How to delete locked folders/files? When I try to delete them an error occurs: "Error removing file: Permission denied" I am root. See the image below to know what kind of folders/files.

enter image description here


  • Did you launch your file explorer as root? – Henry Mar 23 '15 at 20:18
  • I am sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about, I'm new... – Leonardo Mar 23 '15 at 20:18
  • Try going to the terminal at typing in "sudo nautilus", then press enter. Type your password when prompted, this will open the file explorer (nautilus) and give it root permissions – Henry Mar 23 '15 at 20:20
  • Sorry, but if you're new, then are you sure you really need to delete these? – user300458 Mar 23 '15 at 20:24
  • @ user300458 - yes, I am sure. @ Henry - I will try thanks – Leonardo Mar 23 '15 at 20:25

Launch your file explorer as root using:

gksudo nautilus

This will open your file explorer, and grant it root, so it should be able to view/delete the directory/file.

If you are like me, and don't care about the warnings in this question you can use this instead:

sudo nautilus
  • gksudo nautilus (not sudo) – user300458 Mar 23 '15 at 20:22
  • sudo works as well, I never understood why people used gksudo, it always caused my more trouble because I needed to install it, as it was not included with my system. And I find it more annoying to have to wait for the window to open, then type in my password, possibly blocking other open windows. I prefer if it just asked for my password in the terminal, it's quicker and less obstructive. – Henry Mar 23 '15 at 20:23
  • askubuntu.com/q/11760/300458 – user300458 Mar 23 '15 at 20:25
  • Edited my answered to include both sudo and gksudo – Henry Mar 23 '15 at 20:32
  • IT WORKED ONLY WITH GKSUDO – Leonardo Mar 23 '15 at 20:58

Try the following: launch Terminal and enter

sudo rm -rf '/path/to/locked/folder'

And be VERY careful with the path to folder!



  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Run command:

    sudo su
  3. Command above would ask for your password.
  4. Once the correct password is given, you would give following command.

    chmod a+rwx folder/file 

    and go to home and just delete the folder/file.

  5. Exit for root user type exit.

  • @Zanna: sudo su works on my system and I didn't change the root account or the sudoers configuration in a relevant way. But it's unnecessary because one could just run sudo chmod ... instead. – David Foerster Oct 25 '16 at 10:02
  • @DavidFoerster I thought I had deleted that comment already! but yes indeed it's completely unnecessary – Zanna Oct 25 '16 at 10:03
  • 1
    This answer is basically the same as kos' but with less detail and worse practices. – David Foerster Oct 25 '16 at 10:04
  • yeah agree with that too – Zanna Oct 25 '16 at 10:04

The lock symbol means your user currently have no write permission on the file/folder. To change this:

  1. Check the current owner/group/permissions status by right clicking the file/folder, clicking Properties and then switching to the Permissions tab.
  2. Open a Terminal by hitting Ctrl+Alt+t.
    • If you are the Owner of the file (i.e. the Owner field shows your username): add write permission to the owner by running this command: chmod u+w <path_to_file_folder>
    • If you are not the Owner of the file, but you are in the Group group (i.e. the Group field shows your username or a name of a group to which you belong, e.g. sudo): add write permission to the group by running this command: sudo chmod g+w <path_to_file_folder>
    • If you are not the Owner of the file and you are not in the Group group: add write permission to the others by running this command: sudo chmod o+w <path_to_file_folder>
  3. Run exit

And then just delete the file/folder from Nautilus.


  1. Open a Terminal by hitting Ctrl+Alt+t.
    • Remove the file/folder as root by running this command: sudo rm -rf <path_to_file_folder>

Here is something , that I found was easier to do instead of opening terminal. Right-Click the file and open properties. Then switch to the permissions tab. Then wherever it says Access: change it from whatever it is to Create And Delete Files. This should remove the lock and then you can delete the file normally.

protected by Community Apr 28 '17 at 15:36

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.