systemd-tmpfiles(8) — Linux manual page


SYSTEMD-TMPFILES(8)         systemd-tmpfiles         SYSTEMD-TMPFILES(8)

NAME         top

       systemd-tmpfiles, systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service, systemd-
       tmpfiles-setup-dev-early.service, systemd-tmpfiles-setup-
       dev.service, systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service, systemd-tmpfiles-
       clean.timer - Creates, deletes and cleans up volatile and
       temporary files and directories

SYNOPSIS         top

       systemd-tmpfiles [OPTIONS...] [CONFIGFILE...]

       System units:

       User units:

DESCRIPTION         top

       systemd-tmpfiles creates, deletes, and cleans up volatile and
       temporary files and directories, using the configuration file
       format and location specified in tmpfiles.d(5). It must be
       invoked with one or more options --create, --remove, and --clean,
       to select the respective subset of operations.

       By default, directives from all configuration files are applied.
       When invoked with --replace=PATH, arguments specified on the
       command line are used instead of the configuration file PATH.
       Otherwise, if one or more absolute filenames are passed on the
       command line, only the directives in these files are applied. If
       "-" is specified instead of a filename, directives are read from
       standard input. If only the basename of a configuration file is
       specified, all configuration directories as specified in
       tmpfiles.d(5) are searched for a matching file and the file found
       that has the highest priority is executed.

       System services (systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service,
       systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service) invoke systemd-tmpfiles to create
       system files and to perform system wide cleanup. Those services
       read administrator-controlled configuration files in tmpfiles.d/
       directories. User services (systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service,
       systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service) also invoke systemd-tmpfiles, but
       it reads a separate set of files, which includes user-controlled
       files under ~/.config/user-tmpfiles.d/ and
       ~/.local/share/user-tmpfiles.d/, and administrator-controlled
       files under /usr/share/user-tmpfiles.d/. Users may use this to
       create and clean up files under their control, but the system
       instance performs global cleanup and is not influenced by user
       configuration. Note that this means a time-based cleanup
       configured in the system instance, such as the one typically
       configured for /tmp/, will thus also affect files created by the
       user instance if they are placed in /tmp/, even if the user
       instance's time-based cleanup is turned off.

       To re-apply settings after configuration has been modified,
       simply restart systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service, which will apply
       any settings which can be safely executed at runtime. To debug
       systemd-tmpfiles, it may be useful to invoke it directly from the
       command line with increased log level (see $SYSTEMD_LOG_LEVEL

OPTIONS         top

       The following options are understood:

           If this option is passed, all files and directories marked
           with f, F, w, d, D, v, p, L, c, b, m in the configuration
           files are created or written to. Files and directories marked
           with z, Z, t, T, a, and A have their ownership, access mode
           and security labels set.

           If this option is passed, all files and directories with an
           age parameter configured will be cleaned up.

           If this option is passed, the contents of directories marked
           with D or R, and files or directories themselves marked with
           r or R are removed unless an exclusive or shared BSD lock is
           taken on them (see flock(2)).

           Execute "user" configuration, i.e.  tmpfiles.d files in user
           configuration directories.

           Added in version 236.

           Also execute lines with an exclamation mark. Lines that are
           not safe to be executed on a running system may be marked in
           this way.  systemd-tmpfiles is executed in early boot with
           --boot specified and will execute those lines. When invoked
           again later, it should be called without --boot.

           Added in version 209.

           Ignore configuration lines pertaining to unknown users or
           groups. This option is intended to be used in early boot
           before all users or groups have been created.

           Added in version 254.

           Only apply rules with paths that start with the specified
           prefix. This option can be specified multiple times.

           Added in version 212.

           Ignore rules with paths that start with the specified prefix.
           This option can be specified multiple times.

           Added in version 207.

           A shortcut for "--exclude-prefix=/dev --exclude-prefix=/proc
           --exclude-prefix=/run --exclude-prefix=/sys", i.e. exclude
           the hierarchies typically backed by virtual or memory file
           systems. This is useful in combination with --root=, if the
           specified directory tree contains an OS tree without these
           virtual/memory file systems mounted in, as it is typically
           not desirable to create any files and directories below these
           subdirectories if they are supposed to be overmounted during

           Added in version 247.

           Takes a directory path as an argument. All paths will be
           prefixed with the given alternate root path, including config
           search paths.

