lsattr - Linux


The lsattr command in Linux is used to display the file attributes on a second extended filesystem (ext2, ext3, or ext4). This command is crucial for managing file attributes that control the behavior of files on filesystems that support extended attributes, such as allowing or denying file deletion, compression, or undeletable status. It is commonly utilized in system administration to ensure data integrity and security.


The basic syntax of lsattr is as follows:

lsattr [options] [files or directories]


  • options are the flags that modify the command’s behavior.
  • files or directories specify the target files or directories. If none are specified, it defaults to the current directory.


lsattr supports the following options:

  • -a, --all: Include dot files and dot-dot.
  • -d, --directories: List directories themselves, not their contents.
  • -v: Display the version/generation number of the file.
  • -R, --recursive: Recursively list attributes of directories and their contents.
  • --version: Display the version of lsattr.

Each flag modifies the output or the range of files lsattr evaluates. For instance, -R is useful for comprehensive audits across multiple directories.


Example 1: Basic Usage

lsattr myfile.txt

Displays the attributes of myfile.txt.

Example 2: List Attributes Recursively

lsattr -R /home/user/docs

Shows all file attributes in the /home/user/docs directory and all subdirectories.

Example 3: Including all files, including hidden ones

lsattr -a /path/to/dir

Lists attributes of all files, including hidden ones in the specified directory.

Common Issues

  • File System Compatibility: lsattr only works on filesystems that support extended attributes (like ext2, ext3, ext4). Running it on incompatible filesystems returns errors.
  • Permission Denied: Users must have the necessary permissions to view the attributes of designated files. Running without proper permissions results in access errors.


  • Ensure you are operating on compatible filesystems.
  • Execute lsattr with appropriate user permissions, or use sudo where necessary.


The lsattr command can be combined with other commands for advanced file management tasks:

find /home/user/logs -type f -exec lsattr {} +

This command finds all files in /home/user/logs and uses lsattr to list their attributes.

  • chattr: Modifies the attributes of filesystem objects, complementary to lsattr.
  • stat: Provides detailed information about file or filesystem status.

Further Reading:

  • For more details about file attributes and their implications, the official Linux man page (man lsattr) can be consulted.