CHFLAGS(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual CHFLAGS(1)


chflagschange file flags


chflags [ -fhv][ -R [ -H | -L | -P]] flags file ...


The chflags utility modifies the file flags of the listed files as specified by the flags operand.

The options are as follows:

Do not display a diagnostic message if chflags could not modify the flags for file, nor modify the exit status to reflect such failures.
If the -R option is specified, symbolic links on the command line are followed. (Symbolic links encountered in the tree traversal are not followed.)
If the file is a symbolic link, change the file flags of the link itself rather than the file to which it points.
If the -R option is specified, all symbolic links are followed.
If the -R option is specified, no symbolic links are followed. This is the default.
Change the file flags for the file hierarchies rooted in the files instead of just the files themselves.
Cause chflags to be verbose, showing filenames as the flags are modified. If the -v option is specified more than once, the old and new flags of the file will also be printed, in octal notation.

The flags are specified as an octal number or a comma separated list of keywords. The following keywords are currently defined:

arch, archived
set the archived flag (super-user only)
set the nodump flag (owner or super-user only)
set the opaque flag (owner or super-user only)
sappnd, sappend
set the system append-only flag (super-user only)
schg, schange, simmutable
set the system immutable flag (super-user only)
set the snapshot flag (filesystems do not allow changing this flag)
sunlnk, sunlink
set the system undeletable flag (super-user only)
uappnd, uappend
set the user append-only flag (owner or super-user only)
uarch, uarchive
set the archive flag (owner or super-user only)
uchg, uchange, uimmutable
set the user immutable flag (owner or super-user only)
uhidden, hidden
set the hidden file attribute (owner or super-user only)
uoffline, offline
set the offline file attribute (owner or super-user only)
urdonly, rdonly, readonly
set the DOS, Windows and CIFS readonly flag (owner or super-user only)
usparse, sparse
set the sparse file attribute (owner or super-user only)
usystem, system
set the DOS, Windows and CIFS system flag (owner or super-user only)
ureparse, reparse
set the Windows reparse point file attribute (owner or super-user only)
uunlnk, uunlink
set the user undeletable flag (owner or super-user only)

Putting the letters “ no” before or removing the letters “ no” from a keyword causes the flag to be cleared. For example:

clear the user immutable flag (owner or super-user only)
clear the nodump flag (owner or super-user only)

A few of the octal values include:

Clear all file flags.
Translates to the nodump keyword.
Translates to the uchg keyword.
Translates to the uchg, nodump keywords.
Translates to the uappnd keyword.
Translates to the opaque keyword.
translates to the uunlnk keyword.

Other combinations of keywords may be placed by using the octets assigned; however, these are the most notable.

Unless the -H, -L, or -h options are given, chflags on a symbolic link always succeeds and has no effect. The -H, -L and -P options are ignored unless the -R option is specified. In addition, these options override each other and the command's actions are determined by the last one specified.

You can use "ls -lo" to see the flags of existing files.

Note that the ability to change certain flags is dependent on the current kernel securelevel setting. See security(7) for more information on this setting.


The chflags utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


The chflags command first appeared in 4.4BSD.


Only a limited number of utilities are chflags aware. Some of these tools include ls(1), cp(1), find(1), install(1), dump(8), and restore(8). In particular a tool which is not currently chflags aware is the pax(1) utility.
April 8, 2013 FreeBSD