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Good day,

I've recently experienced an odd problem where for reasons that escape me my graphics configuration has been corrupted. I've tried going through the menu option that I am offered (everything from starting in low graphics mode to using console, etc...) but I can't get to the files I want to recover.

What does this have to do with permissions?

Well, after getting tired of fiddling with this I decided to boot up Ubuntu on a USB stick and try to access my files on my main Ubuntu partition. Success was had and I could clearly see all the stuff I wanted to recover still there.

The problem is that I can't access any of my files because I'm warned that I am not the "owner" of said files.

Howe could I go about giving myself ownership and just copying the files I'm looking for onto my USB stick?

Is there a way to fix my corrupted graphics configuration?

My main desire is to simply recover the important files I need and start a new Ubuntu install from scratch.

Any help would be much appreciated.


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Just changing the owner of the files will work for you.

Use the Ubuntu_LiveUSB to boot into system, and the create a user temporarily.

<ctrl+alt+T> to open terminal
$ passwd    --> To create the passwd for 'root'
$ sudo -i    --> To change user from 'LiveCD' to 'root
# useradd -m -G NEWUSER    --> To add a new user
# chown -R NEWUSER *    --> change the owner of all the files under the directory

And then you can copy what you want to recover in the file manager(nautilus).

Hope this will help you.

share|improve this answer
Thanks but my situation is as follows: after typing "passwd" i am asked the following: "Changing password for ubuntu. (current) UNIX password:" ....since i am booted from a Live_USB what is the default password? – BuckChimo Feb 25 '13 at 1:03
One question: Did you make the Live_USB with a persistent storage? If 'yes', I think you must have created a password for root but you forget it. In this case, you can format the USB, make Live_USB again, and try again. – Chaos John Feb 25 '13 at 3:49
Almost every LiveCD/DVD/USB does't have a password for root by default and the password must be given by the user, whatever the Linux-distribution(Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, openSUSE and so no). – Chaos John Feb 25 '13 at 4:08

Press ALT+F2 then enter gksu nautilus or gksudo nautilus both commands are equivalent and enter your password when requested. This assumes you are an administrator on your system. By default the first user created on the system is.

This opens the file manager and you can see, copy and move anything you want. You can also change the ownership or permissions of any file or directory by right clicking on it selecting properties and going to the permissions tab.

Be careful however as you have root powers so the system will not stop you from doing anything stupid. Once done simply close the file manager and you will be back to being a normal user.

If you want a command line way to change the owner of a file or directory the command is.

sudo chown user:group file

Replacing 'user' with the name of the user and 'group' with the name of the group you want to own the file or directory and replace 'file' with the name of the file or directory who's ownership you want to change.

To change the ownership of a directory and all the files and directories it contains the command is.

sudo chown -R user:group file 
share|improve this answer

From the live cd console, do:

sudo su

and enter blank password when asked for one. You will get a root console after this. Once you get a root console, you can handle any file on any partition.

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