Ever need to look through an endless file list to determine if a certain file is there? Cross-eyed from looking at a ps listing to find the one program you want to kill? You need grep.
And if you’re on a Mac (or a Unix/Linux machine) you’re in luck.
There’s a million ways to use grep, but this one will quickly show you how powerful it is (and it’s probably all you need to know).
Suppose you need to shutdown a particular program… one that doesn’t show up on the Activity Monitor. You open the Terminal application, type “ps -A” and watch in awe as a million lines shoot by your screen, trying to figure out which one corresponds to the program you wish to kill.
Instead, try this the next time:
Let’s pretend you need to shutdown a particular application that’s not responding (or doesn’t have a Quit option). I’ll use mozy as an example. Instead of going line-by-line looking for the one that includes mozy, you simply type this command:
ps -A | grep -i mozy
and you’ll get the following back:
24293 ?? Ss 0:03.52 /usr/sbin/MozyBackup
24449 p2 R+ 0:00.00 grep -i mozy
Now all you need to do is issue the following command:
sudo kill 24293
to shutdown the application.
What you’re doing is simply taking the result of the “ps -A” command and sending it, using the “|” operator, to the grep utility, which will search for any occurrences of the phrase “mozy” (the -i option makes the search case insensitive).
Do you have any other uses for grep? Any other useful utilities? Leave your comment below.