I was doing some alterations but in one I messed up.

I changed the permissions of almost everything inside the /usr folder to my own user. It didn't change everything because it failed in the middle of the execution, I still have /sbin, /share and /src assigned to root.

the command I ran was this (this was executed while inside /usr):

sudo chown -R myuser:myuser .

Is there any way for me to revert this?

If I run:

sudo chown -R root:root .

I get this error:

sudo: /usr/bin/sudo must be owned by uid 0 and have the setuid bit set

  • 1
    I would advice a re-install without formatting. – Rinzwind Jun 2 '14 at 19:21
  • That is what I'm thinking. But just before I go and do that I thought I'd come here for a better solution if there is one. – Rodrigo Sasaki Jun 2 '14 at 19:22
  • You should be able to fix this in a single user session by booting into recovery mode. See this document, follow the instructions to get a root prompt and remount your root partition as read-write, and then you should be able to cd /usr and chown -R root:root . – rocketman10404 Jun 2 '14 at 19:24
  • "Better" well... you could manually fix /usr/bin and /usr/bin/sudo and anything else that throws an error. But,unless you want to do that as a learning exercise, I would not waste time and just reinstall (without formatting) – Rinzwind Jun 2 '14 at 19:24
  • @rocketman10404 not everting in /usr/bin is root:root :) (chage is root:shadow bsd-write is root:tty crontab is root:crontab Not sure if it matters though ;) ) – Rinzwind Jun 2 '14 at 19:26

You cannot just chown -R the /usr partition, because not everything in that partition is owned by root. It sucks, you'll have to reinstall everything, but the only safe solution is to do a reinstall or recover from a backup.


It does suck to do a complete re-install. that is certainly one option. However, most of the files in /usr/bin ARE root:root. These are the only ones which aren't:

-rwsr-sr-x  1 daemon daemon     51464 Oct 21  2013 at
-rwxr-sr-x  1 root   shadow     54968 Feb 17 02:42 chage
-rwxr-sr-x  1 root   crontab    35984 Feb  9  2013 crontab
-rwsr-xr-x  1 root   lpadmin    14336 Apr 10 19:40 lppasswd
-rwxr-sr-x  3 root   mail       14592 Dec  3  2012 mail-lock
-rwxr-sr-x  3 root   mail       14592 Dec  3  2012 mail-touchlock
-rwxr-sr-x  3 root   mail       14592 Dec  3  2012 mail-unlock
-rwxr-sr-x  1 root   mlocate    39520 Jun 20  2013 mlocate
-rwxr-sr-x  1 root   ssh       284784 May 12 17:04 ssh-agent
-rwxr-sr-x  1 root   tty        19024 Apr 16 17:07 wall 

for a standard install. In /usr/sbin it's:

-rwsr-xr--  1 root    dip      343168 Jan 22  2013 pppd
-rwsr-sr-x  1 libuuid libuuid   18904 Apr 16 17:07 uuidd

in /usr/lib/

drwxr-xr-x   2 root utempter     4096 May  7 23:46 utempter

in /usr/local/share

 drwxrwsr-x  2 root staff 4096 Aug 20  2013 ca-certificates
 drwxrwsr-x  2 root staff 4096 Aug 20  2013 fonts
 drwxrwsr-x  7 root staff 4096 May  8 17:11 sgml
 drwxrwsr-x  6 root staff 4096 May  8 17:11 xml

and in /usr/local/lib any python directories, e.g:

 drwxrwsr-x  4 root staff 4096 May  8 18:44 python2.7
  • obviously if you have installed lots of additional software, there may be others - but if you re-install without formatting it won't fix those anyway – Nick Veitch Jun 2 '14 at 20:53

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