Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

What would you like to do?
Watch current directory and execute a command if anything in it changes
# Watch current directory (recursively) for file changes, and execute
# a command when a file or directory is created, modified or deleted.
# Written by: Senko Rasic <>
# Requires Linux, bash and inotifywait (from inotify-tools package).
# To avoid executing the command multiple times when a sequence of
# events happen, the script waits one second after the change - if
# more changes happen, the timeout is extended by a second again.
# Installation:
# chmod a+rx
# sudo cp /usr/local/bin
# Example use - rsync local changes to the remote server:
# rsync -avt . host:/remote/dir
# Released to Public Domain. Use it as you like.
if [ -z "$1" ]; then
echo "Usage: $0 cmd ..."
exit -1;
inotifywait -e "$EVENTS" -m -r --format '%:e %f' . | (
while true; do
read -t 1 LINE;
if test -z "$LINE"; then
if test ! -z "$WAITING"; then
echo "CHANGE";
done) | (
while true; do
read TMP;
echo $@

This comment has been minimized.

evgenius commented Jul 17, 2013

If you change "$@" to "eval $@" you will be able to run several commands.
Example: "rsync dest orig && notify-send Sucess || notify-send Failure"


This comment has been minimized.

hydranix commented Nov 26, 2013

15 minutes


if [ "$1"x = ""x ]; then
Watches for changes recursively, then goes on to execute your command
or script. It wait 2.5 minutes between executes. Good for syncing
directories or doing dynamic backups.
by Hydranix

Usage: DetectChanges "[ directory to watch ]" "[ command/script to execute ]" "[optional: time in second between executes]"
exit 0;
while [ ! -f /tmp/EXITHNx ]; do
sleep 3
inotifywait -r -e create -e delete -e move "${1}" &>/dev/null
if [ "$XSTA" = "0" ]; then
eval ${2}
touch /tmp/EXITHNx
exit 1
[[ -z ${3} ]] && sleep 150 || sleep ${3}
rm -f /tmp/EXITHNx


This comment has been minimized.

ArminVieweg commented Feb 19, 2015

Unfortunately inotifywait does not work with mounted folders. I wanted to use it in my vagrant box, to copy files from eg. /vagrant/www/ to /var/www/ (which is the document root of apache). Mounting files directly to document root slows down php very much, so I thought this would be a nice idea.


This comment has been minimized.

phazei commented Apr 7, 2015

@ArminVieweg Did you eventually find a solution for that? It's precisely what I was looking to do.


This comment has been minimized.

vn971 commented Apr 20, 2015

The version with eval published by @evgenius


This comment has been minimized.

shotputty commented Sep 1, 2015

What will be the benefit of running every x minutes (to trigger rsync) versus running rsync every x minutes? Is it just less demanding on the server?


This comment has been minimized.

noscripter commented Dec 9, 2015

why not use watch in homebrew?

brew info watch

source code here:


This comment has been minimized.

joshuataylor commented Jan 5, 2016

Because not everyone runs Mac?


This comment has been minimized.

hkirsman commented Feb 21, 2016

Why can't I kill it with ctrl + c?


This comment has been minimized.

Pitt-Pauly commented Jul 29, 2017

Nice script! Thanks 👍
I'm using rsync to synchronize my local dir to a remote server's dir, which is working great, but I have to enter my password on every sync. Any ideas on how I could sync fully automatically (without having to enter the password)?
Unfortunately I can't setup an ssh key and use it to authenticate, since the remote is shared and crappy..


This comment has been minimized.

mr-moon commented Nov 4, 2017

Cool idea, but how would you pass extra arguments with quotes? say i want rsync -a --exclude='folder with space' host:/path?


This comment has been minimized.

tdmalone commented Mar 12, 2018

Thanks for the script! I'm having trouble figuring out where the 1 second is defined, as I'd like to extend it.


This comment has been minimized.

parke commented Sep 28, 2018

@tdmalone, read -t 1 LINE tries to read one line, but with a one second timeout. read is a bash builtin, and is documented on the bash man page.

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment