rename() - Unix, Linux System Call
rename - change the name or location of a file
int rename(const char *oldpath, const char *newpath);
rename() renames a file, moving it between directories if required.
Any other hard links to the file (as created using
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.
newpath exists but the operation fails for some reason
rename() guarantees to leave an instance of
newpath in place.
However, when overwriting there will probably be a window in which
newpath refer to the file being renamed.
oldpath refers to a symbolic link the link is renamed; if
newpath refers to a symbolic link the link will be overwritten.
On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and
errno is set appropriately.
Write permission is denied for the directory containing
newpath, or, search permission is denied for one of the directories
in the path prefix of
oldpath is a directory and does not allow write permission (needed to update
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.)
oldpath or newpath points outside your accessible address space. |
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.
newpath is an existing directory, but
oldpath is not a directory.
Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving
oldpath or newpath. |
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.
oldpath or newpath was too long. |
A directory component in
oldpath or newpath does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link.
Insufficient kernel memory was available.
The device containing the file has no room for the new directory
A component used as a directory in
oldpath or newpath is not, in fact, a directory.
oldpath is a directory, and
newpath exists but is not a directory.
ENOTEMPTY or EEXIST |
newpath is a non-empty directory, i.e., contains entries other than "." and "..".
EPERM or EACCES |
The directory containing
oldpath has the sticky bit
(S_ISVTX) set and the processs 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
newpath is an existing file and the directory containing it has the sticky bit set
and the processs 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
or the filesystem containing
pathname does not support renaming of the type requested.
The file is on a read-only filesystem.
oldpath and newpath are not on the same mounted filesystem.
(Linux permits a filesystem to be mounted at multiple points, but
does not work across different mount points,
even if the same filesystem is mounted on both.)
4.3BSD, C89, POSIX.1-2001.
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
for a similar problem.