I am no longer able to access external drives on my computer (running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS). It was working fine a few weeks ago, so I'm not sure what changed.

I get this error message when trying to open the drive in Nautilus, for both USB drives and my extra hard drive:

Unable to access "8.1 GB Volume"
Not authorized to perform action

When I run Nautilus as root, it doesn't even show the drives. I was able to run sudo gnome-disks and interact with the drives that way. If I just run gnome-disks, then I don't have permissions and get the same error message.

I don't have this issue on another Ubuntu 18.04 LTS machine with the same USB drive. Nautilus without root works fine. So I don't think the issue is with the drives but rather is with the computer.

  • Please show us, findmnt | grep media and getfactl /media/$USER – nobody Nov 25 '19 at 18:17

I finally figured it out. My user account was part of the chrome-remote-desktop group. Once I removed it from that group and restarted my computer, auto-mounting and accessing the drives works as expected.

I had added my user to the chrome-remote-desktop following this post: https://superuser.com/a/850359/588342. After doing so, chrome-remote-desktop auto-runs on startup. Instead of that, I just added a command to run it in "Startup Applications Preferences": /opt/google/chrome-remote-desktop/chrome-remote-desktop --start

  • Hello, what is your solution? Keep using remote-desktop and auto mount at the same time. I mean once you add your user back to that group chrome-remote-desktop auto mount is not working, but when you remove the user from that group, remote-desktop is not working. – sflee Jan 12 '20 at 12:49
  • 1
    I removed my user from the group chrome-remote-desktop and added chrome-remote-desktop to the startup applications via the GUI. Both auto mount and chrome-remote-desktop are working for me now. – catanasian Jan 14 '20 at 1:21
  • Thank you very much. – sflee Jan 14 '20 at 2:18

Use command:

sudo chown yourusername:yourusername /media/yourusername/path_to_mounted_volume

In nautilus user mode the volumes are mounted in /media/yourusername/

Replace yourusername with your user name and path_to_mounted_volume with path from command:

ls -l /media/yourusername/
  • ls -l /media/yourusername/ returns total 0. There's no path_to_mounted_volume. – catanasian Nov 25 '19 at 17:32
  • First mount the volume using nautilus. The output should be somehow: drwxr-xr-x 11 root root 4096 júl 7 18:06 disk2 – kukulo Nov 25 '19 at 17:35
  • The d in drwxr-xr-x stands for directory. Of course your name will be different. – kukulo Nov 25 '19 at 17:36
  • Change yourusername to your user name. – kukulo Nov 25 '19 at 17:37
  • Trying to mount using Nautilus gives me the same error: Unable to access location Not authorized to perform operation – catanasian Nov 25 '19 at 17:51

I have tried it but still can't work. The workaround is keep username in chrome-remote-desktop. Remove chrome-remote-desktop service from systemctl.

sudo systemctl disable chrome-remote-desktop

Then add command /opt/google/chrome-remote-desktop/chrome-remote-desktop --start to "Startup Applications Preferences" via the GUI.

  • # systemctl disable chrome-remote-desktopchrome-remote-desktop.service is not a native service, redirecting to systemd-sysv-install. Executing: /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install disable chrome-remote-desktop – James Bowery Mar 1 '20 at 19:27
  • Didn't work after systemctl disable and run on startup. Still get "Not authorized...." even after reboot. – James Bowery Mar 1 '20 at 19:45
  • Worked after # gpasswd -d myusername chrome-remote-desktop so I'm not sure why you said "keep username in chrome-remote-desktop" when a prior answer said to delete it from chrome-remote-desktop and gave the other commands you gave. ie: The prior answer gave the correct solution at least for me but apparently did more than you needed. – James Bowery Mar 1 '20 at 19:55

Today I had the same issue with my external 500gb hdd, I did next, it helped me:

sudo apt remove chrome-remote-desktop

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