To be short, I want to copy a folder to a location /usr/share/screenlets/.... in Ubuntu 10.04 system. I tried by logging in as root from terminal giving su.

I even changed my user account type to ADMINISTRATOR; Yet, no use. PASTE option in the context menu's list in the folder /usr/share/... is INACTIVE.

How can I copy those files?

5 Answers 5


First, however tempted you might ever get, never "log in with root". It's far too easy to break things beyond repair. Anyway, this is disabled by default so you'd have to do a whole lot more to get to that point.

/usr/ is owned by the root account so to write files in there you need to write them as root. Two methods (there are undoubtedly more but here are the two main ways for most users):

  1. Press Alt+F2 to get a run dialogue and in that type gksu nautilus. This will open up a file browser window running as root. Copy your files across but be careful, you can nuke the system like this.

  2. A much more direct method is just loading up a terminal and writing:

    sudo cp -R /path/to/files/you/want/copied/ /copy/to/this/path/

    (the -R is just there to recursively copy directories)

If you ever want to fire off multiple commands as root without prepending them all with sudo you can run sudo -i or sudo su and you'll get a root terminal. But again, be careful what you do.

  • 1
    ...or sudo gnome-terminal. Nov 16, 2010 at 5:46
  • 2
    @George: Running graphical application with sudo is not a good habit. Just go through this article: psychocats.net/ubuntu/graphicalsudo
    – aneeshep
    Nov 16, 2010 at 8:38
  • gnome-terminal -e "sudo -i" seems a more reliable method for a root terminal. The graphical terminal itself doesn't need to run as root and I'm sure the user would prefer their preferences applied.
    – Oli
    Nov 16, 2010 at 9:09
  • 1
    I am using 14.04 and Alt+F2 no longer seems to work.
    – posfan12
    Feb 3, 2015 at 2:59

You need root access. You can launch nautilus with root access with gksu nautilus or can issue commands with sudo before the command to move or copy. I would not play around with user groups if I were you, as this can mess things up and spoil built in security features.

  • @^ Thanks for the reply, i wouldn't do it either hereafter. :)
    – Vinay
    Oct 30, 2010 at 17:13

You can also install Ubuntu tweak and then go to manage scripts . There you will find a script called Browse as root . It will ad a new entry to the context menu wich will alow you browse the selected folder as root.

You just right click from nautilus ... browse as root ... enter password and you can do whatever you want.

  • I had Ubuntu tweak installed. But, didn't know ur tip.
    – Vinay
    Nov 21, 2010 at 18:34

There is a simple way to do it :

press Alt+F2 to open the 'Run Application' box
type gksudo nautilus in to the text box and press 'Enter'. This will prompt a password dialog box. Enter your sudo password and it will open nautilus with root privilege. From there you can move/copy files without any permission error.

Note: Just make sure that you don't delete/replace any system files.

see a similar post here:

  • Even gksu nautilus works.
    – Vinay
    Nov 16, 2010 at 8:23
  • @Vinaychalluru: yea. of course
    – aneeshep
    Nov 16, 2010 at 8:42

Right click anywhere on a blank desktop. Click create launcher.

Type = application
Name = whatever you want it to be
Command = /usr/bin/gksu nautilus
Comments = whatever you want it to be

Double click the new launcher on your desktop. Note that anything you want to copy and paste must be done in this browser, you cannot simply drag onto your user desktop space, so if you need to open to browsers just double click the new launcher twice. Welcome to drag and drop root.

Remember that you can replace nautilus with whatever your favorite browser is, you might try xfe, so after dl of xfe command would be /usr/bin/gksu xfe. If you would like to make an OpenAs that you can manually type any program you want to run as root, Command = /usr/bin/gksu.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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