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seekdir - Man Page

set the position of a directory stream


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.


#include <dirent.h>

void seekdir(DIR *dirp, long loc);


The seekdir() function shall set the position of the next readdir() operation on the directory stream specified by dirp to the position specified by loc. The value of loc should have been returned from an earlier call to telldir() using the same directory stream. The new position reverts to the one associated with the directory stream when telldir() was performed.

If the value of loc was not obtained from an earlier call to telldir(), or if a call to rewinddir() occurred between the call to telldir() and the call to seekdir(), the results of subsequent calls to readdir() are unspecified.

Return Value

The seekdir() function shall not return a value.


No errors are defined.

The following sections are informative.



Application Usage



The original standard developers perceived that there were restrictions on the use of the seekdir() and telldir() functions related to implementation details, and for that reason these functions need not be supported on all POSIX-conforming systems. They are required on implementations supporting the XSI option.

One of the perceived problems of implementation is that returning to a given point in a directory is quite difficult to describe formally, in spite of its intuitive appeal, when systems that use B-trees, hashing functions, or other similar mechanisms to order their directories are considered. The definition of seekdir() and telldir() does not specify whether, when using these interfaces, a given directory entry will be seen at all, or more than once.

On systems not supporting these functions, their capability can sometimes be accomplished by saving a filename found by readdir() and later using rewinddir() and a loop on readdir() to relocate the position from which the filename was saved.

Future Directions


See Also

fdopendir(), readdir(), telldir()

The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2017, <dirent.h>, <sys_types.h>

Referenced By

dirent.h(0p), telldir(3p).

2017 IEEE/The Open Group POSIX Programmer's Manual