Sorry if this has been asked before, I searched and searched, but couldn't get to the bottom of this.

I have a PC running ubuntu 12.04, which I'm using as a media centre. The internal drive has only 84GB so I have added an external 2TB USB drive. It is formatted as NTFS and I have mounted it at /home so that all the users' home directories end up on the external drive and can be filled with movies, music etc without impinging on the tiny internal drive

However I have just realised that every file on the drive has onwer:group root:root and permissions 777. If I try to chown or chmod the files it appears to work, but nothing changes. my line from fstab is

UUID=1EBC02CFBC02A0FF /home ntfs defaults 0 2

Any suggestions to how my users can get correct permiissions on their files?


1 Answer 1


It is formatted as NTFS

NTFS is a Windows' filesystem and doesn't support Unix permissions. Mounting is translating NTFS permissions into Unix.

Short answer -- if you want to do this, back up data, reboot into recovery, unmount /home, format the external as ext4, mount /home, and replace the directories, changing permissions on each user folder recursively, as follows:

sudo chown USER:USER -R /home/USER
sudo chmod o-rwx -R /home/USER
  • Thank-you for the reply. That's unfortunate, because the drive has just had 1 TB of data transferred onto it from a faulty drive (that can be read, but won't write) so I've nowhere to back it up to. Nov 12, 2013 at 13:58

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