Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was a newb and chown'd the usr/bin folder. I'm going to reinstall but I'd really like to be able to save a tarball I created of all the important files (passwords and such). However ubuntu refuses to connect to the internet or recognize usb drives and CDs. Alt+F2 freezes the system and I end up having to restart.

The errors I get when I attempt such tasks are simply "Permission denied."

share|improve this question
Very important: what command did you use? – Rinzwind Feb 16 '13 at 19:42
'chown -R name:name /usr' pretty sure i wrecked the OS. – Nicholas Pickering Feb 16 '13 at 19:53
and I cancelled it halfway through when I realized something wasnt right. – Nicholas Pickering Feb 16 '13 at 19:54
Ah crap. I assumed you did a 777 – Rinzwind Feb 16 '13 at 19:56
ok I am done. see of the 2nd part works for you. But maybe it is just as easy to do this from the live disc ;) – Rinzwind Feb 16 '13 at 20:04
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Possible best and easiest method: you can use a live cd to burn that tar file to a CD or DVD. Since it will use the live cd's /usr/bin it will be able to use the dvd/cd player. Just mount the disc that has the tarfile and burn it.

Alernative to try and do it from your system:

  • Reboot the machine.
  • Press the ESC key while GRUB is loading to enter the menu.
  • If there is a ‘recovery mode’ option, select it and press ‘b’ to boot into single user mode. Otherwise, the default boot configuration should be selected. Press ‘e’ to edit it.
  • Highlight the line that begins with ‘kernel’. Press ‘e’ again to edit this line.
  • At the end of the line, add an additional parameter: ‘single’. Hit return to make the change and press ‘b’ to boot.

Commands to reset sudo file:

chown root:root /usr/bin/sudo
chmod u+s /usr/bin/sudo
  • Reboot and try to burn the tar file (hopefully only the wrong permissions for sudo is the problem).
share|improve this answer
OK, I'm running the live CD, but I'm not sure what you mean by "mount the disc". I just looked it up, but I don't really comprehend. I'm not going to be able to take the live CD out while I'm running ubuntu off of it, right? – Nicholas Pickering Feb 16 '13 at 20:15
Oh, I figured it out. – Nicholas Pickering Feb 16 '13 at 20:20
I was able to copy the tarball to a USB Drive after I ran Live CD, and mounted the original partition. From there I was able to view all of the files from the corrupt installation and copy my tarball to a USB drive. Thank you kindly, Rinzwind. – Nicholas Pickering Feb 16 '13 at 20:27
no problem @NicholasPickering :D Glad you got it figured out, and please do not do this again ;) – Rinzwind Feb 16 '13 at 20:47

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.