updatedb man page

updatedb — update a database for mlocate


updatedb [OPTION]...


updatedb creates or updates a database used by locate(1). If the database already exists, its data is reused to avoid rereading directories that have not changed.

updatedb is usually run daily by cron(8) to update the default database.

Exit Status

updatedb returns with exit status 0 on success, 1 on error.


The PRUNE_BIND_MOUNTS, PRUNEFS, PRUNENAMES and PRUNEPATHS variables, which are modified by some of the options, are documented in detail in updatedb.conf(5).

-f, --add-prunefs FS

Add entries in white-space-separated list FS to PRUNEFS.

-n, --add-prunenames NAMES

Add entries in white-space-separated list NAMES to PRUNENAMES.

-e, --add-prunepaths PATHS

Add entries in white-space-separated list PATHS to PRUNEPATHS.

-U, --database-root PATH

Store only results of scanning the file system subtree rooted at PATH to the generated database. The whole file system is scanned by default.

locate(1) outputs entries as absolute path names which don't contain symbolic links, regardless of the form of PATH.


Write debugging information about pruning decisions to standard error output.

-h, --help

Write a summary of the available options to standard output and exit successfully.

-o, --output FILE

Write the database to FILE instead of using the default database.

--prune-bind-mounts FLAG

Set PRUNE_BIND_MOUNTS to FLAG, overriding the configuration file.

--prunefs FS

Set PRUNEFS to FS, overriding the configuration file.

--prunenames NAMES

Set PRUNENAMES to NAMES, overriding the configuration file.

--prunepaths PATHS

Set PRUNEPATHS to PATHS, overriding the configuration file.

-l, --require-visibility FLAG

Set the “require file visibility before reporting it” flag in the generated database to FLAG.

If FLAG is 0 or no, or if the database file is readable by "others" or it is not owned by slocate, locate(1) outputs the database entries even if the user running locate(1) could not have read the directory necessary to find out the file described by the database entry.

If FLAG is 1 or yes (the default), locate(1) checks the permissions of parent directories of each entry before reporting it to the invoking user. To make the file existence truly hidden from other users, the database group is set to slocate and the database permissions prohibit reading the database by users using other means than locate(1), which is set-gid slocate.

Note that the visibility flag is checked only if the database is owned by slocate and it is not readable by "others".

-v, --verbose

Output path names of files to standard output, as soon as they are found.

-V, --version

Write information about the version and license of locate on standard output and exit successfully.


To create a private mlocate database as an user other than root, run

updatedb -l 0 -o db_file -U source_directory

Note that all users that can read db_file can get the complete list of files in the subtree of source_directory.



A configuration file.  See updatedb.conf(5).


The database updated by default.


Databases built with --require-visibility no allow users to find names of files and directories of other users, which they would not otherwise be able to do.


The accompanying locate(1) utility was designed to be compatible to slocate and attempts to be compatible to GNU locate where possible. This is not the case for updatedb.


Miloslav Trmac <mitr@redhat.com>

See Also

locate(1), mlocate.db(5), updatedb.conf(5)

Referenced By

locate(1), mlocate.db(5), systemd-run(1), updatedb.conf(5).

Jun 2008 mlocate