Finding the Installed System's Partition(s)
When you're running from the live CD/DVD/USB,
/home is the parent of home directories on the live CD system (nothing much interesting there), not the parent of home directories on the installed system.
You have to find your hard disk, which is listed on the left side of any file browser window, near the top. Mount that (or if there's more than one volume listed, mount the one for your Ubuntu system, or if you're not sure, mount them all and go through them to see). As Mark Rooney commented, you can just click on it to mount it. Then find the home folder in there.
That will probably be sufficient to enable you to copy your files out. Remember that copying them, say, to the desktop of the live CD system would be useless, as they would go away when you reboot. Instead you must:
- copy them to an external drive or USB flash drive (but if you're booted from a USB flash drive, not that one, unless it has a persistent area and you really know what you're doing), or
- put them on another machine on the network, or email them to yourself, or otherwise store them on an Internet server (for example, with a service like Ubuntu One), or
- burn them to a CD/DVD.
Overcoming Errors About Insufficient Permissions
If you are told that you lack permissions to access any of the files, then you can get around this by using a Nautilus (i.e., file browser) window running as root. To do that, press Alt+F2, type in
gksu nautilus (or
gksudo nautilus), and press Enter.
A file browser window run this way pretty much has the power to perform any action, and programs launched from it--for example, by right-clicking on a document in it and clicking to open it--will run as root as well. So you should be careful. And close the root Nautilus window when you're done with it so you don't accidentally use it to break something.
Some Ubuntu live ISOs don't have the gksu package, which provides the
gksudo commands, installed by default.
- You can install it (live environments support nonpersistent software installation).
- But it would probably be easier to use
sudo -H nautilus or
sudo -i nautilus, which are okay too.
If Your File Browser Isn't
Nautilus is called Files (or GNOME Files) in newer versions, but the command to run it is still
nautilus. However, if your live CD/DVD/USB system for an Ubuntu flavor that's not GNOME (or Unity) based, the default file browser will be different and will require a different command to run as root.
- "Vanilla" Ubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Edubuntu, and Ubuntu GNOME are all GNOME-based (either GNOME/Unity or GNOME with the GNOME Shell). So they all have Nautilus/Files, and you can go ahead and use
sudo -H nautilus, or
sudo -i nautilus, just as described above.
- Kubuntu is KDE 4 – based. Dolphin is file browser. Unlike the other desktop environments, KDE provides its own way to run graphical programs as root:
kdesudo. So use
kdesudo dolphin. (
sudo -H dolphin or
sudo -i dolphin would also work.)
- Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Mythbuntu are Xfce-based. Thunar is the file browser. You can use
sudo -H thunar, or
sudo -i thunar.
- Lubuntu is LXDE-based. PCManFM is the file browser. You can use
sudo -H pcmanfm, or
sudo -i pcmanfm.
- Ubuntu MATE will be MATE-based. Caja is the file browser. You can use
sudo -H caja, or
sudo -i caja.