System Administration Guide
Chapter 1, Administering user accounts

Changing ownership of files with an obsolete UID/GID

Changing ownership of files with an obsolete UID/GID

If you have changed or removed a UID or GID, you must change the ownership of their files and check your filesystems for orphaned files. Files without a real owner have a number in the owner and/or group name fields:

   -rw-r--r--   1 obie     pub        68476 Nov 16 12:06 accts.s
   -rw-r--r--   1 15625    pub          508 Oct 31 11:15 balance
   -rw-r--r--   1 obie     pub        40596 Aug 31 13:19 report.2
In this example, the file balance is an orphaned file. The number appears because files are stamped with the ID number rather than the user or group name.

Use the find(C) utility to locate and change the ownership of files. This command line finds all files on the system owned by user UID and changes ownership to user newowner:

find / -user UID -print | xargs -t chown newowner

This variation changes the group ownership:

find / -user GID -print | xargs -t chgrp newgroup


NOTE: These examples assume a search of the entire system (including all mounted filesystems whether local or imported). To restrict the search to a single filesystem, use the pathname instead of /. In addition, you can skip mounted filesystems by including the -mount option, or restrict the search to local filesystems with the -local option.

Instead of changing the ownership, you can perform other actions, such as archiving the files; see ``Locating files''.

See also: