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My older mac recently kicked the bucket, and I decided to switch to linux on a newer laptop, My hard drive was fine, and I now use it as an external hard drive. The one problem though, is that I cannot access any of my files. I've tried getting permission and it says that I am not root, therefore I can't make any changes. What do I do?

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Try to acess it in a terminal, using sudo permissions. Also, are you logged in as a non-limited user? More information would be nice. ~/anzkji – Anzkji Jul 27 '12 at 22:27

Or you could try and change the permission using the following command as an administrator account or your account, if it's the only account you set up.

sudo chmod -R 755 /<folder name or path>

The -R will take care of all the sub-directories while the 755 permission will give the OWNER full access, USER read and execute and OTHERS read and execute.

Read = 4, Write = 2, Execute = 1

Read (4) + Execute (1) = 5

Read (4) + Write (2) + Execute (1) = 7

These are applied to groups and there are 3 groups in the order OWNER followed by USER followed by OTHERS and hence 755

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Yes, access it via Terminal, to get sudo permissions type:

sudo then the command to access your directory
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Install Nautilus (via Synaptic or Software Center), then, open terminal, type gksu nautilus and enter your root password. A file browser window (Nautilus window) will open and then you can access as root your external HDD. You can make any modifications. Nautilus will shut down when you exit terminal.

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Which Nautilus? When I search Software Center, there are 4 results. – CoderDennis Jul 10 '14 at 18:51

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