Go to main content

man pages section 1: User Commands

Exit Print View

Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2022



setlabel - change effective sensitivity label of files


/usr/bin/setlabel newlabel filename...


The setlabel command applies the specified label to the files or directories that exist within multilevel ZFS file systems. Refer to setflabel(3TSOL) manual page for a complete description of the conditions that are required to satisfy this command, and the privileges that are needed to execute this command.

When Trusted Extensions is enabled, setlabel can also be used with single-level file systems. In that case, files are moved into the zone whose label corresponds to newlabel. The old file pathname is adjusted so that it is relative to the root pathname of the new zone. If the old pathname for a file's parent directory does not exist as a directory in the new zone, the file is not moved. Once moved, the file might no longer be accessible in the current zone.

Unless newlabel and filename have been specified, no labels are set.

Labels are defined by the security administrator at your site. The system always displays labels in uppercase. Users can enter labels in any combination of uppercase and lowercase. Incremental changes to labels are supported.

Exit Status

setlabel exits with one of the following values:


Successful completion.


Usage error.


Error in getting, setting or translating the label.


On the command line, enclose the label in double quotes unless the label is only one word. Without quotes, a second word or letter separated by a space is interpreted as a second argument.

% setlabel SECRET somefile
% setlabel "TOP SECRET" somefile

Use any combination of upper and lowercase letters. You can separate items in a label with blanks, tabs, commas or slashes (/). Do not use any other punctuation.

% setlabel "ts a b" somefile
% setlabel "ts,a,b" somefile
% setlabel "ts/a b" somefile
% setlabel " TOP SECRET A B   " somefile


Example 1 Set a Label

To set somefile's label to SECRET A:

example% setlabel "Secret a" somefile
Example 2 Turn On a Compartment

Plus and minus signs can be used to modify an existing label. A plus sign turns on the specified compartment for somefile's label.

example% setlabel +b somefile
Example 3 Turn Off a Compartment

A minus sign turns off the compartments that are associated with a classification. To turn off compartment A in somefile's label:

example% setlabel -A somefile

If an incremental change is being made to an existing label and the first character of the label is a hyphen (-), a preceding double-hyphen (--) is required.

To turn off compartment -A in somefile's label:

example% setlabel -- -A somefile


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface Stability

See Also

setflabel(3TSOL), label_encodings(5), attributes(7), labels(7), zfs(8)


For more information, see the label_encodings(5) man page.


The setlabel command was added to Solaris in Solaris 10 4/08 (Update 5). Prior to that it was included in the Trusted Extensions add-on for Solaris.