I am a Ubuntu user, recently I switched from Ubuntu 14.04(Unity one) to Ubuntu 14.04 (GNOME one). I have used Ubuntu 14.04 for around one year and never faced issues in creating, modifying and deleting files in my home folder when logged in as administrator.

Now in GNOME I don't have permissions to delete, open and modify some files. I cannot even move one folder into another. There is an error saying you cannot handle this folder because you don't have permissions to read it.

I followed some links and tried to change permissions by right clicking on the folders but still I don't get permissions. If I perform operations in terminal using 'sudo' there are no problems but why cannot I do things through GUI? How to get these permissions? These problems weren't there in my previous Ubuntu, I was the owner of all the files and folder and could do anything from GUI only.

I am facing one more problem. I am an android studio user and there are some projects in my home folder, some of the project files are shown with a lock icon on them and only root can access them. So, when I run studio it cannot access those files and shows error. Moreover I have installed android studio, made a project and saved it. I created a desktop entry for the studio.sh file so that I don't have to run the studio.sh file from terminal again and again. When I open android studio now whether through terminal or even the launcher I am greeted with fresh setup again. I run the studio.sh file using 'sudo' only. I feel like both the issues are there because I don't have required permissions. Any help is appreciated.


To fix it and conquer back all files in your home directory, run

sudo chown -R $USER: ~

And for the future:

Do not run GUI applications with sudo, but use for example gksu or at least sudo -i or sudo -H to prevent it from taking ownership of files in your home directory.

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Simpliest way:

You need to change the owner of those files:

sudo chown `whoami` path/to/file

Makes your current user (output of the command whoami) to the owner of the files.

sudo chown -cR username:groupname path/to/folder

Makes user username of group groupname owner of folder and all subfolders and files. The name of the group is probably the same as your username. Listing every group a user is in can be done via:

groups username
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  • Thanks for the help. First command is working fine, but in second one terminal is showing usages for example I want to be owner of all files and folders in my home directory so I entered: sudo -cR gautamp8 /home but terminal shows different usages on pressing enter. – gautamp8 Jan 26 '16 at 12:02
  • @gautamp8 correct, you also need the group in the recursive command, i edited the post. – h0ch5tr4355 Jan 26 '16 at 12:12
  • Well, tried this also, as you said groupname is same as the username. I used this: sudo -cR gatamp8:gautamp8 /home but not working. I explored more on your answer and found that this command will change the owner of all folders and subfolders sudo chown -R username:group directory and its working for me. askubuntu.com/questions/6723/… . You can update your answer with this command and I will mark it as correct :) Thanks! – gautamp8 Jan 26 '16 at 12:32
  • @gautamp8 The -c shouldn't have an effect there, it just says, that only files are displayed where the changing of the ownership actually took place. – h0ch5tr4355 Jan 26 '16 at 12:37
  • Okay I understand, I am not an much experienced with terminal commands but chown -R worked for me. I tried your solution by using different ways but it is not working. – gautamp8 Jan 26 '16 at 12:59

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