chdir man page


This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

chdir — change working directory


#include <unistd.h>

int chdir(const char *path);


The chdir() function shall cause the directory named by the pathname pointed to by the path argument to become the current working directory; that is, the starting point for path searches for pathnames not beginning with '/'.

Return Value

Upon successful completion, 0 shall be returned. Otherwise, -1 shall be returned, the current working directory shall remain unchanged, and errno shall be set to indicate the error.


The chdir() function shall fail if:

Search permission is denied for any component of the pathname.
A loop exists in symbolic links encountered during resolution of the path argument.
The length of a component of a pathname is longer than {NAME_MAX}.
A component of path does not name an existing directory or path is an empty string.
A component of the pathname names an existing file that is neither a directory nor a symbolic link to a directory.

The chdir() function may fail if:

More than {SYMLOOP_MAX} symbolic links were encountered during resolution of the path argument.
The length of a pathname exceeds {PATH_MAX}, or pathname resolution of a symbolic link produced an intermediate result with a length that exceeds {PATH_MAX}.

The following sections are informative.


Changing the Current Working Directory

The following example makes the value pointed to by directory, /tmp, the current working directory.

#include <unistd.h>
char *directory = "/tmp";
int ret;

ret = chdir (directory);


The chdir() function only affects the working directory of the current process.

See Also


The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, <unistd.h>


2013 IEEE/The Open Group POSIX Programmer's Manual