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I recently upgraded from 11.04 to 11.10. I have several external hard drives, and now I cannot change anything on them: the permissions have seemingly been altered to read-only.

When I look at the "Properties" of each drive in Nautilus, it shows me as the owner, yet I can only "Access files". When I try to change this to Create and delete files, it shows an error message "Sorry, could not change the permissions of "124E43F04E43CAE5": Error setting permissions: Read-only file system".

I have tried to alter file permissions by starting Nautilus with "gksudo nautilus", but it doesn't work. I have tried to change permissions for the whole drive using the chmod command in terminal. Still no success.

I am not a noob, but I am at a loss as to what to do next. Can anyone help? My back-up destination is one of the external drives, and I cannot back-up until this is fixed.

Thanks in advance.

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Please mark your answer accepted using the check-mark, thanks – Ringtail Feb 22 '12 at 5:16
up vote 0 down vote accepted

If the external drives are formatted in NTFS, most of the time they are, you will need to install ntfs-3g and ntfsprogs to access with write permissions.

sudo apt-get install ntfs-config

To verify use gparted or sudo fdisk-l and determine the formatting.

This is a good reference for you to look at:

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Thanks, this has seemed to work. I installed ntfs-config, and now when I plug in the drives, I can now correctly create and delete files. Not sure what it has done to the file-manager, but it has worked. – Reggie Feb 22 '12 at 1:08
Good then my answer was acceptable. – Ringtail Feb 22 '12 at 1:53

It seems to be the case that your drive is mounted as read-only. Say your drive is /dev/sdb then you need to unmount it umount /dev/sdb and mount it again mount /dev/sdb <directory>

If this does the trick, and you want the drive to me mounted at all times, you may want to add an entry in fstab.

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