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RENAME

Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (2)
Updated: 2014-08-19
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

rename, renameat, renameat2 - change the name or location of a file  

SYNOPSIS

#include <stdio.h>

int rename(const char *oldpath, const char *newpath);

#include <fcntl.h>           /* Definition of AT_* constants */
#include <stdio.h>

int renameat(int olddirfd, const char *oldpath,
             int newdirfd, const char *newpath);

int renameat2(int olddirfd, const char *oldpath,
              int newdirfd, const char *newpath, unsigned int flags);

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

renameat():

Since glibc 2.10:
_XOPEN_SOURCE >= 700 || _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
Before glibc 2.10:
_ATFILE_SOURCE
 

DESCRIPTION

rename() renames a file, moving it between directories if required. Any other hard links to the file (as created using link(2)) are unaffected. Open file descriptors for oldpath are also unaffected.

If newpath already exists, it will be atomically replaced (subject to a few conditions; see ERRORS below), so that there is no point at which another process attempting to access newpath will find it missing.

If oldpath and newpath are existing hard links referring to the same file, then rename() does nothing, and returns a success status.

If newpath exists but the operation fails for some reason, rename() guarantees to leave an instance of newpath in place.

oldpath can specify a directory. In this case, newpath must either not exist, or it must specify an empty directory.

However, when overwriting there will probably be a window in which both oldpath and newpath refer to the file being renamed.

If oldpath refers to a symbolic link, the link is renamed; if newpath refers to a symbolic link, the link will be overwritten.  

renameat()

The renameat() system call operates in exactly the same way as rename(), except for the differences described here.

If the pathname given in oldpath is relative, then it is interpreted relative to the directory referred to by the file descriptor olddirfd (rather than relative to the current working directory of the calling process, as is done by rename() for a relative pathname).

If oldpath is relative and olddirfd is the special value AT_FDCWD, then oldpath is interpreted relative to the current working directory of the calling process (like rename()).

If oldpath is absolute, then olddirfd is ignored.

The interpretation of newpath is as for oldpath, except that a relative pathname is interpreted relative to the directory referred to by the file descriptor newdirfd.

See openat(2) for an explanation of the need for renameat().  

renameat2()

renameat2() has an additional flags argument. A renameat2() call with a zero flags argument is equivalent to renameat().

The flags argument is a bit mask consisting of zero or more of the following flags:

RENAME_NOREPLACE
Don't overwrite newpath of the rename. Return an error if newpath already exists.
RENAME_EXCHANGE
Atomically exchange oldpath and newpath. Both pathnames must exist but may be of different types (e.g., one could be a non-empty directory and the other a symbolic link).
 

RETURN VALUE

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

ERRORS

EACCES
Write permission is denied for the directory containing oldpath or newpath, or, search permission is denied for one of the directories in the path prefix of oldpath or newpath, or oldpath is a directory and does not allow write permission (needed to update the .. entry). (See also path_resolution(7).)
EBUSY
The rename fails because oldpath or newpath is a directory that is in use by some process (perhaps as current working directory, or as root directory, or because it was open for reading) or is in use by the system (for example as mount point), while the system considers this an error. (Note that there is no requirement to return EBUSY in such cases---there is nothing wrong with doing the rename anyway---but it is allowed to return EBUSY if the system cannot otherwise handle such situations.)
EDQUOT
The user's quota of disk blocks on the filesystem has been exhausted.
EFAULT
oldpath or newpath points outside your accessible address space.
EINVAL
The new pathname contained a path prefix of the old, or, more generally, an attempt was made to make a directory a subdirectory of itself.
EISDIR
newpath is an existing directory, but oldpath is not a directory.
ELOOP
Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving oldpath or newpath.
EMLINK
oldpath already has the maximum number of links to it, or it was a directory and the directory containing newpath has the maximum number of links.
ENAMETOOLONG
oldpath or newpath was too long.
ENOENT
The link named by oldpath does not exist; or, a directory component in newpath does not exist; or, oldpath or newpath is an empty string.
ENOMEM
Insufficient kernel memory was available.
ENOSPC
The device containing the file has no room for the new directory entry.
ENOTDIR
A component used as a directory in oldpath or newpath is not, in fact, a directory. Or, oldpath is a directory, and newpath exists but is not a directory.
ENOTEMPTY or EEXIST
newpath is a nonempty directory, that is, contains entries other than "." and "..".
EPERM or EACCES
The directory containing oldpath has the sticky bit (S_ISVTX) set and the process's effective user ID is neither the user ID of the file to be deleted nor that of the directory containing it, and the process is not privileged (Linux: does not have the CAP_FOWNER capability); or newpath is an existing file and the directory containing it has the sticky bit set and the process's effective user ID is neither the user ID of the file to be replaced nor that of the directory containing it, and the process is not privileged (Linux: does not have the CAP_FOWNER capability); or the filesystem containing pathname does not support renaming of the type requested.
EROFS
The file is on a read-only filesystem.
EXDEV
oldpath and newpath are not on the same mounted filesystem. (Linux permits a filesystem to be mounted at multiple points, but rename() does not work across different mount points, even if the same filesystem is mounted on both.)

The following additional errors can occur for renameat() and renameat2():

EBADF
olddirfd or newdirfd is not a valid file descriptor.
ENOTDIR
oldpath is relative and olddirfd is a file descriptor referring to a file other than a directory; or similar for newpath and newdirfd

The following additional errors can occur for renameat2():

EEXIST
flags contains RENAME_NOREPLACE and newpath already exists.
EINVAL
An invalid flag was specified in flags, or both RENAME_NOREPLACE and RENAME_EXCHANGE were specified.
EINVAL
The filesystem does not support one of the flags in flags.
ENOENT
flags contains RENAME_EXCHANGE and newpath does not exist.
 

VERSIONS

renameat() was added to Linux in kernel 2.6.16; library support was added to glibc in version 2.4.

renameat2() was added to Linux in kernel 3.15.  

CONFORMING TO

rename(): 4.3BSD, C89, C99, POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.

renameat(): POSIX.1-2008.

renameat2() is Linux-specific.  

NOTES

 

Glibc notes

On older kernels where renameat() is unavailable, the glibc wrapper function falls back to the use of rename(). When oldpath and newpath are relative pathnames, glibc constructs pathnames based on the symbolic links in /proc/self/fd that correspond to the olddirfd and newdirfd arguments.  

BUGS

On NFS filesystems, you can not assume that if the operation failed, the file was not renamed. If the server does the rename operation and then crashes, the retransmitted RPC which will be processed when the server is up again causes a failure. The application is expected to deal with this. See link(2) for a similar problem.  

SEE ALSO

mv(1), chmod(2), link(2), symlink(2), unlink(2), path_resolution(7), symlink(7)  

COLOPHON

This page is part of release 3.81 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 http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
renameat()
renameat2()
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
VERSIONS
CONFORMING TO
NOTES
Glibc notes
BUGS
SEE ALSO
COLOPHON


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