After a forced reboot a particular folder in my home directory is owned by nobody. I am trying to change that to root but I get the following

chown: cannot read directory ‘databases/’: Permission denied.

This is the command I sudo chown -R root databases/ and this is the permission of the folder:

drwxrwx--x 36 nobody nobody 4096 Jul 9 08:10 databases

How can change the ownership?

  • 1
    Can you please provide the output of mount | grep home? This will allow use to check the filesystem type as well as confirm it's not mounted read-only.
    – mjturner
    Jul 10, 2015 at 11:05
  • VTC+Delete since it's abandoned. Another poster can then try with their own situation, perhaps more proactively
    – roaima
    Jul 24, 2022 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


It depends on the file system in which your folder resides. It could be that your file system either does not support Linux permissions/ownerships (e.g. NTFS) or that something corrupted when you forced the reboot. This might be a silly suggestion, but have you tried also with chown -R root:root databases/ (either with sudo or directly as root)?


Check if the attributes for the folder are proper. Do this:


It should give some output like this:

----i--------e-- ./databases

Now, if the i attribute is present, it means that the folder is not editable. So, you should remove that attribute and keep only the e attribute. To do this, do:

sudo chattr =e databases/

After this, you can now change the ownership.

  • 1
    I tried run lsattr but I have lsattr: Permission denied While reading flags on ./databases. I also tried with sudo but with the same resuts
    – salvador
    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:27

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