futimes - Linux


futimes is a powerful command used to update the access and modification times of a file or symbolic link. It allows fine-grained control over the timestamps associated with files, enabling users to set specific dates and times to accurately record file usage or modify metadata.


futimes <file> <atime> <mtime>


  • <file>: The path to the file or symbolic link whose timestamps should be modified.
  • <atime>: A timestamp in seconds since the epoch, specifying the new access time.
  • <mtime>: A timestamp in seconds since the epoch, specifying the new modification time.


futimes does not support any options or flags.


Example 1: Set the access and modification times to the current time:

futimes myfile $(date +%s) $(date +%s)

Example 2: Set the access time to January 1, 2023, and the modification time to July 4, 2022:

futimes myfile 1640995200 1657041600

Example 3: Modify the timestamps of multiple files simultaneously:

find mydir -type f -exec futimes {} $(date +%s) {} \;

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: Ensure you have write permissions on the file or directory.
  • Invalid Timestamps: Verify that the provided timestamps are valid and within the range of supported values (e.g., not negative).
  • File Not Found: Check that the specified file or symbolic link exists.


futimes can be combined with other commands for advanced operations:

  • touch -r: Update the timestamps of a file based on an existing file’s timestamps.
  • stat: Display the file’s current timestamps for comparison.
  • find: Perform bulk operations on multiple files using futimes in a loop.

Related Commands

  • touch
  • date
  • stat

For more information, refer to the official Linux man pages or online documentation.