RENAME(2) BSD System Calls Manual RENAME(2)NAMErename — change the name of a file
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
rename(const char *from, const char *to);
renameat(int fromfd, const char *from, int tofd, const char *to);
The rename() system call causes the link named from to be renamed as to.
If to exists, it is first removed. Both from and to must be of the same
type (that is, both directories or both non-directories), and must reside
on the same file system.
The rename() system call guarantees that if to already exists, an
instance of to will always exist, even if the system should crash in the
middle of the operation.
If the final component of from is a symbolic link, the symbolic link is
renamed, not the file or directory to which it points.
The renameat() system call is equivalent to rename() except in the case
where either from or to specifies a relative path. If from is a relative
path, the file to be renamed is located relative to the directory associ‐
ated with the file descriptor fromfd instead of the current working
directory. If the to is a relative path, the same happens only relative
to the directory associated with tofd. If the renameat() is passed the
special value AT_FDCWD in the fromfd or tofd parameter, the current work‐
ing directory is used in the determination of the file for the respective
The rename() function returns the value 0 if successful; otherwise the
value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the
The rename() system call will fail and neither of the argument files will
be affected if:
[ENAMETOOLONG] A component of either pathname exceeded 255 charac‐
ters, or the entire length of either path name
exceeded 1023 characters.
[ENOENT] A component of the from path does not exist, or a path
prefix of to does not exist.
[EACCES] A component of either path prefix denies search per‐
[EACCES] The requested link requires writing in a directory
with a mode that denies write permission.
[EACCES] The directory pointed at by the from argument denies
write permission, and the operation would move it to
another parent directory.
[EPERM] The file pointed at by the from argument has its
immutable, undeletable or append-only flag set, see
the chflags(2) manual page for more information.
[EPERM] The parent directory of the file pointed at by the
from argument has its immutable or append-only flag
[EPERM] The parent directory of the file pointed at by the to
argument has its immutable flag set.
[EPERM] The directory containing from is marked sticky, and
neither the containing directory nor from are owned by
the effective user ID.
[EPERM] The file pointed at by the to argument exists, the
directory containing to is marked sticky, and neither
the containing directory nor to are owned by the
effective user ID.
[ELOOP] Too many symbolic links were encountered in translat‐
ing either pathname.
[ENOTDIR] A component of either path prefix is not a directory.
[ENOTDIR] The from argument is a directory, but to is not a
[EISDIR] The to argument is a directory, but from is not a
[EXDEV] The link named by to and the file named by from are on
different logical devices (file systems). Note that
this error code will not be returned if the implemen‐
tation permits cross-device links.
[ENOSPC] The directory in which the entry for the new name is
being placed cannot be extended because there is no
space left on the file system containing the direc‐
[EDQUOT] The directory in which the entry for the new name is
being placed cannot be extended because the user's
quota of disk blocks on the file system containing the
directory has been exhausted.
[EIO] An I/O error occurred while making or updating a
[EROFS] The requested link requires writing in a directory on
a read-only file system.
[EFAULT] Path points outside the process's allocated address
[EINVAL] The from argument is a parent directory of to, or an
attempt is made to rename ‘.’ or ‘..’.
[ENOTEMPTY] The to argument is a directory and is not empty.
In addition to the errors returned by the rename(), the renameat() may
[EBADF] The from argument does not specify an absolute path
and the fromfd argument is neither AT_FDCWD nor a
valid file descriptor open for searching, or the to
argument does not specify an absolute path and the
tofd argument is neither AT_FDCWD nor a valid file
descriptor open for searching.
[ENOTDIR] The from argument is not an absolute path and fromfd
is neither AT_FDCWD nor a file descriptor associated
with a directory, or the to argument is not an abso‐
lute path and tofd is neither AT_FDCWD nor a file
descriptor associated with a directory.
SEE ALSOchflags(2), open(2), symlink(7)STANDARDS
The rename() system call is expected to conform to ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996
(“POSIX.1”). The renameat() system call follows The Open Group Extended
API Set 2 specification.
The renameat() system call appeared in FreeBSD 8.0.
BSD April 10, 2008 BSD