           When this option is used, the libc Name Service Switch (NSS)
           is bypassed for resolving users and groups. Instead the files
           /etc/passwd and /etc/group inside the alternate root are read
           directly. This means that users/groups not listed in these
           files will not be resolved, i.e. LDAP NIS and other complex
           databases are not considered.

           Consider combining this with -E to ensure the invocation does
           not create files or directories below mount points in the OS
           image operated on that are typically overmounted during

           Added in version 212.

           Takes a path to a disk image file or block device node. If
           specified all operations are applied to file system in the
           indicated disk image. This is similar to --root= but operates
           on file systems stored in disk images or block devices. The
           disk image should either contain just a file system or a set
           of file systems within a GPT partition table, following the
           Discoverable Partitions Specification[1]. For further
           information on supported disk images, see systemd-nspawn(1)'s
           switch of the same name.

           Implies -E.

           Added in version 247.

           Takes an image policy string as argument, as per
           systemd.image-policy(7). The policy is enforced when
           operating on the disk image specified via --image=, see
           above. If not specified defaults to the "*" policy, i.e. all
           recognized file systems in the image are used.

           When this option is given, one or more positional arguments
           must be specified. All configuration files found in the
           directories listed in tmpfiles.d(5) will be read, and the
           configuration given on the command line will be handled
           instead of and with the same priority as the configuration
           file PATH.

           This option is intended to be used when package installation
           scripts are running and files belonging to that package are
           not yet available on disk, so their contents must be given on
           the command line, but the admin configuration might already
           exist and should be given higher priority.

           Added in version 238.

           Copy the contents of config files to standard output. Before
           each file, the filename is printed as a comment.

           Copy the contents of config files to standard output. Only
           the "interesting" parts of the configuration files are
           printed, comments and empty lines are skipped. Before each
           file, the filename is printed as a comment.

           Do not pipe output into a pager.

       -h, --help
           Print a short help text and exit.

           Print a short version string and exit.

       It is possible to combine --create, --clean, and --remove in one
       invocation (in which case removal and cleanup are executed before
       creation of new files). For example, during boot the following
       command line is executed to ensure that all temporary and
       volatile directories are removed and created according to the
       configuration file:

           systemd-tmpfiles --remove --create

CREDENTIALS         top

       systemd-tmpfiles supports the service credentials logic as
       implemented by ImportCredential=/LoadCredential=/SetCredential=
       (see systemd.exec(1) for details). The following credentials are
       used when passed in:

           The contents of this credential may contain additional lines
           to operate on. The credential contents should follow the same
           format as any other tmpfiles.d/ drop-in configuration file.
           If this credential is passed it is processed after all of the
           drop-in files read from the file system. The lines in the
           credential can hence augment existing lines of the OS, but
           not override them.

           Added in version 252.

       Note that by default the systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service unit file
       (and related unit files) is set up to inherit the
       "tmpfiles.extra" credential from the service manager.

ENVIRONMENT         top

           The maximum log level of emitted messages (messages with a
           higher log level, i.e. less important ones, will be
           suppressed). Either one of (in order of decreasing
           importance) emerg, alert, crit, err, warning, notice, info,
           debug, or an integer in the range 0...7. See syslog(3) for
           more information.

           A boolean. If true, messages written to the tty will be
           colored according to priority.

           This setting is only useful when messages are written
           directly to the terminal, because journalctl(1) and other
           tools that display logs will color messages based on the log
           level on their own.

           A boolean. If true, console log messages will be prefixed
           with a timestamp.

           This setting is only useful when messages are written
           directly to the terminal or a file, because journalctl(1) and
           other tools that display logs will attach timestamps based on
           the entry metadata on their own.

           A boolean. If true, messages will be prefixed with a filename
           and line number in the source code where the message

           Note that the log location is often attached as metadata to
           journal entries anyway. Including it directly in the message
           text can nevertheless be convenient when debugging programs.

           The destination for log messages. One of console (log to the
           attached tty), console-prefixed (log to the attached tty but
           with prefixes encoding the log level and "facility", see
           syslog(3), kmsg (log to the kernel circular log buffer),
           journal (log to the journal), journal-or-kmsg (log to the
           journal if available, and to kmsg otherwise), auto (determine
           the appropriate log target automatically, the default), null
           (disable log output).

