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Thread: Made a big mistake with chown

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Canada
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    142
    Distro
    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Made a big mistake with chown

    Mistakenly executed
    Code:
    sudo chown -R ineuw:ineuw /
    forgetting to add the application name for deletion, and changed ownership to a LOT of OS files which shouldn't be changed, before I realized and hit Ctrl-Break. Is there a way to reverse my error?
    Last edited by ineuw; September 10th, 2013 at 03:54 AM.
    Win 7 Professional SP1/Xubuntu 14.04, ASUS P5B-E, 32bit Intel core2 6600 @2.4GHz 2GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 620/PCIe/SSE2

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    United Kingdom
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    91
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Made a big mistake with chown

    From my experience, it's pretty hard to completely reverse such changes, just like if you was to accidentally execute a dangerous command on / instead of ./

    Most important OS files are owned by root, so I would suggest changing them back as root being the owner.

    However, I can't 100% certain about this. It's really risky and might misbehave the system due to permissions issues, since not all the files are owned by root, for example, a web server like Apache2 would need www-data as its owner.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    England
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    Hidden!

    Re: Made a big mistake with chown

    You may like to try
    Code:
    sudo chown -R root:root /
    sudo chown -R ineuw:ineuw /home/ineuw
    This will firstly return the root file system, including your home, to root ownership and then return your home to your own ownership though I admit I am not totally sure about its likely success, and may cause problems with ownership of some files in root which have other owners.
    DISTRO: Xubuntu 14.04-64bit --- Code-tags --- Boot-Repair --- Grub2 wiki & Grub2 Basics --- RootSudo

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Beans
    248
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Made a big mistake with chown

    Unfortunately your chances of correcting your mistake are incredibly slim. Any changes/updates you make in the future may have issues & you'll never know if it's a config or ownership problem.

    Your best bet is a clean install. Save your /home & any other important data first.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Beans
    142
    Distro
    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Made a big mistake with chown

    Sadly only a clean install will help as I can't even log in anymore. The data is secure. Thanks for all the replies.
    Win 7 Professional SP1/Xubuntu 14.04, ASUS P5B-E, 32bit Intel core2 6600 @2.4GHz 2GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 620/PCIe/SSE2

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