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] [-d] [-l] [-m] [-n] [-e directory] [-E] [-p]
       [-s] [-v] [-W] [-F] [-I|-D] 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.

       -d     show what specification matched each file (do not abort
              validation after ABORT_ON_ERRORS errors).

       -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 this.

       -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, was only used to stop printing inode association

       -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

       -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.

ARGUMENTS         top

              The specification file which contains lines of the following

              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 <<none>>.

       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.

NOTES         top

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

       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 2020-08-13.  (At that
       time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the repos‐
       itory was 2020-08-11.)  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)SELinux(8)