Last Updated: February 25, 2016
· janosgyerik

Find recent logs that contain the string 'Exception', with count

This simple bash one-liner will find recent logs that contain the string 'Exception' and print the count of matches:

find . -name '*.log' -mtime -2 -exec grep -Hc Exception {} \; | grep -v :0$

The find

  • -name '*.log' -- match files ending with .log
  • -mtime -2 -- match files modified within the last 2 days
  • -exec CMD ARGS \; -- for each file found, execute command, where {} in ARGS will be replaced with the file's path

The grep

  • -c is to print the count of the matches instead of the matches themselves
  • -H is to print the name of the file, as grep normally won't print it when there is only one filename argument
  • The output lines will be in the format path:count. Files that didn't match "Exception" will still be printed, with 0 as count
  • The second grep filters the output of the first, excluding lines that end with :0 (= the files that didn't contain matches)

Extra tips

  • Change "Exception" to the typical relevant failure indicator of your application
  • Add -i for grep to make the search case insensitive
  • To make the find match strictly only files, add -type f
  • Schedule this as a periodic job, and email the output to yourself by piping to a mailer, for example | mailx -s 'error counts' yourmail@example.com


The -H flag of grep may not work in older operating systems, for example older Solaris. In that case use ggrep (GNU grep) instead, if it exists.

Say Thanks
Filed Under