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I'm currently running Debian(Wheezy) - recently wanted to set some file permissions to open using chmod -R 777 *. I know it's often frowned upon but it was just some code that I needed to view. However when doing it from terminal I took it for granted that I was in the right directory. Turns out I threw that command whilst in File System and therefore set ALL my system to open.

Apart from the obvious security flaw, it also caused bugs within the system, particularly using su or sudo won't work as the files permission in /usr/ have changed.


I read it's simply better to re-install the system over again. I don't mind doing that, however I'd like to ask how may I do it without losing any of the files that I currently have in my harddrive?

  • That depends on how your hard drive is partitioned. Is your /home in a separate partition? Your / partition needs to be formatted so you can't keep your existing applications unless you have a fairly complex partitioning scheme. Keeping your music, photos etc should be easier but we need more details about what you want to keep and how your system is set up. – terdon Dec 6 '14 at 12:40
  • @terdon - No, everything is kept within a single partition. Since this seems like a fairly tedious thing to go through I think the smart thing would be to back everything that I need and simply clean and install the whole system again. However I wanted to know how to possibly go through this in a more professional way rather than just taking the easy way out – Juxhin Dec 6 '14 at 12:42
  • Ugh, next time, make sure you have at least /home on its own partition. That can make situations like this much easier. Anyway, I don't think you have much choice, just backup and reinstall. – terdon Dec 6 '14 at 12:52
  • @Juxhin you can still ON your system right and launch any program ? – Edward Torvalds Dec 6 '14 at 12:54
  • @terdon - Yea that sounds like the way to go. Thanks alot terdon – Juxhin Dec 6 '14 at 12:54

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