chown Linux Command

chown used to change the ownership of one or more files to newowner. newowner is either a user ID number or a login name located in /etc/passwd. chown also accepts users in the form newowner:newgroup or newowner.newgroup. The last two forms change the group ownership as well. If no owner is specified, the owner is unchanged. With a period or colon but no group, the group is changed to that of the new owner. Only the current owner of a file or a privileged user may change the owner.

chown Syntax

chown [options] newowner files chown [options] –reference=filename files

chown options

-c, –changes

Print information about files that are changed.


Follow symbolic links.

-f, –silent, –quiet

Do not print error messages about files that cannot be changed.

-h, –no-dereference

Change the ownership of each symbolic link (on systems that allow it), rather than the referenced file.

-v, –verbose

Print information about all files that chown attempts to change, whether or not they are actually changed.

-R, –recursive

Traverse subdirectories recursively, applying changes.


Change owner to the owner of filename instead of specifying a new owner explicitly.


Print help message and then exit.


Print version information and then exit.

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