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Chroot is a Linux/Unix utility that can change or modify the root filesystem. With the help of the chroot command, you can easily create an isolated filesystem inside your primary filesystem. Chroot is especially helpful to make your work and home environment separated or if you want a test environment to test software in isolation.


At the first glance, you can think of chroot as similar to a virtual machine or a containerized system like docker. It is kind of similar but chroot is a much lighter solution than a virtual machine. The virtual machine needs a hypervisor to install and work on a separate kernel, which is different from the host machine. Unlike a virtual machine, chroot shares the same kernel and processes, but creates a jail in the filesystem. Inside the jail, it is not possible to look outside without root permission. Therefore the isolated filesystem is also called chroot jail.