My os: debian9.
The filesystem on my disk:

$ sudo blkid  | awk '{print $1 ,$3}'
/dev/sda2: TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda1: TYPE="vfat"
/dev/sda3: TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda4: TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda5: TYPE="swap"

Now to chattr +i for my /etc/resolv.conf :

sudo chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf
chattr: Operation not supported while reading flags on /etc/resolv.conf
ls -al /etc/resolv.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 31 Jan  8 15:08 /etc/resolv.conf -> /etc/resolvconf/run/resolv.conf
sudo  mount -o remount,acl /
sudo chattr +i  /etc/resolvconf/run/resolv.conf
chattr: Inappropriate ioctl for device while reading flags on /etc/resolvconf/run/resolv.conf

How to set chattr +i for my /etc/resolve.conf?

  1. /dev/sda1 is empty for windows.

  2. My debian is installed on /dev/sda2

    $ df 
    Filesystem     1K-blocks     Used Available Use% Mounted on
    udev             1948840        0   1948840   0% /dev
    tmpfs             392020     5848    386172   2% /run
    /dev/sda2       95596964 49052804  41644988  55% /
  3. acl is installed.

    $ dpkg -l acl    
    | Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
    |/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)    
    ||/ Name           Version      Architecture Description   
    ii  acl            2.2.52-3+b1  amd64        Access control list utilities   
  4. No output info from these findmnt commands:

    sudo findmnt -fn / | grep -E "acl|user_xattr"
    sudo findmnt -fn / | grep vfat
    sudo findmnt -fn $(dirname $(realpath /etc/resolv.conf)) | grep tmpfs
  • 2
    Why do you want to make it immutable in the first place? If there's some process making unwanted changes to it, we should rather go after this one and change the underlying issues instead of going for the symptoms. But after all, it's best left to be managed e.g. by systemd-resolved. Feb 5, 2018 at 9:49
  • 1
    Possibly related question: Unable to change file attributes (e.g. immutable) on /etc/resolv.conf. My guess is that /etc/resolvconf/run is mounted with a tmpfs filesystem, like the linked question.
    – ErikF
    Feb 5, 2018 at 10:14
  • Please add results of ls -l /etc/resolvconf/run/resolv.conf and (cd /etc/resolvconf/run/; until findmnt . ; do cd .. ; done) Feb 5, 2018 at 10:23
  • 2
    It seems that every clueless moron who writes some half-arsed network management tool or script thinks that it is acceptable to blow away a hand-crafted /etc/resolv.conf and replace it with some garbage that only works in the imaginary fantasy-land of the author's imagination, not in the real world. If you don't want your /etc/resolv.conf being mangled by programs like systemd-resolved or network manager, then you need to either a) configure them to stop doing that, or b) stop using them. In your case, something (probably systemd-resolved) has replaced your /etc/resolv.conf with a symlink.
    – cas
    Feb 5, 2018 at 11:01
  • 2
    yep. fortunately, it can be configured to not do that. There's also the dreadful resolvconf package, whose sole purpose is to mangle /etc/resolv.conf - I've said it before but apt-get purge is effective but unsatisfyingly inadequate, there should be a --kill-it-with-fire or --banish-to-hell option for miserable system-breaking junk like that.
    – cas
    Feb 5, 2018 at 11:17

5 Answers 5


Try with -f flag

sudo chattr  -f   +i   /etc/resolv.conf
  • 1
    Amazing! This solved my issue! I can now successfully modify /etc/resolv.conf on my Raspberry Pi (with Samba4 Active Directory)! Feb 3 at 16:01

Your /etc/resolv.conf is probably a symlink. See this explanation for further information.

You could try:

chattr +i "$(realpath /etc/resolv.conf)"

Does the root mountpoint support Access Control Lists (acl) or Extended Attributes?

Check it via:

findmnt -fn / | grep -E "acl|user_xattr" || echo "acl or user_xattr mount option not set for mountpoint /"

Is your root partition of the type 'VFAT'? I believe 'VFAT' does not support ACLs.

Check it via:

findmnt -fn / | grep vfat

Or maybe your symlink target directory is a tmpfs? ACLs are lost on tmpfs

Test it:

findmnt -fn $(dirname $(realpath /etc/resolv.conf)) | grep tmpfs && echo $(dirname $(realpath /etc/resolv.conf)) is tmpfs


  • 2
    It's not an xattr.
    – ilkkachu
    Feb 5, 2018 at 9:56
  • @DominikKummer wouldn't that be setfattr/getfattr - see man xattr's related section
    – muru
    Feb 5, 2018 at 10:12
  • @muru: absolutely! the question mentions that the mount option acl was set. Does vfat support acl? I am afraid the questioner's root partion is VFAT.
    – domson
    Feb 5, 2018 at 10:18
  • no Fat system support extended attributes, permissions, or anything much else. Feb 5, 2018 at 10:28
  • 1
    @shayan it is called Command Substitution and executes a command in a subshell. The resulting output of the command withing the substitution is passed to the chattr command as argument.
    – domson
    Aug 24, 2019 at 19:36

As you saw, it seems you can't set chattr attributes on symlinks. Also, they're not supported on tmpfs. The man page for chattr mentions that

Not all flags are supported or utilized by all filesystems; refer to filesystem-specific man pages such as btrfs(5), ext4(5), and xfs(5) for more filesystem-specific details.

And there's no mention of the immutable flag or chattr in tmpfs(5).

ACLs or extended attributes have nothing to do with this, chattr attributes are stored directly on the inode, as seen for ext4 in this table of the inode structure.

You'll need to find some other way to prevent your programs from modifying it. systemd-resolved should be smart enough to leave the file alone if you replace the symlink with a static file:

Three modes of handling /etc/resolv.conf (see resolv.conf(5)) are supported:

· Alternatively, /etc/resolv.conf may be managed by other packages, in which case systemd-resolved will read it for DNS configuration data. In this mode of operation systemd-resolved is consumer rather than provider of this configuration file.

Note that the selected mode of operation for this file is detected fully automatically, depending on whether /etc/resolv.conf is a symlink to /run/systemd/resolve/resolv.conf or lists as DNS server.

If you have other programs that might modify it (like a DHCP client), you'll have to see about reconfiguring them. Or chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf after making it a static file instead of a symlink, but beware that whatever tries to write it, might not like the resulting errors.

  • This fails in containers with chattr: Operation not permitted while setting flags for every file. If you control the container, you might be able to get past it with --cap-add CAP_LINUX_IMMUTABLE. See discussion: github.com/moby/moby/issues/15959
    – dfarrell07
    Nov 12, 2018 at 20:35
sudo rm /etc/resolv.conf //remove the symlink
sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf //create the new file and populate it as you wish
sudo chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf //change its attributes as you wish.....

Booting to a live cd or usb linux install, then browsing to resolv.conf on the hard drive allows the standard syntax for chattr to be implemented.

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