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Thread: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    my mom was using ubuntu on her old toshiba laptop, and unfortunately it completely died recently. i pulled the harddrive from it and put it in a case, and am looking at the files i want to copy to her new pc. But alas, i do not have permission to even read them!

    can i force my way in so she can have her documents etc or does she just have to pay the price of being careless with her data?

    Also, i am a relative novice, ive poked around with linux many a time but have never reached a level of proficiency that i see from most users here, so id prefer if theres a solution simple enough to do through the GUI, and off the live cd but beggars cant be choosers.

    thank you for your time!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    The Netherlands
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    Ubuntu

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    You can do alt-f2 and enter
    Code:
    gksudo nautilus
    Which starts nautilus with root permissions. This will alow you to copy/move files to the other drive. When you reboot to the other drive you want to set the permissions back to your moms account. You can do the same thing when you are logged in with her account (change folder permissions back to her account).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    PA, USA
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    92
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    Did that work?
    If not, you can do it the old command line way too.
    If it is automatically mounted, I believe this drive should be in /media folder.

    so can you open a terminal and type:

    Code:
    cd /media
    Code:
    ls
    one line at a time, and tell us the output of the last command.

    Then you should be able to change permissions with the 'chmod' command.
    We can write the syntax for you, if we know the output of the ls command.
    Life does not imitate art, it imitates bad television.
    -Woody Allen

  4. #4
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    Apr 2012
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    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    i think there is some misunderstanding, mom's laptop is long dead, will not boot, the harddrive has been transferred to a case, and im using my laptop with a live cd to try and read the ext3 file structure (the utilities i found for xp pro (my main operating system) to do this kept prompting me to format the drive).

    because im doing this off a live cd, nautilus doesnt seem to want to run. and like i said, im trying to use a live copy of ubuntu, to poke through an old installed ubuntu.

    it may just be that it cannot be changed without me physically booting the old installation, in which case ill persue that. ive never tried to boot off of a usb harddrive before? is this a cleaner way of doing things than bugging you (kind and punctual!) folks?

    the ls command worked, it spat this out

    19eeb12a-687b-4c51-b2d8-b2cd8e80237e cdrom FreeAgent GoFlex Drive

    thanks for the help i have received so far!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    PA, USA
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    Okay.I've never worked off a LiveCD to mount a hard drive before.

    The "ls" command gives the names of the folders which are mounted.(The drive is mounted as a folder)
    I presume one of the folders that you mention is your mom's hard drive.
    Its difficult for me to tell which one.
    Do you know which one it is?
    My suspicion is that it is:
    19eeb12a-687b-4c51-b2d8-b2cd8e80237e

    but I might be wrong.
    Assuming it is this one, you can use this command:
    Code:
    sudo chmod -R a+rw /media/19eeb12a-687b-4c51-b2d8-b2cd8e80237e
    This should solve your problem.

    If your hard drive is any of the other folders, replace the name in the last command with the name of the folder which is your hard drive.


    If you don't know which folder is your hard drive,try these:

    1. The stupid but best way. unplug the hard drive. Type the commands I mentioned in the earlier post. See the result. One folder will me missing. This will be your hard drive. Now plug your hard drive back again.

    2. Check out the sizes of the folders. If you know the size of the hard drive you can find out which folder represents the hard drive.

    Go to terminal and type:
    Code:
    cd /media
    ls -lh
    one line at a time. This will give you the sizes of the folders in the fifth column. I presume the had drive will have a large size and the others a much smaller size.

    Maybe if you paste the output of the last command, we can guess.

    3. Mouse click to the media folder, and then you can see the four folders you mention. Right click on each of them and find the sizes.Or unplug hard drive and see which folder is no longer there.
    Last edited by souravc83; April 29th, 2012 at 06:00 AM.
    Life does not imitate art, it imitates bad television.
    -Woody Allen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    The Netherlands
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    Ubuntu

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    So basically you have your mom's drive in a usb drive and you want to read with the live cd. And then transfer the files to your harddrive?

    If you boot with the life cd and you plugin the usb drive is it recognized by ubuntu? You should be able to see it in nautilus.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    The East Bay, CA
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    39
    Distro
    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    I think I understand perfectly what is going on here, because I am having a very similar problem.

    Basically, due to a cat mistaking my powered on & shut laptop as a litterbox, thus "wetting" my laptop, no, SOAKING my laptop with cat **** (which is quite repugnant), before I could power it off and clean it, it seemed to have shorted something in the laptop. After much cleaning and drying it out, and equally much troubleshooting, I narrowed it down to the hard drive as the main device that shorted somehow, causing Ubuntu to not properly work. It would start up sometimes, but crash erratically, spontaneously, and unpredictably; it would run incredibly slow to the point I could not even open one web page, even after one night of trying to wait it out. Five hours later I still had not one full website or web page loaded. I gave up.

