chdir man page

chdir, fchdir — change working directory


#include <unistd.h>

int chdir(const char *path);
int fchdir(int fd);

Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):


   || /* Since glibc 2.12: */ _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
   || /* Glibc up to and including 2.19: */ _BSD_SOURCE


chdir() changes the current working directory of the calling process to the directory specified in path.

fchdir() is identical to chdir(); the only difference is that the directory is given as an open file descriptor.

Return Value

On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.


Depending on the filesystem, other errors can be returned. The more general errors for chdir() are listed below:


Search permission is denied for one of the components of path. (See also path_resolution(7).)


path points outside your accessible address space.


An I/O error occurred.


Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving path.


path is too long.


The directory specified in path does not exist.


Insufficient kernel memory was available.


A component of path is not a directory.

The general errors for fchdir() are listed below:


Search permission was denied on the directory open on fd.


fd is not a valid file descriptor.

Conforming to

POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, SVr4, 4.4BSD.


The current working directory is the starting point for interpreting relative pathnames (those not starting with '/').

A child process created via fork(2) inherits its parent's current working directory. The current working directory is left unchanged by execve(2).

See Also

chroot(2), getcwd(3), path_resolution(7)


This page is part of release 4.16 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at

Referenced By

archive_write_disk(3), bmake(1), chroot(2), clone(2), cpuset(7), dirfd(3), explain(1), explain(3), explain_chdir(3), explain_chdir_or_die(3), explain_fchdir(3), explain_fchdir_or_die(3), fastrm(1), filefuncs.3am(3), fts(3), ftw(3), getcwd(3), innfeed(8), mc(1), open(2), opendkim.conf(5), opendmarc.conf(5), path_resolution(7), perlfunc(1), pivot_root(2), pthreads(7), rmdir(2), signal-safety(7), star(1), stress-ng(1), syscalls(2), unshare(2), webalizer(1).

The man page fchdir(2) is an alias of chdir(2).

2017-09-15 Linux Programmer's Manual