cp: cannot create symbolic link ‘/xyz/pdq’: Operation not permitted

So, I'm trying to copy one directory to a Veracrypt encrypted USB stick. Command I used was:

cp -aL /source /destination

I've also tried:

cp -ad /source /destination

I looked at the problem links and they don't link outside the copied directory tree. Clue?

  • 2
    What filesystem are you using inside the Veracrypt partition? – David King Jan 11 '16 at 17:06
  • The file system is ext4 – user447607 Jan 11 '16 at 18:26

Just for you I played with Veracrypt(never heard the name before :D).

Have you formatted the drive as FAT? Then thats your problem. When Veracrypt asks you, format it as NTFS instead of FAT and then try again.

FAT32 unfortunately does not support owner, permissions or symlinks. That is why you are getting an Operation not permitted error. Note that this error is not “permission denied”: “operation not permitted” often means “operation not supported”, i.e. nobody can do this.

  • Thanks siddharth and @Gilles . “operation not permitted” often means “operation not supported".. This has perfectly explained the situation. Thanks once again! – mk.. Jun 22 '16 at 4:04
  • 3
    @mk.. That's not always the case: sometimes “operation not permitted” can mean a lack of permission. EACCESS (“permission denied”) is about file ownership and permission modes, while EPERM is about other kinds of control, for example system calls that are reserved to root. The rule of thumb is that EACCESS can be solved by chmod/chown, EPERM is a more fundamental problem. – Gilles Jun 22 '16 at 7:01
  • 1
    VeraCrypt appears to be one pretty decent inheritor of the TrueCrypt mantle. We'll see if that lasts. They have passed a security review or two. – user447607 Feb 6 '17 at 15:54

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