    I then created on another computer two variations of a live Ubuntu 64-bit 12.05 LTS bootable image; one burned to a USB flashdrive and one to a CD-ROM. I am now trying to recover what is on my hard drive to yet another USB flashdrive. Or anywhere.

    Like the lady above, my old hard drive changed names to this really long-winded device name under the /media/ in the folder: /media/6efe5381-f6a3-4577-acc9-96b252c3e5ee. It was never called that before (6efe5381-f6a3-4577-acc9-96b252c3e5ee). It is owned by root and thus when I used to try to access any files on it, it refused to let me, saying I did not have the permissions. I have been reading the forums and fooling with chmod and chown on this drive and its subfolders so I can copy my music, my work files, my documents, my art portfolio, my web graphics, my web sites I was building, my legal documents, my receipts, my letters, my records, my saved emails, my tons and tons of irreplaceable photos and images from my webcam as well as my digital camera, as well as off the Internet and friends' emails; the list is endless.

    What I really want to do is simply format the hard drive and reinstall Ubuntu freshly on it and start again; I hope that perhaps this will solve the problem. Perhaps the cat ****, since it has salt in it, became an even better electrical conductive medium, and perhaps thus the hard drive was written to in incorrect areas, or the MBR or something like that got overwritten, or something else got overwritten that wasn't supposed to be, or areas or blocks of data just went AWOL. I don't know. Both the live Ubuntu boot discs are running fine, whether off the USB flash drive or the CD-ROM.

    I was having some trouble getting the permissions set correctly so I could copy these files to a new USB flashdrive so that all data that is important and essential to my existence is saved and preserved before just wiping it out. At one point I accidentally set the ownerships of part of the drive to an owner named 777 of the group 1000. I think I meant to set something to 777, just not set the owner name to 777. Anyway a mistake on my part because I forgot what 777 was for, and the syntax of sudo chmod and sudo chown was wrong, hence the error.

    So I am following this thread as well, despite it being a little outdated, in hopes that in answering the question about the woman using her husband's laptop to save his stuff for him due to his lack of understanding, would also answer my question of saving my own stuff.

    I tried to plug in an RCA USB MP3 player, and despite at one point being able to access my /media/6efe5381-f6a3-4577-acc9-96b252c3e5ee/home/djpurity/Music/ direcrtory, none of the folders showed any of my mp3 collections within them. All the subfolders were strange looking and unknown file types and not being recognized as folders themselves, thus not showing the contents within them (all the mp3s that I had sorted by album, the album being the folder name, but now just an unknown file type... I hope I didn't lose all those mp3 files that were once within those folders!!). Then I realized that I had accidentally recursively chown'd them to the owner named 777, like I said, and I was at a loss at how to become that owner, or otherwise put it back. I think I got it, as I just tried the code:

    sudo chmod -R a+rw /media/6efe5381-f6a3-4577-acc9-96b252c3e5ee
    And I hope that it will change the permissions at least, but I think firstly, I MUST change the ownership to Ubuntu Live User of group Ubuntu. I cannot start Nautilis like this:

    gksudo nautilus
    Because using the CD-ROM Live Ubuntu version, I cannot write any new files. I think if I run it off the USB Live Ubuntu version, I can. But since I am now on the CD-ROM, I would like to chown back to Ubuntu rather than fool with Nautilis setting myself to root ownership.

    Can anyone tell me how to change the ownership back to either root or Ubuntu Live User with full read, write, execute, create directories, delete directories, all that and more? I think chown comes first, then chmod. I wouldn't have to do the chown except I screwed up and changed it to 777 as I said.... I forget how I did that because now whenever I try to do a chown, it says that I am doing it wrongly.

    I think answering my question will also solve this issue. We both seem to have the same problems! I also could not see my old hard drive due to permissions while running a live Ubuntu copy! I am getting there, but little by little. I think she is as well. I don't think her old hard drive is on USB.

    Does this make sense??? Thanks!
    "It Can't Rain All The Time"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Kubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    right click on the drive in the file manager and then propperties and select permisisons you want to have for it.
    Easy to understand Ubuntu manual with lots of pics: http://ubuntu-manual.org/
    Do i need antivirus/firewall in linux?
    User friendly disk backup: Redobackup

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Oklahoma, USA
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    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    Djpurity: As a cat person from way back, I can well appreciate your situation! However, I don't think it was the hard drive itself that suffered the damage. If it were, you would not be able to read it at all now.

