systemd-tmpfiles, systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service, systemd-tmpfiles-setup-dev.service, systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service, systemd-tmpfiles-clean.timer — Creates, deletes and cleans up volatile and temporary files and directories
systemd-tmpfiles [OPTIONS...] [
systemd-tmpfiles creates, deletes, and cleans up volatile and temporary files
and directories, using the configuration file format and location specified in
tmpfiles.d(5). It must
be invoked with one or more options
--clean, to select the respective subset of operations.
By default, directives from all configuration files are applied. When invoked with
--replace=, arguments specified on the command line are
used instead of the configuration file
PATH. Otherwise, if one or more
absolute filenames are passed on the command line, only the directives in these files are applied. If
-" is specified instead of a filename, directives are read from standard input. If only
the basename of a configuration file is specified, all configuration directories as specified in
searched for a matching file and the file found that has the highest priority is executed.
System services (
systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service) invoke systemd-tmpfiles to create
system files and to perform system wide cleanup. Those services read administrator-controlled
configuration files in
tmpfiles.d/ directories. User services
systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service) also invoke systemd-tmpfiles, but
it reads a separate set of files, which includes user-controlled files under
and administrator-controlled files under
/usr/share/user-tmpfiles.d/. Users may use
this to create and clean up files under their control, but the system instance performs global cleanup
and is not influenced by user configuration. Note that this means a time-based cleanup configured in the
system instance, such as the one typically configured for
/tmp/, will thus also
affect files created by the user instance if they are placed in
/tmp/, even if the
user instance's time-based cleanup is turned off.
To re-apply settings after configuration has been modified, simply restart
systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service, which will apply any settings which can be safely
executed at runtime. To debug systemd-tmpfiles, it may be useful to invoke it
directly from the command line with increased log level (see
The following options are understood:
If this option is passed, all files and
directories marked with
in the configuration files are created or written to. Files
and directories marked with
A have their ownership, access mode and
security labels set.
If this option is passed, all files and directories with an age parameter configured will be cleaned up.
If this option is passed, the contents of
directories marked with
R, and files or directories themselves
Execute "user" configuration, i.e.
files in user configuration directories.
Also execute lines with an exclamation mark.
Only apply rules with paths that start with the specified prefix. This option can be specified multiple times.
Ignore rules with paths that start with the specified prefix. This option can be specified multiple times.
A shortcut for "
--exclude-prefix=/run --exclude-prefix=/sys", i.e. exclude the hierarchies typically backed
by virtual or memory file systems. This is useful in combination with
the specified directory tree contains an OS tree without these virtual/memory file systems mounted
in, as it is typically not desirable to create any files and directories below these subdirectories
if they are supposed to be overmounted during runtime.
Takes a directory path as an argument. All paths will be prefixed with the given alternate
root path, including config search paths.
When this option is used, the libc Name Service Switch (NSS) is bypassed for resolving users
and groups. Instead the files
inside the alternate root are read directly. This means that users/groups not listed in these files
will not be resolved, i.e. LDAP NIS and other complex databases are not considered.
Consider combining this with
-E to ensure the invocation does not create files
or directories below mount points in the OS image operated on that are typically overmounted during
Takes a path to a disk image file or block device node. If specified all operations
are applied to file system in the indicated disk image. This is similar to
but operates on file systems stored in disk images or block devices. The disk image should either
contain just a file system or a set of file systems within a GPT partition table, following the
Specification. For further information on supported disk images, see
switch of the same name.
When this option is given, one or more positional arguments
must be specified. All configuration files found in the directories listed in
will be read, and the configuration given on the command line will be
handled instead of and with the same priority as the configuration file
This option is intended to be used when package installation scripts are running and files belonging to that package are not yet available on disk, so their contents must be given on the command line, but the admin configuration might already exist and should be given higher priority.
Copy the contents of config files to standard output. Before each file, the filename is printed as a comment.
Do not pipe output into a pager.
It is possible to combine
in one invocation (in which case removal and cleanup are executed before creation of new files). For example,
during boot the following command line is executed to ensure that all temporary and volatile directories are
removed and created according to the configuration file:
systemd-tmpfiles --remove --create
The maximum log level of emitted messages (messages with a higher
log level, i.e. less important ones, will be suppressed). Either one of (in order of decreasing
debug, or an integer in the range 0…7. See
for more information.
This setting is only useful when messages are written directly to the terminal, because journalctl(1) and other tools that display logs will color messages based on the log level on their own.
This setting is only useful when messages are written directly to the terminal or a file, because journalctl(1) and other tools that display logs will attach timestamps based on the entry metadata on their own.
Note that the log location is often attached as metadata to journal entries anyway. Including it directly in the message text can nevertheless be convenient when debugging programs.
The destination for log messages. One of
console (log to the attached tty),
console-prefixed (log to
the attached tty but with prefixes encoding the log level and "facility", see syslog(3),
kmsg (log to the kernel circular log buffer),
journal (log to
journal-or-kmsg (log to the journal if available, and to kmsg
auto (determine the appropriate log target automatically, the default),
null (disable log output).
Pager to use when
--no-pager is not given; overrides
$PAGER. If neither
$PAGER are set, a
set of well-known pager implementations are tried in turn, including
more(1), until one is found. If
no pager implementation is discovered no pager is invoked. Setting this environment variable to an empty string
or the value "
cat" is equivalent to passing
$SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set,
(as well as
$PAGER) will be silently ignored.
Override the options passed to less (by default
Users might want to change two options in particular:
See less(1) for more discussion.
Override the charset passed to less (by default "
the invoking terminal is determined to be UTF-8 compatible).
Takes a boolean argument. When true, the "secure" mode of the pager is enabled; if
false, disabled. If
$SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set at all, secure mode is enabled
if the effective UID is not the same as the owner of the login session, see
In secure mode,
LESSSECURE=1 will be set when invoking the pager, and the pager shall
disable commands that open or create new files or start new subprocesses. When
$SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set at all, pagers which are not known to implement
secure mode will not be used. (Currently only
implements secure mode.)
Note: when commands are invoked with elevated privileges, for example under sudo(8) or
must be taken to ensure that unintended interactive features are not enabled. "Secure" mode for the
pager may be enabled automatically as describe above. Setting
or not removing it from the inherited environment allows the user to invoke arbitrary commands. Note
that if the
$PAGER variables are to be
$SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE must be set too. It might be reasonable to completely
disable the pager using
Takes a boolean argument. When true, systemd and related utilities
will use colors in their output, otherwise the output will be monochrome. Additionally, the variable can
take one of the following special values: "
256" to restrict the use
of colors to the base 16 or 256 ANSI colors, respectively. This can be specified to override the automatic
decision based on
$TERM and what the console is connected to.
The value must be a boolean. Controls whether clickable links should be generated in
the output for terminal emulators supporting this. This can be specified to override the decision that
systemd makes based on
$TERM and other conditions.
systemd-tmpfiles tries to avoid changing
the access and modification times on the directories it accesses,
CAP_FOWNER privileges. When
running as non-root, directories which are checked for files to
clean up will have their access time bumped, which might prevent
On success, 0 is returned. If the configuration was syntactically invalid (syntax errors, missing
arguments, …), so some lines had to be ignored, but no other errors occurred,
/usr/include/sysexits.h). If the
configuration was syntactically valid, but could not be executed (lack of permissions, creation of files
in missing directories, invalid contents when writing to
/sys/ values, …),
73 is returned (
1 is returned
Note: when creating items, if the target already exists, but is of the wrong type or otherwise does
not match the requested state, and forced operation has not been requested with "
a message is emitted, but the failure is otherwise ignored.