CHROOT(2) BSD System Calls Manual CHROOT(2)NAMEchroot — change root directory
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
chroot(const char *dirname);
The dirname argument is the address of the pathname of a directory, ter‐
minated by an ASCII NUL. The chroot() system call causes dirname to
become the root directory, that is, the starting point for path searches
of pathnames beginning with ‘/’.
In order for a directory to become the root directory a process must have
execute (search) access for that directory.
It should be noted that chroot() has no effect on the process's current
This call is restricted to the super-user.
Depending on the setting of the ‘kern.chroot_allow_open_directories’
sysctl variable, open filedescriptors which reference directories will
make the chroot() fail as follows:
If ‘kern.chroot_allow_open_directories’ is set to zero, chroot() will
always fail with EPERM if there are any directories open.
If ‘kern.chroot_allow_open_directories’ is set to one (the default),
chroot() will fail with EPERM if there are any directories open and the
process is already subject to the chroot() system call.
Any other value for ‘kern.chroot_allow_open_directories’ will bypass the
check for open directories
Upon successful completion, a value of 0 is returned. Otherwise, a value
of -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate an error.
The chroot() system call will fail and the root directory will be
[ENOTDIR] A component of the path name is not a directory.
[EPERM] The effective user ID is not the super-user, or one or
more filedescriptors are open directories.
[ENAMETOOLONG] A component of a pathname exceeded 255 characters, or
an entire path name exceeded 1023 characters.
[ENOENT] The named directory does not exist.
[EACCES] Search permission is denied for any component of the
[ELOOP] Too many symbolic links were encountered in translat‐
ing the pathname.
[EFAULT] The dirname argument points outside the process's
allocated address space.
[EIO] An I/O error occurred while reading from or writing to
the file system.
SEE ALSOchdir(2), jail(2)HISTORY
The chroot() system call appeared in 4.2BSD.
If the process is able to change its working directory to the target
directory, but another access control check fails (such as a check for
open directories, or a MAC check), it is possible that this system call
may return an error, with the working directory of the process left
BSD June 4, 1993 BSD