Linux History Command Tutorial with Examples
Linux history is a function of the bash that provides previously issued commands with different options. In this tutorial we will look these options.
To simple list history providing history command is enough. History file is located in users home directory and named .bash_history for bash shell.
another way to display history in Linux. Keep in mind that this will display history without line numbers.
$ cat ~/.bash_history
Display History With Timestamp
To get history commands with the timestamp for issue there is bash variable that changes timestamp.
$ export HISTTIMEFORMAT='%F %T '
Remove History Timestamp
To remove time stamp set
HISTTIMEFORMAT bash variable to nothing. This will completely remove timestamp
$ export HISTTIMEFORMAT=''
Search History With Control+R
To search history for specific text
Control+R shortcut can be used after
Control+R write the text you want to search
(reverse-i-search)`HI': export HISTTIMEFORMAT='%F %T '
We put text
HI and get the command
Run Previous Command
Do you remember what was our previous command? May be but history remembers it and we can call it with
!! the command which will be run is printed to the console and then run.
Execute Specific Command In The History
We may want to run specific command in the history. As we know history command by default provides number for each history entry. To run specific command in the history the number of the command can be used to specify the command.
In this example we will run command number
1323 by using
As expected the command is put to the terminal and then issued.
Execute Specific Command In the History With Specific Word
To rerun a command in the history by specifying the start of the command is like
As you see we have lastly run
echo "poftut"command which starts with echo.
Change History Size Permanently
History size is by default
1000 line long after 1000 lines oldest command is removed from list. If we want to change the size of history we need to set new size trough
HISTSIZE bash environment variable. To make the change permanent
HISTSIZE can be added into
$ echo HISTSIZE=100000 >> .bash_profile
Disable Saving Duplicate Commands in History
While bashing there is a lot of repeating commands those have no meaning for us. Eliminating them will make history file more clear and less in size.
$ export HISTCONTROL=ignoredups
Erase Duplicate Commands in History
To remove existing duplicate commands we can use
HISTCONTROL bash environment variable with
erasedups value like below.
$ export HISTCONTROL=erasedups
Force History Not Save Specific Command
Some junior system admins are trying to hide the commands they have issued. Here is how to do it. But keep in mind the best is not hide anyting
$ echo "HISTCONTROL=ignorespace" >> .bash_profile
$ export HISTCONTROL=ignorespace
We have made space started command not visible for history. So we have issued
ls command and then look into history but there is no record about it.
Clear All History
After making hack clear the history at least our commands 🙂
$ history -c
Disable History Completely
We have resized history in previous parts if we want to disable history completely we should set the size to zero.
$ echo "HISTSIZE=0" >> .bash_profile
Ignore Specific Commands From History using HISTIGNORE
If we wanted ignore some little from history using
HISTIGNORE is the best way for to do.
$ echo "HISTIGNORE='pwd:ls:ls -ltr:'" >> .bash_profile
$ export HISTIGNORE='pwd:ls:ls -ltr:'
Here we provide command by delimiting them with :
Linux History Command Tutorial with Examples Infographic