    The most likely component for damage would be the laptop motherboard itself, which holds almost all of the electronic stuff that makes the computer work, and I'm sure that dried cat urine is an excellent conductor, and when it's liquid it's still better. It would take only one short on the motherboard to literally burn out critical components. I'm afraid that your laptop is now toast.

    All is not lost, however. Since you can read enough of the drive's data to get it mounted, your chances of recovering your files are very good. Do NOT fiddle with changing ownership or permission, though, since that can easily make them unreadable. Just force permission for yourself on the Live CD session by typing "gksudo nautilus" at a terminal prompt, then use copy and paste to copy each file or folder from the laptop's drive to another location such as a second external drive.

    When in the file manager that results from that command, take extreme care NOT to delete or move anything. Only copy from the laptop drive, nothing else.
    --
    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    The East Bay, CA
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    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Re: Copying data from old linux machine, permission denied!

    Okay, I went to ALT+CTRL+F2 and entered gksudo nautilus. It seemed to work so I went back to the GUI because I couldn't find the 8GB new SanDisk USB flashdrive under the /dev/ folder, where my CDROM and my other 4GB flashdrive named KUBUNTU are the only ones listed. It could be because I had formatted these to be Ubuntu bootable mediums.... (??) while the 8GB SanDisk flashdrive is one I just got and haven't formatted it yet. But it is readable in Unity, and I can create and delete folders and access all the folders that came preformatted on it.

    Now back in Unity, I am looking through my home folders on my hard drive, and all the subfolders within the ones I have under /home/djpurity/* are all unknown file types.. thus I cannot access the numerous and impossible to count files that are sorted within these folders. How did the folders get turned into these strange icons, and when I double click on them, they say I still "DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO VIEW THE CONTENTS OF "PHOTOS OF FRIENDS" etc... where "Photos of Friends" is a subfolder of my Pictures folder.

    When I click on PROPERTIES, it shows that under Permissions, "THE PERMISSIONS OF 'PHOTOS OF FRIENDS' CANNOT BE DETERMINED." Under the Basic, it shows TYPE as: "unknown (application/octet-stream)" and CONTENT as "unreadable" and the Location is accurate, but VOLUME is also "unknown" as well as FREE SPACE, also "unknown." These are all for the subfolder that I just tried to open and failed.

    Anything else within the base directory /Pictures/ is viewable or able to be opened. It is just subfolders that somehow have become corrupted. As I look at the other subfolders within the folders under /home/djpurity/ I see that NOT ALL the SUBFOLDERS in every folder are corrupted. It just appears to be the most important files!!! Go figure!!! For example, in the /home/djpurity/Music/ folder, it lists all the artists as folders I can access. But the subfolders within each artist are all corrupted, but any mp3s that are within the folders are not.

    What is going on here? Can I still copy the contents of these directories? Like, if I did it in a terminal or something? Is it possibly just within Unity that the corruption is appearing?

    In Terminal, the hard drive is under /media/6efe5381-f6a3-4577-acc9-96b252c3e5ee and now in the GUI Properties of 6efe5381-f6a3-4577-acc9-96b252c3e5ee, it states that (Some of the Contents are Unreadable) when it is listing the total number of files, a number that keeps counting upwards, not staying consistent.

    Do any of the pieces of this puzzle add up to any bigger picture? Even after going into the ALT+CTRL+F2 terminal screen, and typing gksudo nautilus it still states under Permissions of the hard drive as being Root and that I am NOT the owner and can NOT change the permissions.

    Didn't I get those permissions with gksudo nautilis? Or did I do it in the wrong screen? Well, like I said before, I CANNOT TYPE THAT COMMAND IN TERMINAL that is opened in UNITY because it will tell me: Nautilus could not create the required folder "/root/.config/nautilus". Before running Nautilus, please create the following folder, or set permissions such that Nautilus can create it. This is because I am running Ubuntu off a Live CD. Now if I had it on a USB drive, I probably could do this.

    BUT what about the folder corruptions and their contents? Are they repairable??

    I do have KUBUNTU on a bootable USB drive, but I am not familiar with KUBUNTU. I am sure it is easy to figure out; it is just another variety of Ubuntu. I am sure I could figure out how to get into Terminal there and type the Nautilus command. Perhaps with that, I could view and access the contents of the hard drive that I cannot while running a Live Ubuntu CD that is not a CD-RW.

    Help!
    (Should this be moved to its own Thread?)
    Last edited by djpurity; August 3rd, 2012 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Typo, Updating Info
    "It Can't Rain All The Time"

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