Find Files Owned By A Specific User

In today’s article, we’re going to explore one way to find files owned by a specific user. We’ll be using the ‘find’ command for this exercise, which means it’s probably an article more for an intermediate user than a Linux beginner.

NOTE: This article is mostly a duplicate of an earlier article. I didn’t realize that until after I was done and hit the preview button. So, I saved it as an unpublished article, with the goal of just hitting the publish button (scheduling it, really) when I had a day where I was just otherwise occupied. Today is that day. After all, the “Big Game” starts in about 30 minutes.

But… I’ll do my best to make it one small bite that’s useful for beginners, but there’s no guarantee. I’ll see what I can do! So, if you want to play around with the ‘find’ command, read on!

The ‘find’ command does pretty much what you’d expect it to do, given the name. It’s used to find things – so you don’t have to stretch your imagination any to figure this command out based on the name.

You’ll find that ‘find’ describes itself succinctly, as this:

find – search for files in a directory hierarchy

See? Pretty much exactly as you’d expect. As you can also see, you’re probably gonna be asked to specify a directory. We can do that! Even you new Linux users can do that. I have faith in you!

So then, with that information freshly reviewed, there’s no reason to make the intro any longer. Let’s just jump into the article…

Find Files Owned By A Specific User:

If you’re a regular reader, you know what’s coming…

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.

Let’s start by finding files owned by you in the ‘Downloads’ directory. With the open terminal, enter the following:

Now, the ‘.’ is telling the ‘find’ command to search the current directory. You have to specify the username. For example, with me, it’d be:

You can also specify another user. Want to see if ‘root’ owns any of the files in your ‘Downloads’ directory? You can do that. Just change the username, like so:

Want to find all the files owned by root on the whole system? Well, you can do that – but it’s gonna be a whole lot of files and is going to take a while to run. You just specify the root directory (not to be confused with the root user). You do that like so:

In that command, you’ll notice we switched the path. We changed it to ‘/’ which is the root of the file system. You can be even find out if root owns any files in your user directory. Try this:

In my case, I’ve done things like compile and install software from my ~/Downloads directory, so I actually have files in there that are owned by root. If you’re a new user, you quite likely won’t have anything like that going on.

Play around with the ‘find’ command a bit, and it’ll become a bit more clear. Don’t forget to run man find to learn more about the command. There’s a lot more to it and it can be a pretty useful command.


Anyhow, that’s a small bite of the ‘find’ command – but it’s a useful bite. The goal is to take a small bite and do what I can to make it approachable by even a new Linux user. Hopefully, I’ve done just that. Give me a yell if you think it worked – or if you think it didn’t work. 

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.

Change Ownership Of Files And Folders

Today, we’ll be covering how to change ownership of files and folders. This is a pretty basic task and one every Linux user should know. This needn’t be terribly complicated, so this article will explain all you really need to know about changing ownership of files and folders.

When dealing with file management, permissions are important. It’s a security matter and a usability matter. You can assign various file and folder permissions, such as read and write permissions, a subject for a different article. However, files and folders all should have owners – owners who can do anything they want with the file or folder.

Curiously, your account should not always be the owner. While maybe not all that intuitive, you shouldn’t have ownership of all the files. This is why you have to use elevated permissions to perform certain tasks. This is to keep things segmented and secure.

Remember, Linux is designed to be a multi-user operating system. That’s not just human users, but different processes and applications may also be associated with users. For example, look at all the users on your system by running the following command in your terminal emulator:

You can also see all the groups on your system with this command:

Obviously, if a user is a member of a group they share permissions with that group. Files also only have one owner and one associated group, of course. So, if you want two people to have control over a file, one way to do that would be to make sure they’re both members of the same group. There’s all sorts of creative things you can do with permissions. This article will be covering just one aspect, it’ll be about how you can …

Change Ownership Of Files And Folders:

Like oh so many of these articles, this one requires an open terminal. You can do so using only your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Go right ahead and stay in your home directory. You can check the various files and their permissions with the following:

The output of that command will show you the user and group, with the two being listed in that order as in the image below:

ll listing user and groups
See? I even gave you handy arrows. The order is owner:group, to repeat myself.

To change the owner, the format is:

To change the group, the format is:

If you want to recursively take ownership, you need the -R flag. For that, you’d want something that looks a bit like this:

You can actually just use chown to change both the owner and group at the same time. You’ll most often do this with your own user and group, so I’ll show the command that way:

As you can guess, the -R flag will work there and an asterisk will cover all the files and folders within that directory. Obviously, this applies to folders and not to files.


There you have it. You have yet another article and this one has hopefully taught you how to change ownership of files and folders. It may not be one of the most interesting articles, but it’s a skill you’ll eventually want to have and another tool for your Linux toolbox. 

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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