I received a response from bodhi.zazen, but I don't have enough knowledge to understand what I need to do as Xubuntu is new to me.

You set ownership and permissions with chown and chmod . As the files are owned by root use sudo sudo chown your_user:your_user /mount/point . – bodhi.zazen

I am working from a live cd, and need to enable a 320GB external HDD so that it can be used for data storage.

I found the path to the drive by using gparted, it was /dev/sda1. I entered in terminal, the following command:

sudo chown artie:artie /dev/sda1

It didn't like the artie:artie part of the entry. I thought it would be ok to enter any username, because I booted to the live cd. What am I doing wrong?

  • run that from your install not a live cd.
    – Panther
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:51
  • Huh? Does it make any sense to chown a device file? What would that be good for?
    – Byte Commander
    Sep 13, 2017 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


The change of ownership should be made to the mount point (e.g., /data), and not the partition (e.g., /dev/sda1).

For example if /dev/sda1 was mounted on /data, then the command to change the ownership to your username would be something like:

sudo chown username.groupname /data

Where username is your username and groupname is the group you wish to have access. If only one person uses the computer then this would likely also be the same as username in many distros.

  • WOW, now I am more in the dark that before. I have other usb drives formatted in ext 4, and they are able to go from machine to machine without any specific owner being mentioned or changed to accommodate other owners or groups.
    – Art
    Sep 14, 2017 at 21:28
  • I appreciate the help, but it seems there is no easy answer. The usb drives were formatted for ext4, unfortunately NOT by me. I did however see the process as an observer-it took no more than 30 seconds for both drives. I was a total newbie at the time, so I don't know what was typed into the CLI.
    – Art
    Sep 14, 2017 at 21:35
  • The permission change is intended to be made to the Operating System on the computer in which you wish to read the file system. If the change is made while booted from a Live CD, then the change will disappear immediately after reboot. Also double check the format on your other drives that work. Are they exfat instead of ext4? Sep 16, 2017 at 15:40

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