pivot_root - change the root filesystem
int pivot_root(const char *new_root, const char
: There is no glibc wrapper for this system call; see NOTES.
() moves the root filesystem of the calling process to the
and makes new_root
the new root filesystem of
the calling process.
The typical use of pivot_root
() is during system startup, when the system
mounts a temporary root filesystem (e.g., an initrd
), then mounts the
real root filesystem, and eventually turns the latter into the current root of
all relevant processes or threads.
() may or may not change the current root and the current
working directory of any processes or threads which use the old root
directory. The caller of pivot_root
() must ensure that processes with
root or current working directory at the old root operate correctly in either
case. An easy way to ensure this is to change their root and current working
directory to new_root
before invoking pivot_root
The paragraph above is intentionally vague because the implementation of
() may change in the future. At the time of writing,
() changes root and current working directory of each process
or thread to new_root
if they point to the old root directory. This is
necessary in order to prevent kernel threads from keeping the old root
directory busy with their root and current working directory, even if they
never access the filesystem in any way. In the future, there may be a
mechanism for kernel threads to explicitly relinquish any access to the
filesystem, such that this fairly intrusive mechanism can be removed from
Note that this also applies to the calling process: pivot_root
() may or
may not affect its current working directory. It is therefore recommended to
immediately after pivot_root
The following restrictions apply to new_root
- They must be directories.
- new_root and put_old must not be on the same
filesystem as the current root.
- put_old must be underneath new_root, that is,
adding a nonzero number of /.. to the string pointed to by
put_old must yield the same directory as new_root.
- No other filesystem may be mounted on put_old.
See also pivot_root
(8) for additional usage examples.
If the current root is not a mount point (e.g., after chroot
(), see also below), not the old root directory, but the
mount point of that filesystem is mounted on put_old
does not have to be a mount point. In this case,
will show the mount point of the filesystem containing
as root ( /
On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno
() may return (in errno
) any of the errors returned by
(2). Additionally, it may return:
- new_root or put_old are on the current root
filesystem, or a filesystem is already mounted on put_old.
- put_old is not underneath new_root.
- new_root or put_old is not a directory.
- The calling process does not have the CAP_SYS_ADMIN
() was introduced in Linux 2.3.41.
() is Linux-specific and hence is not portable.
Glibc does not provide a wrapper for this system call; call it using
() should not have to change root and current working directory
of all other processes in the system.
Some of the more obscure uses of pivot_root
() may quickly lead to
This page is part of release 4.13 of the Linux man-pages
description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest
version of this page, can be found at