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(Running Gnome 3 on Ubuntu 11.10) Everything working well (at least a couple of months), until recently when I changed the permissions through the device manager on the sda1 /2/ 3 drives, thinking it would save all the switching I seem to have to do between users in order to see / use files I previously copied across from an external drive.

Now when I boot up the Ubuntu splash screen loads indefinitely, and if I go in through the GRUB / recover option, i'm getting a load of negative permission messages back (regardless of using the fsck or remount options)

Either way = unusable machine (Laptop Dell Inspiron n5050), and no way through to login.

I'm looking for: (1) a way back in so any help greatfully received (answers need to be pretty basic as i'm a novice), and (2) if i'm to learn anything, a decent thread on setting permissions within Ubuntu / Gnome 3.

I'm new to both Ubuntu & Linux, so please be gentle!! Cheers

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For future reference...change the permissions on the mountpoint, not the drive. – RobotHumans Mar 20 '12 at 10:03
How did you change permissions? What exactly you did, please? – brownian Mar 20 '12 at 10:24

If you really did change the permissions on your root partition, there are limited options for you other than a complete reinstall. There are too many files owned by too many different users to be practical to restore the permissions by hand. Anything that you could do without a working backup would be a hack, and I'm hesitant to give you my thoughts on that. You could, for example, change the permissions to read-write for all on the root partition, which may get you back into a "working" system, but would be incredibly bad security. Something like that could only be a temporary fix.

Really, you should reinstall. You should do things like save/recover the list of packages installed so that when you reinstall the system goes back to having all the packages you had before. See for example. This can be done from the recovery console, assuming you can get into it. You can also backup/restore your /home directory so you don't lose any files. This exercise will probably move you beyond the rank of "newbie". Good luck.

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Thanks - I think the problem is as you mention, whether or not I have changed the permissions on the root partition. I was logged on as the root user then opened Dev System Device Manager, then clicked on sda1 and changed permissions to what looked like the least restricted option (I can't remember what the permission was). Is there something I can try from the grub recover which will allow me to login? – Symanuk Mar 20 '12 at 15:07
Bit the bullet - reinstalled Ubuntu 11.10 from USB (over the top of the existing install) I hoped it might keep the piles of jpgs and mp3s which took me ages to pipe in from an external drive . Sadly not. Stilll have them externally though... Thanks for the advice – Symanuk Mar 21 '12 at 12:02

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