Funnily, my newly vfat-formatted USB stick is automatically mounted when I plug it in, nautilus sees it, I can access it, I can see the permissions in the nautilus right click dialog (755), I can create and delete files from command line:

$ touch/run/mount/christian/XXXX-XXXX/anyfile.txt

I can even move files (with Del key) into trash from within nautilus.

But when I try to create a new directory,a new file, or copy a file to that stick using nautilus in Arch linux, I just get the error message (German):

Fehler beim Kopieren nach »Datenträger 4,0 GB«.
Das Ziel ist schreibgeschützt

Which means: **Error copying to »Storage device 4,0 GB - Target is read-only«

I don't get it. It can't be on OS layer. I can touch, delete, renamy, copy anything on the command line. It must be something GNOME restricts. Is it necessary to be in a group in Arch/GNOME to write to USB devices? And why can I delete files (Move to trash and delete is possible from within nautilus!) I am in the following groups:

sys lp wheel network video audio storage power libvirt users
  • 1
    "schreibgeschützt" doesn't mean read-only, it means write-protected, and that is something entirely different. E.g. a CD-ROM is not write-protected, but it is read-Only
    – Anthon
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 22:05
  • What's the difference b'tween read-only and write-protected in practice? What can I do on a CD-ROM, other than reading?
    – nerdoc
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 0:19
  • Hm. I today checked again, and everything works as intended. I did not change anything. The only thing that could explain it, I made updates in between, and they could have produced some weird behaviour, maybe by updating a component that had influence on the mounting process. and I did not reboot then. Today, after a fresh start, this problem is gone. Can I mark this question as invalid?
    – nerdoc
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


Maybe it is related with this nautilus bug Nautilus says the USB stick is read only when it is not. Restarting nautilus clears the issue (at least temporally):

$ killall nautilus
  • Maybe that is the problem. Could not reproduce it reliably.
    – nerdoc
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 19:25

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