I want to clear space on my computer in order to download drivers for my internet, so I tried moving files to a different location.

Unfortunately I don't have permission to do this. How do I change this? I should point out that I am not logged in; I think I'm a guest or something because if I log in I cannot gain access to the internet to download the drivers that I need, so I'm using the live cd in Try Ubuntu mode to try achieve downloading the drivers.

  • 2
    Have a look at my Post, see if it helps. – Mitch Jul 3 '13 at 5:49
  • Maybe the following link will help when you have a similar problem, askubuntu.com/questions/956002/… – sudodus Sep 17 '17 at 6:10
  • Do you want to move files from the hard disk with the installed system, or to free up space on your live CD/DVD/USB itself? I think you mean the first. See Recovering user files with a Live CD. (For the second, please edit your question with details.) Your problem is different but the solution is similar and my answer shows how to deal with permissions problems. Remember that if you move files into a nonpersistent live environment, like a live CD/DVD/USB's desktop, they will be gone when you reboot, so don't do that. – Eliah Kagan Sep 17 '17 at 7:05

To move files, you can use (1) sudo to execute a command as the root and ()2) mv to move them. You must open a Terminal, for instance, by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal and run the follwing command:

$ sudo mv -f -i <Source> <Destination>

The -f option will force the move. The -i will instruct mv to ask for permission before overwrite some file. Example: sudo mv -f -i /home/user/test /home/user/test1

To copy the files, you can use

sudo cp -i -v <Source> <Destination>

Example: sudo cp -i -v /home/user/test /home/user/test1


If you use the Try Ubuntu feature and fire up Terminal, type in the following command:

    sudo su

This will log you in as super user without typing a password. You should see the word root before the prompt. Then you can change directory and you will have permission.

  • ok i have the root prompt, what do i type in after that? – James Jul 3 '13 at 3:14
  • also when i right click the files i want to move, it only comes up "send to" not "move to" what is the problem there? will they both do the same thing and completely move the files from one space to another? – James Jul 3 '13 at 3:23
  • Do this in Terminal. So, after 'sudo su', cd into the directory that contains the file that you wish to move, then use the following syntax: 'mv nameOfFile /location/of/where/you/want/to/move'. Using 'pwd' helps you determine your current file directory location. This will make it easier to specify where you want to move your file to. Also, note the space I put between nameOfFile and /location. – sameetandpotatoes Jul 3 '13 at 3:40
  • ok im having major problems with this, i want to move files in the computer, these files contai then folders: bin, boot, cdrom, dev, etc, home, lib, media, mnt, opt, proc, rofs, root, run, sbin, selinux, srv, sys, tmp, usr, var and 4 files: initrd.img, initrd.img.old, vmlinuz and vmlinuz.old. im not sure if i can move these file cuz they may be the basic files to run ubuntu, im not sure, i just want them moved form the computer to the 110GB hard drive, is this possible? – James Jul 3 '13 at 4:00
  • I do not think it would be possible because when you installed Ubuntu, you installed the bootloader also. Moving those files will not move the bootloader, thus rendering your system unable to boot. I would recommend fresh installing Ubuntu on the 110 GB Hard Drive. After this, you should have plenty of space to install those drivers you mentioned. – sameetandpotatoes Jul 3 '13 at 4:12

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