lsattr – View the Second Extended File System Attributes of a File

The lsattr command is used to view the second extended file system attributes of a file in Linux. These attributes provide additional information about a file, such as whether it can be modified or deleted, whether it is compressed, and whether it is immutable. The lsattr command can be used to view these attributes for a single file or for multiple files at once.


The basic syntax for using the lsattr command is as follows:

lsattr [options] [file]

Where options are any of the available options for the command, and file is the name of the file or files for which you want to view attributes.


To view the attributes of a single file, simply enter the command followed by the name of the file:

lsattr myfile.txt

This will display a list of the attributes for the file, such as:

----i-------- myfile.txt

In this example, the file has the i attribute set, which means it is immutable and cannot be modified or deleted.

To view the attributes for multiple files at once, simply enter the command followed by the names of the files:

lsattr file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt

This will display a list of the attributes for each file.


The following options are available for the lsattr command:

Option Description
-a Displays all files, including hidden files.
-d Displays the attributes of a directory, rather than its contents.
-v Displays the version of the file system.
-R Recursively displays the attributes of all files and directories within a specified directory.
-c Displays the attributes in a human-readable format.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you receive an error message when using the lsattr command, it may be due to insufficient permissions. Make sure that you have the necessary permissions to view the attributes of the file or files in question.

If you are having trouble understanding the meaning of a particular attribute, consult the documentation for your file system or search online for more information.


The lsattr command only works with file systems that support extended attributes, such as the ext2, ext3, and ext4 file systems. Other file systems, such as FAT and NTFS, do not support extended attributes and therefore cannot be used with this command.

It is important to exercise caution when modifying file attributes, as some attributes may prevent files from being modified or deleted. Always make sure that you fully understand the implications of modifying an attribute before doing so.