context_type_set - Linux


context_type_set is a utility for managing file context tags in a SELinux-enabled system. These tags are used to enforce mandatory access controls, determining the actions that can be performed on specific files and directories.


context_type_set [-f] [-h] [-m|--mode set|update] [<target>] [<context>]


  • -f: Force the operation even if it would fail without this option.
  • -h: Display help and usage information.
  • -m|--mode: Set the mode of operation (set or update). Default: set.
    • set: Sets the specified context for the target, overwriting any existing context.
    • update: Updates the target’s context only if it is currently unlabeled or matches the existing context.


Example 1: Set the context of a file to a specific value:

context_type_set -f /path/to/file system_u:object_r:user_home_t:s0

Example 2: Update the context of a directory and its contents if they are currently unlabeled:

context_type_set -m update /path/to/directory user_u:object_r:user_home_dir_t:s0

Common Issues

  • Permission denied: The user running the command must have appropriate permissions to set the context of the target.
  • SELinux not enabled: Ensure that SELinux is enabled and enforcing before attempting to use context_type_set.


context_type_set can be combined with other commands for advanced tasks, such as:

  • restorecon: Restore default SELinux contexts for all files and directories in a given hierarchy.
  • getfattr: Get the SELinux context for a specific file or directory.
  • chcon: Change the SELinux context of multiple files or directories simultaneously.

Related Commands