/etc/updatedb.conf - a configuration file for updatedb(8)


/etc/updatedb.conf is a text file. Blank lines are ignored. A

# character outside of a quoted string starts a comment extending until end of line. Other lines must be of the following form: VARIABLE

= \fB"VALUE\fB" White space between tokens is ignored. VARIABLEis an alphanumeric string which does not start with a digit. VALUEcan contain any character except for (dq. No escape mechanism is supported within VALUEand there is no way to write VALUEspanning more than one line. Unknown VARIABLEvalues are considered an error. The defined variables are:

        A whitespace-separated list of file system types (as used in /etc/mtab) which should not be scanned by

R updatedb (8). The file system type matching is case-insensitive. By default, no file system types are skipped. When scanning a file system is skipped, all file systems mounted in the subtree are skipped too, even if their type does not match any entry in PRUNEFS.

        A whitespace-separated list of directory names (without paths) which should not be scanned by

R updatedb (8). By default, no directory names are skipped. Note that only directories can be specified, and no pattern mechanism (e.g. globbing) is used.

        A whitespace-separated list of path names of directories which should not be scanned by

R updatedb (8). Each path name must be exactly in the form in which the directory would be reported by

R locate (1). By default, no paths are skipped.

        One of the strings 0, no, 1 or yes. If

PRUNE_BIND_MOUNTS is 1 or yes, bind mounts are not scanned by

R updatedb (8). All file systems mounted in the subtree of a bind mount are skipped as well, even if they are not bind mounts. By default, bind mounts are not skipped.


When a directory is matched by PRUNEFS, PRUNENAMES or PRUNEPATHS,

R updatedb (8) does not scan the contents of the directory. The path of the directory itself is, however, entered in the created database. For example, if /tmpis in PRUNEPATHS,

R locate (1) will not show any files stored in /tmp, but it can show the /tmpdirectory. This behavior differs from traditional

locate implementations. In some

R updatedb (8) implementations PRUNEPATHS can be used to exclude non-directory files. This is not the case in this implementation.

/etc/updatedb.conf is a shell script in some implementations, which allows much more flexibility in defining the variables. Equivalent functionality can be achieved by using the command-line options to

R updatedb (8).


Miloslav Trmac <>


R locate (1),

R updatedb (8)