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
Any other hard links to the file (as created using
link(2)) are unaffected.
If 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.
If newpath exists but the operation fails for some reason
rename guarantees to leave an instance of newpath in
However, when overwriting there will probably be a window
in which both oldpath and newpath refer to the file being
If oldpath refers to a symbolic link the link is renamed;
if newpath refers to a symbolic link the link will be
On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned,
and errno is set appropriately.
EISDIR newpath is an existing directory, but oldpath is
not a directory.
EXDEV oldpath and newpath are not on the same filesystem.
ENOTEMPTY or EEXIST
newpath is a non-empty directory, i.e., contains
entries other than "." and "..".
EBUSY 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 -
cannot otherwise handle such situations.)
EINVAL 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.
EMLINK oldpath already has the maximum number of links to
it, or it was a directory and the directory con
taining newpath has the maximum number of links.
A component used as a directory in oldpath or new
path is not, in fact, a directory. Or, oldpath is
a directory, and newpath exists but is not a direc
EFAULT oldpath or newpath points outside your accessible
EACCES Write access to the directory containing oldpath or
newpath is not allowed for the process's effective
uid, or one of the directories in oldpath or new
path did not allow search (execute) permission, or
oldpath was a directory and did not allow write
permission (needed to update the .. entry).
EPERM or EACCES
The directory containing oldpath has the sticky bit
set and the process's effective uid is neither that
of root nor the uid of the file to be deleted nor
that of the directory containing it, or newpath is
an existing file and the directory containing it
has the sticky bit set and the process's effective
uid is neither that of root nor the uid of the file
to be replaced nor that of the directory containing
it, or the filesystem containing pathname does not
support renaming of the type requested.
oldpath or newpath was too long.
ENOENT A directory component in oldpath or newpath does
not exist or is a dangling symbolic link.
ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.
EROFS The file is on a read-only filesystem.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolv
ing oldpath or newpath.
ENOSPC The device containing the file has no room for the
POSIX, 4.3BSD, ANSI C
On NFS filesystems, you can not assume that if the opera
tion 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 link(2) for a similar problem.
link(2), unlink(2), symlink(2), mv(1)