Manual browser: postinstall(8)

POSTINSTALL(8) System Manager's Manual POSTINSTALL(8)


postinstallcheck and fix installation after system upgrades


postinstall [-a arch] [-d destdir] [-m machine] [-s {srcdir | tgzdir | tgzfile}] [-x xsrcdir] operation [item [...]]


The postinstall utility performs post-installation checks and/or fixes on a system's configuration files. It is especially useful after system upgrades, e.g. after updating from NetBSD 1.6.2 to NetBSD 2.0. The items to check or fix are divided in two groups: enabled by default and disabled by default. The latter are items that are dangerous for some reason, for example because they remove files which may be still in use. If no items are provided, the default checks or fixes are applied. Those which are disabled by default must be provided explicitly.

Supported options:

-a arch
MACHINE_ARCH. Defaults to machine of the host operating system.
-d destdir
Destination directory to check. Defaults to /.
-m machine
MACHINE. Defaults to machine of the host operating system.
-s {srcdir | tgzdir | tgzfile}
The location of the reference files, or the NetBSD source files used to create the reference files. This may be specified in one of three ways:
-s srcdir
The top level directory of the NetBSD source tree. By default this is /usr/src.
-s tgzdir
A directory in which reference files have been extracted from a binary distribution of NetBSD. The files that are distributed in the “etc.tgz” set file must be present. The files that are distributed in the “xetc.tgz” set file are optional.
-s tgzfile
The location of a set file (or “tgz file”) such as “etc.tgz” or “xetc.tgz” from a binary distribution of NetBSD. Each set file is a compressed archive containing reference files, which will be extracted to the temproot directory. Multiple -s options may be used to specify multiple set files. The “etc.tgz” set file must be specified. The “xetc.tgz” set file is optional.
-x xsrcdir
Location of the X11 source files. This must be a directory that contains a NetBSD xsrc tree.

The operation argument may be one of:

Perform post-installation checks on items.
diff [diff(1) options]
Similar to check, but also show the differences between the files.
Apply fixes that check determines need to be applied. Not all items can be automatically fixed by postinstall, and in some cases an error will be reported, after which manual intervention will be required.

Conflicts between existing files in the target file system and new files from the NetBSD distribution are resolved by replacing the existing file with the new file; there is no attempt to merge the files. See etcupdate(8) for an alternative update method that is able to merge files.

Display a short help.
List available items, showing if they are enabled or disabled by default.
Same as help.


The postinstall utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs or a problem was found.




The postinstall utility first appeared in NetBSD 1.6.

In NetBSD 4.0, the -s tgzfile option was added.

In NetBSD 5.0, the ability to specify multiple colon-separated files with a single -s option was deprecated.

In NetBSD 7.0, the ability to specify multiple colon-separated files with a single -s option was removed. Multiple -s options must be used instead.

December 21, 2014 NetBSD 7.0