I want to change permissions on a tree on Centos 4 to add execute permissions for all directories recursively from a directory. If I use normal chmod, files other than directories are also modified:

chmod -R o+x /my/path/here

How can I only affect directories?

3 Answers 3


Run find on -type d (directories) with the -exec primary to perform the chmod only on folders:

find /your/path/here -type d -exec chmod o+x {} \;

To be sure it only performs it on desired objects, you can run just find /your/path/here -type d first; it will simply print out the directories it finds.


See Command line examples - chmod in the Wikipedia.

# Remove the execute permission on all files in a directory 
# tree, while allowing for directory browsing.
chmod -R a-x+X directory    

As added by Daniel: this should work in your case:

chmod -R o+X directory
  • This would affect the current permissions of files within directories. Jul 29, 2012 at 15:27
  • 3
    @scriptmonster the line quoted is wrong for this case, but chmod -R o+X directory should work for the OP.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jul 29, 2012 at 15:36
  • 4
    For those wondering about the difference, like me, it is that X will also apply execute permissions to any file which already has at least one execute permission bit already set (either user, group or other). In the general case the accepted answer is better.
    – ixe013
    Nov 27, 2014 at 18:23
find /home/mydir -type d | xargs chmod ugo+rx

This works on CentOS6, which the above find -exec does not. Basically it just pipes the list of directories to the xargs command which sends them to chmod. The chmod then sets universal read and execute (search) on the directories. To do this for all users in home use sudo:

sudo sh -c "find /home/ -type d | xargs chmod ugo+rx"

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