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, 2015 at 20:18
  • I am sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about, I'm new...
    – Leonardo
    Mar 23, 2015 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, 2015 at 20:20
  • Sorry, but if you're new, then are you sure you really need to delete these?
    – user300458
    Mar 23, 2015 at 20:24
  • @ user300458 - yes, I am sure. @ Henry - I will try thanks
    – Leonardo
    Mar 23, 2015 at 20:25

5 Answers 5


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, 2015 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, 2015 at 20:23
  • askubuntu.com/q/11760/300458
    – user300458
    Mar 23, 2015 at 20:25
  • Edited my answered to include both sudo and gksudo
    – Henry
    Mar 23, 2015 at 20:32
    – Leonardo
    Mar 23, 2015 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. Oct 25, 2016 at 10:02
  • @DavidFoerster I thought I had deleted that comment already! but yes indeed it's completely unnecessary
    – Zanna
    Oct 25, 2016 at 10:03
  • 1
    This answer is basically the same as kos' but with less detail and worse practices. Oct 25, 2016 at 10:04
  • yeah agree with that too
    – Zanna
    Oct 25, 2016 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.

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