How to Use Chmod 777 Recursively to Change Permissions in Linux

Linux has a sturdy file permission system that offers control over read, write, and executable privileges. As a Linux user, you often need to set a file’s permission to a full access for all the users. Chmod is the command that allows you to set and modify these permissions. It accepts a numeric code with three fields, each for the file owner, the group, and others.

Code 7 represents the union of 4, 2, and 1 which are used for read, write, and execute permissions, respectively. When you use chmod 777 to change a file or directory’s permission, it doesn’t apply to their content by default. So, in this tutorial, we will explain the methods to use chmod 777 recursively to change the permissions in Linux.

How to Use Chmod 777 Recursively to Change the Permissions in Linux

To change the permissions for directories and their sub-directories, you must use the chmod 777 recursively. This way, the system will implement this command to all files on every level of the directory’s hierarchy.

Changing the file permissions is essential in the aspect of system access and security. They define what task (read, write, or execute) a user can perform with a specific file. Moreover, they help to maintain the privacy, user compliance, software security, prevent data loss, etc. To use the command, go through the following syntax:

1. -R is the option to tell chmod to apply the permissions recursively for all the available content in the specified directory.

2. Replace the “/file/path” with an actual path to the file or directory whose permission you want to change.

For example, let’s use the chmod 777 command to change the permissions for the “Downloads” directory in Linux:


You can check the file permissions by running the following command:


Furthermore, this command sets the permission of the specified file to 777, granting all the permissions to everyone. Please be judicious and use this command cautiously as it can make your system vulnerable to security threats.

As the chmod 777 command releases full access to a directory, you should use it only in extreme cases like when you’re troubleshooting something or if you want to run a legacy software.


Chmod 777 is a powerful command that is useful in many situations, but you must remember the associated risks with using it. In this short guide, we discussed what the numeric code 777 means in the “chmod” command and how to use it recursively. Furthermore, we explained why you should change the file permissions in Linux and the use cases of recursively using chmod 777.


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