I am trying to run chown on a directory and I get a permission denied. I have tried running sudo and also running the command as root.

If root doesn't have permission, how can I change the owner of this directory?


  • 2
    What filesystem type is the drive that the directory is on?
    – Gav
    Apr 12, 2013 at 0:36
  • Is the directory .gvfs? Apr 12, 2013 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you are trying this on a read-only filesystem. (mounted with option ro, or some other way) If that is the case, there is no way you can achieve what you are trying other than changing the read/write status of the filesystem in question.

With more details we can help you more: at a minimum, look at the full path name and see how your filesystems are mounted (output of mount). You can post both in your question by editing it and we might be able to help you more.

Edit: How to find that your mount options by using commandline mount:

DrSAR@localhost ~ mount

/dev/sdc2 on / type ext4 (rw,relatime,errors=remount-ro,data=ordered)
/var/lib/snapd/snaps/core_6673.snap on /snap/core/6673 type squashfs (ro,nodev,relatime,x-gdu.hide)

The details are not important except for the first option in brackets which states rw for read-write filesystems (like your main hard disk mounted at root /) or ro in the second case.

  • can you give some details on what we should look for in the output of mount? Like how can we know if we are in a read only filesystem? May 21, 2019 at 11:54

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.