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Get Last Accessed File Time In Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux has a rich set of commands for manipulating and accessing files. The stat utility gives detailed access to file information, including last accessed and last modified file time.

From the terminal window, run the command with this syntax:

stat filename

Here’s an example of checking the last time I’ve run Firefox on one of my machines:

[geek@ubuntu firefox]# stat firefox-bin
  File: `firefox-bin'
  Size: 9781136         Blocks: 19136      IO Block: 4096   Regular File
Device: 302h/770d       Inode: 555615      Links: 1    
Access: (0755/-rwxr-xr-x)  Uid: (  500/  geek)   Gid: (  500/  geek)
Access: 2006-01-14 17:41:15.000000000 -0500
Modify: 2005-05-11 14:17:00.000000000 -0400
Change: 2005-05-13 23:31:44.000000000 -0400

I guess I haven’t used that box in a while… last time I used firefox was january 14th.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/26/06

Comments (3)

  1. kash

    Is there any way to know who accessed the file last time.

  2. vare6gin

    Kash,

    Most likely, no. You can see the structure describing file status in POSIX by executing the following command “man 2 stat”.
    That structure is

    struct stat {
    dev_t st_dev; /* ID of device containing file */
    ino_t st_ino; /* inode number */
    mode_t st_mode; /* protection */
    nlink_t st_nlink; /* number of hard links */
    uid_t st_uid; /* user ID of owner */
    gid_t st_gid; /* group ID of owner */
    dev_t st_rdev; /* device ID (if special file) */
    off_t st_size; /* total size, in bytes */
    blksize_t st_blksize; /* blocksize for file system I/O */
    blkcnt_t st_blocks; /* number of 512B blocks allocated */
    time_t st_atime; /* time of last access */
    time_t st_mtime; /* time of last modification */
    time_t st_ctime; /* time of last status change */
    };

    There is no field related to who accessed the file.

  3. jfcaron

    The information available might depend on your filesystem type. I’m guessing an old FAT12 floppy won’t have as much metadata about the files as something on ext4. Also many SSD users mount their filesystems with the option “noatime” which might make the access time property incorrect, even when read with stat.

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