I accidentally locked my Ubuntu System. Now everything is read only. The closest i can remember which might have done this is, I was trying to change the authority of a fstab symllink with chown -h myusername /db. Now everything is read only, file system, mounted volume, all except my home folder. Even when i open the file browser as admin i.e. sudo nautilus i can't create and change any file or folder.

What might have caused this? Help me turn things back to normal.


It sounds like you've accidentally changed the permissions of /etc/fstab. You should be able to use sudo because /var/run/sudo is mounted on the /var/run filesystem (or /run for Oneiric and up).

First, make the root partition writable again:

sudo mount -o remount,rw /

Next, restore the permissions:

sudo chown root: /etc/fstab

After that, future boots should not make everything read-only.

  • Ok, the filesystem and new mounts are working, but the previously mounted drives and thumb drive are still read only. How to fix them. – mrNepal Oct 30 '11 at 8:35
  • Use mount to find the mount points and use the remount trick from the answer. – Lekensteyn Oct 30 '11 at 9:28
  • I hope I know how to?, I umount the drive, and tried this syntax, sudo mount /dev/sda5 -o removount,rw /, but it didn't work – mrNepal Oct 31 '11 at 7:06
  • Can you tell me how to find the mount points? – mrNepal Oct 31 '11 at 12:16
  • Run the command mount. Really, without any options, it prints mounted filesystems. – Lekensteyn Oct 31 '11 at 13:09

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