1. Tech

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Linux / Unix Command: chown
Command Library


chown - change file owner and group


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


This manual page documents the GNU version of chown. chown changes the user and/or group ownership of each given file, according to its first non-option argument, which is interpreted as follows. If only 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 user name is followed by a colon or dot 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 or dot 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 or dot and group are given, but the user name is omitted, only the group of the files is changed; in this case, chown performs the same function as chgrp.


Change the owner and/or group of each FILE to OWNER and/or GROUP.

-c, --changes
like verbose but report only when a change is made
affect the referent of each symbolic link, rather than the symbolic link itself
-h, --no-dereference
affect symbolic links instead of any referenced file (available only on systems that can change the ownership of a symlink)
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.
-f, --silent, --quiet
suppress most error messages
use RFILE's owner and group rather than the specified OWNER:GROUP values
-R, --recursive
operate on files and directories recursively
-v, --verbose
output a diagnostic for every file processed
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 `:'. OWNER and GROUP may be numeric as well as symbolic.


The full documentation for chown is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and chown programs are properly installed at your site, the command
info chown

should give you access to the complete manual.

Important: Use the man command (% man) to see how a command is used on your particular computer.

>> Linux/Unix Command Library

>> Shell Command Library

  1. About.com
  2. Tech
  3. Linux

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.