Home » How to recursively chmod all directories except files?

How to recursively chmod all directories except files?

Solutons:


To recursively give directories read&execute privileges:

find /path/to/base/dir -type d -exec chmod 755 {} +

To recursively give files read privileges:

find /path/to/base/dir -type f -exec chmod 644 {} +

Or, if there are many objects to process:

chmod 755 $(find /path/to/base/dir -type d)
chmod 644 $(find /path/to/base/dir -type f)

Or, to reduce chmod spawning:

find /path/to/base/dir -type d -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 755 
find /path/to/base/dir -type f -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 644

A common reason for this sort of thing is to set directories to 755 but files to 644. In this case there’s a slightly quicker way than nik’s find example:

chmod -R u+rwX,go+rX,go-w /path

Meaning:

  • -R = recursively;
  • u+rwX = Users can read, write and execute;
  • go+rX = group and others can read and execute;
  • go-w = group and others can’t write

The important thing to note here is that uppercase X acts differently to lowercase x. In manual we can read:

The execute/search bits if the file is a directory or any of the execute/search bits are set in the original (unmodified) mode.

In other words, chmod u+X on a file won’t set the execute bit; and g+X will only set it if it’s already set for the user.

If you want to make sure the files are set to 644 and there are files in the path which have the execute flag, you will have to remove the execute flag first. +X doesn’t remove the execute flag from files who already have it.

Example:

chmod -R ugo-x,u+rwX,go+rX,go-w path

Update: this appears to fail because the first change (ugo-x) makes the directory unexecutable, so all the files underneath it are not changed.

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