How to Check and Set the Linux File Attributes on the Command Line


In Linux, file attributes are further metadata related to a file or listing that delivers further facts or performance. You can view and alter these attributes by using the lsattr and chattr instructions. Understanding and adequately using the file attributes can increase the safety and overall performance of a Linux system by checking and setting the Linux file attributes, however abundant rookies don’t know the best way to do it in Linux. In this brief guideline, we are going to clarify the easy methods to assess and set the Linux file attributes on the command line.

How to Check and Set the Linux File Attributes on the Command Line

Here, we provides you with a transient dialogue on the 2 instructions that it is easy to attempt to assess and set the file attributes from the terminal.

Lsattr Command

The lsattr command is used to reveal the file attributes of a given file or listing. The command output indicates a collection of letters comparable to special attributes. For occasion, the “i” attribute makes the file immutable. It implies that the file can not be modified or deleted. The “d” attribute signifies that the file is a listing.

To assess the attributes of a file or listing, in simple terms kind “lsattr” accompanied by its identify within the terminal. Here’s an instance:

This command outputs the attributes of the “TestFile.txt” file. The output seems a thing like the subsequent photo. We can see that the “e” attribute is about, indicating that the file will use extents to map the blocks on the disk.

Each letter within the output corresponds to a special attribute:

Attribute Full Form Explanation
a Append solely Using this mode, it is easy to add greater content material to the file, however you can not eliminate the content material from the file.
c Compressed The facts which is written to the file is compressed routinely by the kernel, and it really is uncompressed lower back on the time of studying.
d No dump This attribute ensures that the file backup is not really made within the backups the place the dump is used.
e Extent format For block mapping on the disk, the file makes use of extent.
i Immutable Using this attribute, the file turns into immutable, which implies that you just are restricted from performing operations on the file.
s Secure deletion You can not recuperate the file after deletion employing this selection.
t No tail-merge In this procedure, small facts portions that don’t fill the full block are merged with related facts portions from different data.
u Undeletable The contents of the deleted data are saved.
A No atime replace The entry timestamp of the Linux file is not really up-to-date once you entry the file.
D Synchronous listing updates Modifications made to the file are promptly saved on the disk earlier than they attain the cache.
S Synchronous updates The modifications made to the file are at once written to the disk.

Chattr Command

You can use the chattr command to change the attributes of a specified file or listing. This command takes a + or – flag, accompanied by the attribute to be added or eliminated. For instance, this command makes the “TestFile.txt” file immutable and may not be deleted or modified.

For instance, to eliminate the immutable attribute, use the subsequent command:

File Immutability
One ordinary use case for the chattr +i command is to gain a file or listing immutable to avert unintended deletion or modification. This might be helpful for significant system data or for data which can be steadily backed up.

Improves Performance
Another use case for the chattr +a command is to increase the overall performance of your file system. The “append only” attribute (a) might be added to the data to increase the overall performance on the filesystems that don’t assist the append-only mode. This attribute causes the filesystem to write down the facts to the top of the file solely fairly than altering the prevailing facts, which might increase the overall performance in selected conditions. To set a file to append-only mode, use the subsequent command:

Secure Deletion
The chattr +s command can securely erase the file when it really is deleted. This attribute overwrites the file with zeros earlier than unlinking it, making it way more problematical for a person to recuperate the deleted facts. To set a file for safe deletion, use this command:


File attributes are imperative to Linux techniques and may supply further performance or safety. Understanding and adequately using the lsattr and chattr instructions may also help increase your Linux system’s total overall performance and safety. File immutability, append-only mode, and safe deletion are examples of how the file attributes can obtain special aims. It is advisable to make use of these instructions with warning and after accurately understanding the file attributes and their impression on the system.

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