What is the equivalent of the Unix find command on Windows?

I see that the find.exe on Windows is more like a grep. I am especially interested in the equivalent of

find . -name [filename]
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    Is something wrong with my answer? Can I improve it? Do you still need help? – JohannesM Jun 22 '12 at 16:55
  • Sorry, I had lost sight of this thread a while ago. Thanks for your answer and apologies for not accepting it sooner. – ARV Jun 25 '12 at 9:44
dir <drive: [drive:]> /s | findstr /i <pattern>

- alternative -

dir /s <drive:>\<pattern>


dir c: d: /s | findstr /i example.txt

- alternative -

dir /s c:\example.txt
  • dir c: /s example.txt works, too. – DevSolar Jun 25 '12 at 11:55
  • @DevSolar can you recheck your command? I've tested it on Windows 5.1 Build 2600 SP3, and your command just gives me the list of files in the directory c: – JohannesM Jun 25 '12 at 12:07
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    Uh... sorry. Serves me right to type from memory. dir /s C:\example.txt it is. – DevSolar Jun 25 '12 at 12:14
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    for the most similar results I use \b for brief (output only paths); find <folder> -name <pattern> -> dir /s /b <folder><pattern>. E.g. find /tmp -name *.txt -> dir \s \b C:\temp\*.txt. However dir always returns a list of absolute paths, whereas find always gives paths prefixed with <folder> – Hashbrown May 26 '15 at 3:51
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    adding \B to \S allows to have a more terse output, with 1 file per line with full path,, no headers, no size info, etc... – Jean-François Fabre Apr 23 '20 at 8:06

With no additional cmdlets installed, you can simply use Get-ChildItem:

Get-ChildItem -Filter *.zip -Recurse $pwd
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    In which case you probably want to use one of the short aliases dir, ls or gci, unless you are writing a script. – user776768 Aug 31 '18 at 7:14

The Find-ChildItem Cmdlet in Windows Powershell is an equivalent of Unix/Linux find command


Some of Find-ChildItem Options

  1. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Name ".*.exe"
  2. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Name "\.c$" -Exec "Get-Content {} | Measure-Object -Line -Character -Word"
  3. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Empty
  4. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Empty -OutObject
  5. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Empty -Delete
  6. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Size +9M -Delete
  7. Find-ChildItem -Type d
  8. Find-ChildItem -Type f -Size +50m -WTime +5 -MaxDepth 1 -Delete

Disclosure: I am the developer of Find-ChildItem cmdlet

  • 2
    Thank you. This is definitely more in mind of what I'd be looking for in answering this question. – supercheetah Feb 2 '15 at 16:37
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    Find-ChildItem is not an official cmdlet and it is not included in PowerShell; you have to download this cmdlet from some guy's OneDrive. There's no difference between that and just downloading bash, cygwin, unixutils or any other program that just lets you run UNIX's find. – walen Apr 18 '18 at 13:49
  • @jagadish-g A bloody shame it's not already been integrated to PS long time ago. Did you try to file a PR in the powershell github repo. – not2qubit Apr 29 '20 at 22:15
  • ...and link is dead. – not2qubit Sep 25 '20 at 19:51

If you are using Unix's find to search for files in a directory hierarchy, then the Powershell way is to use Get-ChildItem (alias is gci) cmdlet and filter the results with the Where-Object (alias is where) cmdlet.

For example, to find all files (starting from C:\Users\ and recursively) with the word 'essential' in its name, use the following:

PS> gci -Path "C:\Users\"  -Recurse | where {$_.Name -like '*essential*'}

The -like option allows you to use wildcards for pattern matching.


This one is not exactly GNU find, but more closely matches the linux command line philisophy under powershell:

PS> dir -recurse -ea 0 | % FullName | sls <grep_string>


PS> cd C:\
PS> dir -recurse -ea 0 | % FullName | sls "Program" | sls "Microsoft"
PS> dir -recurse -ea 0 | % FullName | sls "Program" | sls "Microsoft" | out-gridview

Note: Everything returned after "| % FullName" is a string, instead of an object.

You can also use the Where Operator, "?", however, its more work, and not much faster:

PS> cd C:\
PS> dir -Recurse -ea 0 | ? FullName -like "*Program*" 
                       | ? FullName -like "*Microsoft*" 
                       | % FullName 
                       | out-gridview

Here's a quick shortcut:

PS> function myfind {dir -recurse -ea 0 | % FullName | sls $args }

PS> cd C:\
PS> myfind "Programs" | sls "Microsoft"

#find all text files recursively from current directory
PS> myfind "\.txt$"

#find all files recursively from current directory
PS> myfind .
  • Find -exec grep {} from UnixUtils doesn't work properly it seems "no such file or directory". This solution: PowerShell.exe -Command "dir -Recurse -ea 0 | ? FullName -like '*.log' | sls error", from within a batch script works. Note: must use single quotes inside, double quotes outside. – Kevin Nov 6 '18 at 16:18
ls c:\ file.ext -r

You can use this simple powershell command. use -ErrorAction Ignore to get rid of permission errors.

  • 1
    I like the simplicity. Adding -name makes it an even simpler listing of names only. – Noumenon Jan 31 at 17:39

In PowerShell you can use Get-ChildItem (aka ls), as noted in other answers.

ls . -Filter *.zip -Recurse

It might also be useful to get full paths of files instead of short names.

(ls -Path . -Filter *.zip -Recurse).FullName

And you can also easily execute arbitrary commands on the files found.

(ls -Path . -Filter *.zip -Recurse).FullName | ForEach-Object -Process {
    # The $_ variable is the path to a located file.
    echo "Found file: $_"

While not a full substitute, this simple batch file solved most of the problem for me:

# findw.bat
# usage: findw dir search-pattern
dir %1 /s /b | findstr /i %2

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