to be able to look at your command history, especially if you’ve forgotten what you did and you really need to undo it!

Previous history articles include:

Delete An Entry In Your bash_history

Dealing With Duplicates In Your Bash History

So, I haven’t really covered the .bash_history (proper name, I suppose) all that much. There really isn’t all that much to cover, but today we’ll learn how to search your command history by date. It’s most useful when you remember when you made changes but you can’t remember the precise commands used when you made those changes.

Find Command History By Date:

Like oh so many articles, this one too requires an open terminal. You can open one easily enough. Just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With  your terminal open, we first have to tell Bash to store and show dates along with the history. That’s an easy command that you need only run once:

When you next type ‘history‘, it’ll look like a hot mess until you figure out what the command has done.

Now, to find command history by date. To do that, you just enter:

The format for me is YYYY-MM-DD, though I suppose it could be different for others who have an alternative date format set up. I don’t really know, but it’s easy to figure out by just running the history command and deducing the format from those results. If you’ve done it properly, it might look a little something like this:

searching command history by date
See? It works! It does show the command used to show these results, of course.

So, if you want to see what commands were run on a certain date, you can do that. You can also find what you entered when you remember the day but not the commands you entered. It can be pretty handy so search the command history by date. Keep it as a handy tool, as you never know when you’re going to need it.


And there you have it. You have another article in a very long list of articles. This one is  handy if you need to know your command history by  date. I know I’ve been known to use this myself, largely because I sometimes need to narrow down my history quite a bit, as I do a great deal in the terminal and my history is a hot mess.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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