I did read the several posts available here on "changing ownership of read-only file systems" but they don't seem to help me.

My external hard drive (which I had previously formatted in OS X and used on it for over a year) doesn't allow me to copy anything from/on to it FROM my Ubuntu 11.10

It says that the file system is read only when I try this:

sudo chown -R my-user-name /"Untitled 1"

Where "Untitled 1" is the name of the external hdd.

Any suggestions?

Even getting into nautilius with sudo nautilius to change the ownership didn't work.

(on a side note, what is nautilius anyway? I know I can google THAT)

What should I do now?

  • 1
    Nautilus is the default file manager in Ubuntu. – Amanda Jan 25 '12 at 20:33

Remount the partition (or disc) but this time with rw (read, write) settings. Should be something like this:

sudo mount -o rw,remount /"Untitled 1"

  • All that in the same line? I am a completely new person to Ubuntu. Because ubuntu says that there is no command such as remount. – dearN Jan 25 '12 at 20:43
  • You could also try typing: sudo umount /"Untitled 1" pressing enter then typing sudo mount -o rw /"Untitled 1" and pressing enter which should have the same affect described here. – Mykroft Jan 25 '12 at 20:50
  • @Mykroft I tried what you said but my terminal said mount: can't find Untitled 1 in /etc/fstab or /etc/mtab :( This is ridiculous! I am beginning to hate ubuntu. – dearN Jan 25 '12 at 20:53
  • And when you typed the above command all on one line it said no such command as remount? – Mykroft Jan 25 '12 at 20:56
  • DNA so add the disc to your /etc/fstab. Remember: Linux/Ubuntu is NOT difficult. It's only different. You learn and it becomes normal to you. – Rinzwind Jan 25 '12 at 21:15

Ok, so after a lot of looking around and conferring with my friends, this is what worked for me.

My external hard drive has a journaled file system (hfs+). I don't quite care what that means but I had to "disable journaling".

For this I had to connect my hdd to my macbook and run the following command in it's terminal

sudo /usr/sbin/diskutil disableJournal /Volumes/name-of-my-external-hdd

That worked and my hdd is now read AND write enabled!!

Hope this helps someone in the future! :)


Usually the cause of the fs being mounted read only is because there are errors. You can run dmesg in a terminal and see if there are any errors reported, and you should check the filesystem with the disk utility.

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