chown(1) — Linux manual page


CHOWN(1)                      User Commands                     CHOWN(1)

NAME         top

       chown - change file owner and group

SYNOPSIS         top

       chown [OPTION]... [OWNER][:[GROUP]] FILE...
       chown [OPTION]... --reference=RFILE FILE...

DESCRIPTION         top

       This manual page documents the GNU version of chown.  chown
       changes the user and/or group ownership of each given file.  If
       only an owner (a user name or numeric user ID) is given, that
       user is made the owner of each given file, and the files' group
       is not changed.  If the owner is followed by a colon and a group
       name (or numeric group ID), with no spaces between them, the
       group ownership of the files is changed as well.  If a colon but
       no group name follows the user name, that user is made the owner
       of the files and the group of the files is changed to that user's
       login group.  If the colon and group are given, but the owner is
       omitted, only the group of the files is changed; in this case,
       chown performs the same function as chgrp.  If only a colon is
       given, or if the entire operand is empty, neither the owner nor
       the group is changed.

OPTIONS         top

       Change the owner and/or group of each FILE to OWNER and/or GROUP.
       With --reference, change the owner and group of each FILE to
       those of RFILE.

       -c, --changes
              like verbose but report only when a change is made

       -f, --silent, --quiet
              suppress most error messages

       -v, --verbose
              output a diagnostic for every file processed

              affect the referent of each symbolic link (this is the
              default), rather than the symbolic link itself

       -h, --no-dereference
              affect symbolic links instead of any referenced file
              (useful only on systems that can change the ownership of a

              change the owner and/or group of each file only if its
              current owner and/or group match those specified here.
              Either may be omitted, in which case a match is not
              required for the omitted attribute

              do not treat '/' specially (the default)

              fail to operate recursively on '/'

              use RFILE's owner and group rather than specifying
              OWNER:GROUP values.  RFILE is always dereferenced.

       -R, --recursive
              operate on files and directories recursively

       The following options modify how a hierarchy is traversed when
       the -R option is also specified.  If more than one is specified,
       only the final one takes effect.

       -H     if a command line argument is a symbolic link to a
              directory, traverse it

       -L     traverse every symbolic link to a directory encountered

       -P     do not traverse any symbolic links (default)

       --help display this help and exit

              output version information and exit

       Owner is unchanged if missing.  Group is unchanged if missing,
       but changed to login group if implied by a ':' following a
       symbolic OWNER.  OWNER and GROUP may be numeric as well as

EXAMPLES         top

       chown root /u
              Change the owner of /u to "root".

       chown root:staff /u
              Likewise, but also change its group to "staff".

       chown -hR root /u
              Change the owner of /u and subfiles to "root".

AUTHOR         top

       Written by David MacKenzie and Jim Meyering.

REPORTING BUGS         top

       GNU coreutils online help:
       Report any translation bugs to

COPYRIGHT         top

       Copyright © 2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc.  License GPLv3+:
       GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.
       This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute
       it.  There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

SEE ALSO         top


       Full documentation <>
       or available locally via: info '(coreutils) chown invocation'

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the coreutils (basic file, shell and text
       manipulation utilities) project.  Information about the project
       can be found at ⟨⟩.  If you
       have a bug report for this manual page, see
       ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained
       from the tarball coreutils-9.4.tar.xz fetched from
       ⟨⟩ on 2023-12-22.  If you
       discover any rendering problems in this HTML version of the page,
       or you believe there is a better or more up-to-date source for
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       information in this COLOPHON (which is not part of the original
       manual page), send a mail to

GNU coreutils 9.4              August 2023                      CHOWN(1)

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