File ownership changed after transfer from NTFS partition

Hi. I would like to know why the file ownership has changed to root when I copied my music files from an external NTFS drive to my drive D: which is also an NTFS partition. Being new to Linux how can I change the ownership or why I should or should not.

Thanking you in advance,

The most common cause of ownership changing to root is when you issue the copy command as the superuser. As in sudo cp ... or being in a root window... or some such.

Was the command issued at a terminal prompt? or through a GUI?

How do you have a drive labeled "D:" on a linux system?

Changing ownership is with the chown command. Because they are owned by root, you will have to be root to issue the command.


Hi, I used the GUI "files" to copy, and the drive is a NTFS part. and Linux just mounted it like that using "Disks". It is my 25 years as a Windows user talking here. It has a device name. As I get older I am in no way going to be able to learn Linux the way I know Windows. I have already accepted that.
I don't even know what the chown command is nor, how to use it.

Thank You.

Unfortunately, I don't have a way to create an NTFS partition to walk through what you did and see where it went wrong. There are two ways to mount NTFS partitions: with limited support through the kernel, and with more complete support of NTFS abilities through fuse and ntfs-3g

I have googled a bit, though, and it seems chown is specifically for Linux ownership only--not NTFS ownership--so that was a bad assumption on my part. And it looks like you have to specifically enable Linux to even see NTFS ownership/permissions, and manually mount accordingly.

There are a few things that might do the trick for you--but every one I know of will require using the command line.

You could be sure you are working through fuse instead of the built-in kernel. Fuse should show the mount owned by you, rather than root. Perhaps your external is automatically mounted using fuse, and the internal NTFS is being mounted with the kernel. Issuing the "mount" command will list all your currently mounted filesystems, and if you have both the internal and external mounted at the time, you may see some difference that will point you in the right direction.

It might make a difference to know which version of Ubuntu-MATE you are using.

It might also help to know what application is labeled "files" in your system. My U-M 22.04 and 18.04 systems don't show an app of that name. Is it Caja? If Caja, I would think that would be all you need to mount both the internal and external partitions, and I suspect it would mount either of them the same way, using fuse, which should show you as the owner, not root. Perhaps the "disks" GUI uses the default kernel interface instead of fuse.

I'm glad to help you work through it however I can--but a specific list of what to do will be hard, though, without a way to create an ntfs partition here.

If you copy something, in linux, the user that runs the copy command becomes the owner of the copy. This is by design.

Extra info:
MS-Windows file attributes don't mean anything in Linux (and vice versa).
The permissionsystem of MS-Windows is much too different from the UNIX/Linux permissionsystem to make any sense.
OTOH Linux credentials/permissions mean nothing in MS-Windows.

P.S. Since the whole NTFS support in Linux is constantly evolving I might be wrong.

@charles-nix : Please let me know if I'm mistaken. I hardly use any NTFS.

@tkn I think you're absolutely right. I haven't used the NTFS mount in decades--Iback then, the kernel interface was the only one, and it was read-only, IIRC. Seems like the Linux kernel was in the early version 2's, and the source partition was from NT 5.1.

The searching I did trying to help showed some information that NTFS is POSIX compliant, though with a very different implementation of what that means, as you say, and said that the fuse interface was able to work somewhat with NTFS perms, but not be default--it has to be explicitly switched to do that. It involved setting up a user-id translation file, and manual mounting, changing parameters in /etc/fstab and some other stuff. Without a way to even create a NTFS partition to play with here, I'd sure never try to lead someone else through what was needed.

@Rusty_Lynx: one thing you might not be aware of is that the permission/owner/access system that Linux uses dates to the earliest Unices, before NTFS, and was public information when NTFS was developed. Microsoft chose to go a different route (which actually allowed much finer-grained control of access, though few users take advantage of the possibilities for security). Unix/Linux later added on many abilities to have finer control.

I feel like the main difference is that in Windows, at least historically, the basic, typical install allowed the main user to do almost anything, unless disallowed. In the Unix/Linux world, to varying degrees, the default position tends toward the basic user can't do much to harm the underlying system or anyone else unless explicitly allowed to.

1 Like

Hi again, well a few other problems have arisen with Mate that I cannot do anything about. I am now to old to start learning, from scratch a new operating system which appears to me to have as many problems as Windows. So I am now contemplating deleting my Linux partitions and stay with Win 10 until it stops being supported by Microsoft (2025). After that I will just throw the computer in the garbage. I have had enough of computers being a computer tech since 1992.
I don't have the stamina, interest, memory or energy to learn Linux which I find to be too alien.
This is like going back to DOS 3.1 Not interested.

Thank you all for the help, there will no longer be any posts.