Accidentally locked folders and files

I have a USB drive with some holiday photographs on it. I was in the process of deleting the pics I didn't want and, somehow, all of the folders and files on the drive are locked. I don't know how I did that but I would like to unlock all of the folders so I can continue with my editing. I cannot find any way to unlock them. Can you tell me how I do that.

I'm not sure how you did this either. At the root directory where the usb is mounted (either /mnt or /media) right click the device, choose properties then go to the security tab and take a screen shot.


Change the group permission to read / write (dropdown list under Philip) . You can do this from the terminal also by using:

sudo chmod +w /media/<name-of-usb-directory>

Let me know if either of these work. Please replace what is in angle brackets with the name of the usb dir.


Hi 337harvey,
Thanks for your help. When I try to change the permission under 'philip' I get this:


and, if I use the terminal (assuming my syntax is correct), I get:

chmod: cannot access '/media/philip/Laptop': No such file or directory
chmod: cannot access 'USB': No such file or directory

Should I have kept your angle brackets? (I didn't)

Sorry, I might have misunderstood our instructions. I have tried the terminal again with: sudo chmod +w /media/philip

'philip' is the directory containing the USB. It accepted the command, but nothing was changed regarding permissions.

I think you just need to use the chmod command as above but reference the target in speech marks (as you have a space), so..
'/media/philip/Laptop USB'


It may be controlled by fstab... meaning you hit a default for mounting usb as read only when the notification popped up. Fstab entries have priority over all users except root. In terminal use the command:

sudo gedit /etc/fstab 

and change the three digits on the usb device (mounted at /media/philip) to 022. Don't change other entries, just the usb. The mount point will appear in the middle of the screen. You should have one for / and possibly /home (depending on how you installed). Save and close the editor. Then logout and log back in and see if you can access the thumb drive with write permissions.

I got this after this command:

/etc/fstab: static file system information.

Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a

device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices

that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).

/ was on /dev/sda2 during installation

UUID=7eec14c0-a188-498b-89bb-16bfffe47bd5 / ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1

/boot/efi was on /dev/sda1 during installation

UUID=2C96-4662 /boot/efi vfat umask=0077 0 1
/swapfile none swap sw 0 0

OK. I've backed up everything from the USB drive to my Laptop's hard-drive. Can I now format the USB drive and then copy the files back to it?
If so, what is the best way to do that?
Thanks again for help.

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