setfiles(8) — Linux manual page


setfiles(8)               SELinux User Command               setfiles(8)

NAME         top

       setfiles - set SELinux file security contexts.

SYNOPSIS         top

       setfiles [-c policy] [-C] [-d] [-l] [-m] [-n] [-e directory] [-E]
       [-p] [-s] [-v] [-W] [-F] [-I|-D] [-T nthreads] spec_file
       pathname ...

DESCRIPTION         top

       This manual page describes the setfiles program.

       This program is primarily used to initialize the security context
       fields (extended attributes) on one or more filesystems (or parts
       of them).  Usually it is initially run as part of the SELinux
       installation process (a step commonly known as labeling).

       It can also be run at any other time to correct inconsistent
       labels, to add support for newly-installed policy or, by using
       the -n option, to passively check whether the file contexts are
       all set as specified by the active policy (default behavior) or
       by some other policy (see the -c option).

       If a file object does not have a context, setfiles will write the
       default context to the file object's extended attributes. If a
       file object has a context, setfiles will only modify the type
       portion of the security context.  The -F option will force a
       replacement of the entire context.

OPTIONS         top

       -c     check the validity of the contexts against the specified
              binary policy.

       -C     If only relabeling errors are encountered during the file
              tree walks, exit with status 1 rather than 255.

       -d     show what specification matched each file.

       -e directory
              directory to exclude (repeat option for more than one

       -E     treat conflicting specifications as errors, such as where
              two hardlinks for the same inode have different contexts.

       -f infilename
              infilename contains a list of files to be processed. Use
              “-” for stdin.

       -F     Force reset of context to match file_context for
              customizable files, and the default file context, changing
              the user, role, range portion as well as the type.

       -h, -? display usage information and exit.

       -i     ignore files that do not exist.

       -I     ignore digest to force checking of labels even if the
              stored SHA1 digest matches the specfiles SHA1 digest. The
              digest will then be updated provided there are no errors.
              See the NOTES section for further details.

       -D     Set or update any directory SHA1 digests. Use this option
              to enable usage of the security.sehash extended attribute.

       -l     log changes in file labels to syslog.

       -m     do not read /proc/mounts to obtain a list of non-seclabel
              mounts to be excluded from relabeling checks.  Setting
              this option is useful where there is a non-seclabel fs
              mounted with a seclabel fs mounted on a directory below

       -n     don't change any file labels (passive check).

       -o outfilename
              Deprecated - This option is no longer supported.

       -p     show progress by printing the number of files in 1k blocks
              unless relabeling the entire OS, that will then show the
              approximate percentage complete. Note that the -p and -v
              options are mutually exclusive.

       -q     Deprecated and replaced by -v. Has no effect on other
              options or on program behavior.

       -r rootpath
              use an alternate root path. Used in meta-selinux for
              OpenEmbedded/Yocto builds to label files under rootpath as
              if they were at /

       -s     take a list of files from standard input instead of using
              a pathname from the command line (equivalent to “-f -” ).

       -v     show changes in file labels and output any inode
              association parameters.  Note that the -v and -p options
              are mutually exclusive.

       -W     display warnings about entries that had no matching files
              by outputting the selabel_stats(3) results.

       -0     the separator for the input items is assumed to be the
              null character (instead of the white space).  The quotes
              and the backslash characters are also treated as normal
              characters that can form valid input.  This option finally
              also disables the end of file string, which is treated
              like any other argument.  Useful when input items might
              contain white space, quote marks or backslashes.  The
              -print0 option of GNU find produces input suitable for
              this mode.

       -T nthreads
              use up to nthreads threads.  Specify 0 to create as many
              threads as there are available CPU cores; 1 to use only a
              single thread (default); or any positive number to use the
              given number of threads (if possible).

ARGUMENTS         top

              The specification file which contains lines of the
              following form:

              regexp [type] context | <<none>>
                     The regular expression is anchored at both ends.
                     The optional type field specifies the file type as
                     shown in the mode field by the ls(1) program, e.g.
                     -- to match only regular files or -d to match only
                     directories.  The context can be an ordinary
                     security context or the string <<none>> to specify
                     that the file is not to have its context changed.
                     The last matching specification is used. If there
                     are multiple hard links to a file that match
                     different specifications and those specifications
                     indicate different security contexts, then a
                     warning is displayed but the file is still labeled
                     based on the last matching specification other than

       pathname ...
              The pathname for the root directory of each file system to
              be relabeled or a specific directory within a filesystem
              that should be recursively descended and relabeled or the
              pathname of a file that should be relabeled.  Not used if
              the -f or the -s option is used.

EXIT STATUS         top

       setfiles exits with status 0 if it encounters no errors. Fatal
       errors result in status 255.  Labeling errors encountered during
       file tree walk(s) result in status 1 if the -C option is
       specified and no other kind of error is encountered, and in
       status 255 otherwise.

NOTES         top

       1.  setfiles operates recursively on directories. Paths leading
           up the final component of the file(s) are not canonicalized
           before labeling.

       2.  If the pathname specifies the root directory and the -v
           option is set and the audit system is running, then an audit
           event is automatically logged stating that a "mass relabel"
           took place using the message label FS_RELABEL.

       3.  To improve performance when relabeling file systems
           recursively the -D option to setfiles will cause it to store
           a SHA1 digest of the spec_file set in an extended attribute
           named security.sehash on each directory specified in
           pathname ...  once the relabeling has been completed
           successfully. These digests will be checked should setfiles
           -D be rerun with the same spec_file and pathname parameters.
           See selinux_restorecon(3) for further details.

           The -I option will ignore the SHA1 digest from each directory
           specified in pathname ...  and provided the -n option is NOT
           set, files will be relabeled as required with the digests
           then being updated provided there are no errors.

AUTHOR         top

       This man page was written by Russell Coker
       <>.  The program was written by Stephen
       Smalley <>

SEE ALSO         top

       restorecon(8), load_policy(8), checkpolicy(8)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the selinux (Security-Enhanced Linux user-
       space libraries and tools) project.  Information about the
       project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a
       bug report for this manual page, see
       This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on 2023-12-22.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2023-05-11.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
       is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

                              10 June 2016                   setfiles(8)

Pages that refer to this page: selinux_restorecon_xattr(3)customizable_types(5)fixfiles(8)restorecon(8)restorecon_xattr(8)selinux(8)