I installed Ubuntu 14.04 on a Dell XPS 420 that has 2 hard disks of 750GB each. There is still plenty of room on the first disk. I am using it to store old photos and music so it will soon fill up.

The second disk wasn't formatted during the Ubuntu installation so I used GParted to format it in one volume as ext4, but then found I don't have permission to copy any files onto it as it belongs to Root.

If I keep going and fill up the first disk will Root Ubuntu automatically overflow my home folder with pictures and music onto the second disk please? Otherwise is it ok to reformat the second disk as NTFS and store stuff on it but not in my home folder under music or pictures?


In the current configuration Ubuntu doesn't automagically use the free space on the secondary drive. There are multiple solutions to your problem. The easiest would probably be to make use of the ext4 file system you already created on it:

  1. Attach or mount¹ the file system on the secondary disk, e. g. through Nautilus or Gnome Disks. By default it should then be mounted¹ to a directory in /media or /media/$USER, where $USER is your local login name. I'll refer to this directory, the mount point¹, by [mountpoint].

  2. Now you need to transfer the ownership of the root directory of said file system to your user account. To that purpose open a terminal with a command interpreter (e. g. through the application Gnome Terminal) and type:

    sudo chown "$USER:" [mountpoint]

    As soon as you press Enter, you'll be asked to authenticate yourself with your account password (press Enter again), because the root directory of new file systems initially belong to the system.

  3. You should now be able to access and write to that file system with your regular user account and without system-level or super-user¹ privileges.

¹ This term is the common technical term in the Linux and Unix world. I tried to explain it with more colloquial terms, so you grasp their meaning from the context.

  • @guntbert: Thanks for the suggestion. I tried to elaborate the instructions. – David Foerster Nov 23 '14 at 23:26
  • @mnsh: Is that clear enough or should I go on? – David Foerster Nov 23 '14 at 23:26
  • David can I click somewhere to give you a +1 vote for your help? – mnsh Dec 7 '14 at 9:48
  • Please have a look at What should I do when someone answers my question?. There are handles at the top left-hand side of each answer to issue votes and accept them. – David Foerster Dec 8 '14 at 5:14

Not by default. You should configure it that way using LVM at install time it you want that way.

  • 2
    you are suggesting that adding a disk cannot be done after initial install. this is not the case. Though a little bit more tricky, it can certainly be done. Your answer may cause the user do an unnecessary re-install – matv1 Nov 23 '14 at 12:50

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