Rsnapshot WARNING: Could not lchown() symlink "/path/to/file" Error and Solution

I got rsnapshot based backup server up and running for my network under Debian Linux 5.x. But, whenever I run a backup job using the following command:
rsnapshot -v -c /root/rsnapshot.server1.conf hourly
I get the following messages on screen:

WARNING: Could not lchown() symlink “/nas/.rsnapshot/hourly.1/”
WARNING: Could not lchown() symlink “/nas/.rsnapshot/hourly.1/”
WARNING: Could not lchown() symlink “/nas/.rsnapshot/hourly.1/”
WARNING: Could not lchown() symlink “/nas/.rsnapshot/hourly.1/”

How do I fix this problem?

You need to install the Lchown module which provides a perl interface to the lchown UNIX system call, on systems that support lchown. The lchown() call is used to change the ownership and group of symbolic links. To install the same, enter:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install liblchown-perl

Sample outputs:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  xmms2-plugin-pulse xmms2-plugin-id3v2 xmms2-plugin-alsa xmms2-core xmms2-plugin-vorbis xmms2-plugin-mad xmms2-client-cli
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 9,574B of archives.
After this operation, 81.9kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 karmic/universe liblchown-perl 1.00-1 [9,574B]
Fetched 9,574B in 0s (10.9kB/s)       
Selecting previously deselected package liblchown-perl.
(Reading database ... 123150 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking liblchown-perl (from .../liblchown-perl_1.00-1_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up liblchown-perl (1.00-1) ...

For other UNIX like operating systems

Use your package manager or download it from or install it using the cpan command / shell:
cpan -A Lchown
cpan -i Lchown

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🐧 3 comments so far... add one

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3 comments… add one
  • flyingboz Jan 5, 2010 @ 2:00

    For rpm based distros, you may wish to also include a reference to the perl-Lchown packages appropriate to their distro / architecture; trying to run cpan builds / installs on rpm systems can be problematic.

  • H.Shukla Aug 2, 2010 @ 16:02

    Try this:

    sudo apt-get install make
    sudo apt-get install g++
    sudo perl -MCPAN -e ‘install qw(Lchown)’

  • Jon Wilson Dec 27, 2011 @ 12:06

    Thanks very much for the tip: as always there’s more to learn with open source! I’ve had debian and Ubuntu servers for years but just finding out the merits of rsnapshot and etckeeper!

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