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How to Recursively Change Permissions, Only Files / Directories, Chmod

Sometimes we have the need to recursively change the permissions, but only for either files or directories.  Here’s a handy way to do this, from the command line.

*Note:  Being recursive, these are powerful commands, and can change a whole bunch of things, in a very short amount of time.  Please do make sure to think it through before running things like these.

To Recursively Give Directories Read & Execute Privileges:

find /path/to/base/dir -type d -exec chmod 755 {} +

To Recursively Give Files Read Privileges (But Not Execute or Write):

find /path/to/base/dir -type f -exec chmod 644 {} +

Both of the above can be tailored to suit your particular needs.

Or, if there are many objects to process:

chmod 755 $(find /path/to/base/dir -type d)
chmod 644 $(find /path/to/base/dir -type f)

Or, to reduce chmod spawning:

find /path/to/base/dir -type d -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 755 
find /path/to/base/dir -type f -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 644

See also: