Unable to transfer files to external drive

I tried many ways to transfer files to my usb but everytime it says only one thing. Access denied, what should I do?

The quick-and-dirty way of doing it:

In Terminal, type:
sudo nautilus

Nautilus (file manager) will start up as sudo. Navigate to the USB stick, right-click it, select Properties, then go to the Permissions tab and set:

Owner: {your username}
Access: Create and delete files
Group: {your username}
Access: Access files
Others: {BLANK}
Access: Access files

Exit out of that dialog box via the 'x' in the upper-right hand corner, exit nautilus, then try to transfer files to the USB drive.

If the USB stick is older, some of them have a switch on the side that you can move to make the USB stick read-only... check for that.

If you still cannot transfer files, there might be something wrong with the USB stick, so do a check of the drive.

...or the specific USB port you are using. So also try another USB port.

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What is the usb formatted as (check disks app for fs). Was it used in a windows machine?

Good point, 337harvey. If the drive is formatted for use in ZFS, you can't just transfer files to it... in fact it won't even mount like other drives mount... it has to be 'imported' by the ZFS drivers.

Similarly, if the drive is whole-drive-encrypted, you might not be able to transfer files to it except through the encryption drivers.

If either of the above are the case, and you don't have files you need on that drive, you can wipe the drive, format it with another file system, then transfer files to it.

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