updatedb - update a database for plocate


updatedb [OPTION]...


updatedb creates or updates a database used by locate (1). If the database already exists, its data is reused to avoid rereading directories that have not changed.

updatedb is usually run daily from a systemd.timer (8) to update the default database.


updatedb returns with exit status 0 on success, 1 on error.


The PRUNE_BIND_MOUNTS, PRUNEFS, PRUNENAMES and PRUNEPATHS variables, which are modified by some of the options, are documented in detail in updatedb.conf (5).

-f, --add-prunefs FS Add entries in white-space-separated list FS to PRUNEFS.

-n, --add-prunenames NAMES Add entries in white-space-separated list NAMES to PRUNENAMES.

-e, --add-prunepaths PATHS Add entries in white-space-separated list PATHS to PRUNEPATHS.

-U, --database-root PATH Store only results of scanning the file system subtree rooted at PATH to the generated database. The whole file system is scanned by default.

locate (1) outputs entries as absolute path names which don't contain symbolic links, regardless of the form of PATH.

--debug-pruning Write debugging information about pruning decisions to standard error output.

-h, --help Write a summary of the available options to standard output and exit successfully.

-o, --output FILE Write the database to FILE instead of using the default database.

--prune-bind-mounts FLAG Set PRUNE_BIND_MOUNTS to FLAG, overriding the configuration file.

--prunefs FS Set PRUNEFS to FS, overriding the configuration file.

--prunenames NAMES Set PRUNENAMES to NAMES, overriding the configuration file.

--prunepaths PATHS Set PRUNEPATHS to PATHS, overriding the configuration file.

-l, --require-visibility FLAG Set the *(lqrequire file visibility before reporting it*(rq flag in the generated database to FLAG.

If FLAG is 0 or no, or if the database file is readable by "others" or it is not owned by plocate, locate (1) outputs the database entries even if the user running locate (1) could not have read the directory necessary to find out the file described by the database entry.

If FLAG is 1 or yes (the default), locate (1) checks the permissions of parent directories of each entry before reporting it to the invoking user. To make the file existence truly hidden from other users, the database group is set to plocate and the database permissions prohibit reading the database by users using other means than locate (1) which is set-gid plocate.

Note that the visibility flag is checked only if the database is owned by plocate and it is not readable by "others".

-v, --verbose Output path names of files to standard output, as soon as they are found.

-V, --version Write information about the version and license of locate on standard output and exit successfully.


To create a private plocate database as a user other than root, run

updatedb -l 0 -o db_file -U source_directory

Note that all users that can read db_file can get the complete list of files in the subtree of source_directory.


/etc/updatedb.conf A configuration file. See updatedb.conf (5).

/var/local/lib/plocate/plocate.db The database updated by default. Uses exactly the same format as the one used by mlocate (1)'s updatedb, so they can be shared.


Databases built with --require-visibility no allow users to find names of files and directories of other users, which they would not otherwise be able to do.


Miloslav Trmac <>

Steinar H. Gunderson <>


locate (1) updatedb.conf (5)

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