graceful-fs functions as a drop-in replacement for the fs module, making various improvements.

The improvements are meant to normalize behavior across different platforms and environments, and to make filesystem access more resilient to errors.

Improvements over fs module

On Windows, it retries renaming a file for up to one second if EACCESS or EPERM error occurs, likely because antivirus software has locked the directory.


// use just like fs
var fs = require('graceful-fs')

// now go and do stuff with it...

Global Patching

If you want to patch the global fs module (or any other fs-like module) you can do this:

// Make sure to read the caveat below.
var realFs = require('fs')
var gracefulFs = require('graceful-fs')

This should only ever be done at the top-level application layer, in order to delay on EMFILE errors from any fs-using dependencies. You should not do this in a library, because it can cause unexpected delays in other parts of the program.


This module is fairly stable at this point, and used by a lot of things. That being said, because it implements a subtle behavior change in a core part of the node API, even modest changes can be extremely breaking, and the versioning is thus biased towards bumping the major when in doubt.

The main change between major versions has been switching between providing a fully-patched fs module vs monkey-patching the node core builtin, and the approach by which a non-monkey-patched fs was created.

The goal is to trade EMFILE errors for slower fs operations. So, if you try to open a zillion files, rather than crashing, open operations will be queued up and wait for something else to close.

There are advantages to each approach. Monkey-patching the fs means that no EMFILE errors can possibly occur anywhere in your application, because everything is using the same core fs module, which is patched. However, it can also obviously cause undesirable side-effects, especially if the module is loaded multiple times.

Implementing a separate-but-identical patched fs module is more surgical (and doesn’t run the risk of patching multiple times), but also imposes the challenge of keeping in sync with the core module.

The current approach loads the fs module, and then creates a lookalike object that has all the same methods, except a few that are patched. It is safe to use in all versions of Node from 0.8 through 7.0.