fchown - Linux


fchown is a command-line utility used to change the ownership of a file or directory, setting both the user ID (uid) and group ID (gid) simultaneously. It operates on filesystems that support ownership management.


fchown [-R] [-h] [-v] [-f] [-a] uid:gid file...


  • -R (recursive): Change ownership of the files and subdirectories within directories recursively.

  • -h (human-readable): Print the user and group names instead of their numeric IDs.

  • -v (verbose): Print the name of each affected file.

  • -f (force): Suppress error messages and continue changing ownership even if some files cannot be modified.

  • -a (append): Instead of changing ownership, append the specified user and group to the file’s existing ownership.


  • Set the ownership of myfile to user ID 1000 and group ID 100:

    fchown 1000:100 myfile
  • Recursively change ownership of all files in the directory directory:

    fchown -R 1000:100 directory
  • Print the file names and human-readable ownership after changing:

    fchown -v -h 1000:100 myfile

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: Ensure the user running the command has sufficient permissions to change ownership of the target files.

  • Invalid User or Group: Verify that the specified user and group IDs exist on the system.

  • Read-only Filesystem: Changing ownership is not possible on read-only filesystems.


fchown can be combined with other commands, such as:

  • find: Locate files based on criteria and change ownership accordingly.

  • xargs: Change ownership of multiple files at once by piping the output of find.

Related Commands

  • chown: Changes ownership for files or directories.
  • chgrp: Changes the group ownership of a file or directory.
  • ls -l: Displays file ownership attributes.