change the ownership of files and/or directories 



chown [-fR] owner[:group] pathname ...


chown sets the user ID to owner for the files and directories named by pathname arguments. owner can be a user name from the user database, or a numeric user ID.

If you include a group name (specify the owner followed immediately by a colon (:) and group with no intervening spaces, such as owner:group), chown also sets the group ID to group for the files and directories named.

On 7/2008R2/8/2012/10/2016, you need appropriate permissions to use chown to change the ownership of a file:

You can also specify owner in the form domain\user, although this may not work if you specify a domain other than your local machine domain.

When owner is the name of both a local user and the local computer. chown assigns ownership to the local user. To explicitly make the local computer the owner of a file, specify computer_name/ or computer_name\ (where computer_name is the name of the local computer) as the value of owner.



does not issue an error message if chown cannot change the owner. In this case, chown always returns a status of zero. Other errors may cause a non-zero return status.


If a pathname on the command line is the name of a directory, chown changes all the files and subdirectories under that directory to belong to the specified owner (and group, if :group is specified). If chown cannot change some file or subdirectory under the directory, it continues to try to change the other files and subdirectories under the directory, but exits with a non-zero status.


Possible exit status values are:


You specified -f, or chown successfully changed the ownership of all the specified files and directories.


Failure due to any of the following:

— unable to access a specified file
— unable to change the owner of a specified file
— unable to read the directory containing the directory entry of the file
— encountered a fatal error when using the -R option

Failure due to any of the following:

— the command line contained an invalid option
— the command line had too few arguments
— specified an owner with a userid that the system did not recognize


POSIX.2. x/OPEN Portability Guide 4.0. All UNIX systems. Windows 7. Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows 8. Windows Server 2012. Windows 10. Windows Server 2016.

The -f option is an extension to the POSIX standard.


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