           Pager to use when --no-pager is not given; overrides $PAGER.
           If neither $SYSTEMD_PAGER nor $PAGER are set, a set of
           well-known pager implementations are tried in turn, including
           less(1) and more(1), until one is found. If no pager
           implementation is discovered no pager is invoked. Setting
           this environment variable to an empty string or the value
           "cat" is equivalent to passing --no-pager.

           Note: if $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set, $SYSTEMD_PAGER (as
           well as $PAGER) will be silently ignored.

           Override the options passed to less (by default "FRSXMK").

           Users might want to change two options in particular:

               This option instructs the pager to exit immediately when
               Ctrl+C is pressed. To allow less to handle Ctrl+C itself
               to switch back to the pager command prompt, unset this

               If the value of $SYSTEMD_LESS does not include "K", and
               the pager that is invoked is less, Ctrl+C will be ignored
               by the executable, and needs to be handled by the pager.

               This option instructs the pager to not send termcap
               initialization and deinitialization strings to the
               terminal. It is set by default to allow command output to
               remain visible in the terminal even after the pager
               exits. Nevertheless, this prevents some pager
               functionality from working, in particular paged output
               cannot be scrolled with the mouse.

           See less(1) for more discussion.

           Override the charset passed to less (by default "utf-8", if
           the invoking terminal is determined to be UTF-8 compatible).

           Takes a boolean argument. When true, the "secure" mode of the
           pager is enabled; if false, disabled. If $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE
           is not set at all, secure mode is enabled if the effective
           UID is not the same as the owner of the login session, see
           geteuid(2) and sd_pid_get_owner_uid(3). In secure mode,
           LESSSECURE=1 will be set when invoking the pager, and the
           pager shall disable commands that open or create new files or
           start new subprocesses. When $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set
           at all, pagers which are not known to implement secure mode
           will not be used. (Currently only less(1) implements secure

           Note: when commands are invoked with elevated privileges, for
           example under sudo(8) or pkexec(1), care must be taken to
           ensure that unintended interactive features are not enabled.
           "Secure" mode for the pager may be enabled automatically as
           describe above. Setting SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE=0 or not removing
           it from the inherited environment allows the user to invoke
           arbitrary commands. Note that if the $SYSTEMD_PAGER or $PAGER
           variables are to be honoured, $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE must be
           set too. It might be reasonable to completely disable the
           pager using --no-pager instead.

           Takes a boolean argument. When true, systemd and related
           utilities will use colors in their output, otherwise the
           output will be monochrome. Additionally, the variable can
           take one of the following special values: "16", "256" to
           restrict the use of colors to the base 16 or 256 ANSI colors,
           respectively. This can be specified to override the automatic
           decision based on $TERM and what the console is connected to.

           The value must be a boolean. Controls whether clickable links
           should be generated in the output for terminal emulators
           supporting this. This can be specified to override the
           decision that systemd makes based on $TERM and other


       systemd-tmpfiles tries to avoid changing the access and
       modification times on the directories it accesses, which requires
       CAP_FOWNER privileges. When running as non-root, directories
       which are checked for files to clean up will have their access
       time bumped, which might prevent their cleanup.

EXIT STATUS         top

       On success, 0 is returned. If the configuration was syntactically
       invalid (syntax errors, missing arguments, ...), so some lines
       had to be ignored, but no other errors occurred, 65 is returned
       (EX_DATAERR from /usr/include/sysexits.h). If the configuration
       was syntactically valid, but could not be executed (lack of
       permissions, creation of files in missing directories, invalid
       contents when writing to /sys/ values, ...), 73 is returned
       (EX_CANTCREAT from /usr/include/sysexits.h). Otherwise, 1 is
       returned (EXIT_FAILURE from /usr/include/stdlib.h).

       Note: when creating items, if the target already exists, but is
       of the wrong type or otherwise does not match the requested
       state, and forced operation has not been requested with "+", a
       message is emitted, but the failure is otherwise ignored.

SEE ALSO         top

       systemd(1), tmpfiles.d(5)

NOTES         top

        1. Discoverable Partitions Specification

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the systemd (systemd system and service
       manager) 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 2023-12-22.)  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

systemd 255                                          SYSTEMD-TMPFILES(8)

Pages that refer to this page: coredump.conf(5)repart.d(5)systemd.exec(5)tmpfiles.d(5)systemd.directives(7)systemd.index(7)systemd-coredump(8)