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I have a iMac in which the Hard disk has failed. I am trying to get files off the users desktop that has not been backed up. I cannot repair the Hard disk and do not have another Mac to transfer the data over that way.

I am using the live version of ubuntu from the CD. The Mac drive is there and I can access it, but I cannot access the users desktop, music and pictures folders. It gives me "no Permissions" message. When I right click on the folder, all the options are grayed out.

I have an external hard disk attached to the Mac and I want to move the content onto the External Hard Drive. I have tried using the chown command but I am struggling with it at the moment as I am not sure who to put in at the "username" part. I have tried using gksudo nautilus but I still don't have permissions to change the owner of the folder.

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This has been resolved. After using gksudo nautilus again I was able to access the folders and copy the data over to the external HD – Oliver Aug 1 '13 at 9:27
Please post your solution as an answer for future searchers – Jeremy Aug 14 '13 at 4:09

I found a solution that worked for me.

Open the terminal and use:

gksudo nautilus

That bypasses the permissions and I was able to copy/paste the data to an external.

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