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How To Change Ownership of a Mounted Device in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15

In this article, we will delve into the process of changing the ownership of a mounted device in Ubuntu. This task can be a bit complex, especially when dealing with Microsoft file systems such as NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. However, with a clear understanding of the steps involved, you can successfully change the ownership of a mounted device.

Quick Answer

To change the ownership of a mounted device in Ubuntu, you need to unmount the device and then remount it with the desired ownership and permissions using the mount command. This process allows you to set the user ID, group ID, and permissions for the device.

Understanding the Challenge

When you attempt to change the ownership of a mounted USB drive in Ubuntu, you may encounter an “Operation not permitted” error. This error typically arises when you lack sufficient privileges to make the change, even when using the sudo command.

Another command, chattr -i file, might return an “Inappropriate ioctl for device” error. This error occurs because the chattr command is not supported by the file system. Therefore, it’s not applicable in this scenario and should not be used.

The Solution: Remounting the Device

The most effective solution to this challenge is to unmount the device and then remount it with the desired ownership and permissions. The ownership and permissions of a device are set when the device is mounted, and they cannot be modified without unmounting and remounting the device.

Step 1: Unmount the Device

First, you need to unmount the drive. You can do this using the umount command:

sudo umount <Drive Name>

Replace <Drive Name> with the name of your device.

Step 2: Remount the Device with Desired Ownership and Permissions

Next, remount the device with the desired ownership and permissions. You can use the mount command with the appropriate options:

sudo mount -o uid=<user ID>,gid=<group ID>,umask=022 <Device Name> <Mount Point>

Here’s what each parameter does:

  • uid=<user ID>: This sets the user ID for the device. Replace <user ID> with your actual user ID.
  • gid=<group ID>: This sets the group ID for the device. Replace <group ID> with your actual group ID.
  • umask=022: This sets the permissions for the device. 022 is a common umask that gives read and write permissions to the owner, and read permissions to the group and others.
  • <Device Name>: Replace this with the name of your device.
  • <Mount Point>: Replace this with the location where you want to mount the device.

Step 3: Find Your User and Group IDs

If you’re unsure about your user and group IDs, you can use the id command to retrieve them:

id -u <username>
id -g <groupname>

Replace <username> and <groupname> with your actual username and group name.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to change the ownership of a mounted device in Ubuntu, you need to unmount and remount the device with the desired ownership and permissions. The chattr command is not applicable in this scenario and should be avoided.

For further information and alternative solutions, you can refer to this helpful Ubuntu forum post.

The process may seem a bit complex, especially for beginners, but with a little practice, you can easily change the ownership of a mounted device in Ubuntu.

How can I check the ownership and permissions of a mounted device in Ubuntu?

You can use the ls -l command to list the ownership and permissions of a mounted device in Ubuntu. This command will display detailed information about the files and directories, including the owner, group, and permissions.

Can I change the ownership of a mounted device without unmounting it?

No, you cannot change the ownership of a mounted device without unmounting it. The ownership and permissions are set when the device is mounted, and they cannot be modified while the device is mounted. You need to unmount and then remount the device with the desired ownership and permissions.

Is it possible to change the ownership of a Microsoft file system (NTFS, FAT32, exFAT) in Ubuntu?

Yes, it is possible to change the ownership of a Microsoft file system in Ubuntu. However, it requires additional steps and considerations. You need to make sure that the file system is properly mounted with the appropriate options to allow ownership changes. Additionally, you may need to install additional packages, such as ntfs-3g, to enable read and write access to NTFS partitions.

How can I find the device name and mount point of a mounted device in Ubuntu?

You can use the lsblk command to list all the available block devices and their corresponding mount points in Ubuntu. The device name will typically be something like /dev/sdb1, and the mount point will be the directory where the device is currently mounted.

What should I do if I encounter an “Operation not permitted” error when trying to change the ownership of a mounted device?

If you encounter an "Operation not permitted" error when trying to change the ownership of a mounted device, make sure you are running the command with root privileges using sudo. If the error persists, you may need to unmount the device and remount it with the desired ownership and permissions.

How can I determine my user and group IDs in Ubuntu?

You can use the id command followed by the -u option to retrieve your user ID and the -g option to retrieve your group ID. For example, id -u myusername will display your user ID, and id -g mygroupname will display your group ID. Replace myusername and mygroupname with your actual username and group name.

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