The other day I was searching for a particular email file in an Maildir on one of our mail servers. Knowing only the From address, I thought I’d use
grep. Unfortunately it failed and gave me an error:
/bin/grep: Argument list too long. Here is how to overcome this grep error…
/bin/grep: Argument list too long
How to grep through a large number of files? For example:
grep -r "example\.com" * -bash: /bin/grep: Argument list too long
Well, this was no wonder, since there are over 190500 files in that particular Maildir:
ls -1 | wc -l 190516
There are several ways of overcoming this error message. One, for instance is:
find . -type f | xargs grep "example\.com"
A second option to overcome the error is: substitute the “
*” (asterisk) with a “
.” (dot), like:
grep -r "example\.com" .
In newer versions of grep you can omit the “
.“, as the current directory is implied.