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Was messing around with an external drive and wanted to change the permissions of a folder. However, I accidentally ran sudo chown myuser -r /. I have never felt so dumb in my life. I immediately realised what I had done and canceled it, but it was too late.

I'm on Arch. How screwed am I. Is this fixable or is it a lesson to be remembered?

Kids this is why you don't mess with recursive commands when sleepy :(.

marked as duplicate by roaima, Stephen Rauch, jasonwryan, Jeff Schaller, Ulrich Schwarz Dec 10 '17 at 17:07

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  • If you still have a copy, this answer can help you. If you don't have a copy, well… it's a lesson to remember. – Zeta Dec 10 '17 at 13:56
  • It's fixable with effort, but it might be considerable more work and less reliable than reinstalling. It's also very difficult to judge side effects - I once had a single damaged file, which caused a service fail to start, which in turn caused several other dependent services to corrupt their data. Required a full backup rollback (and code changes to make service failures less catastrophic in the future). – frostschutz Dec 10 '17 at 14:00
  • Thankfully, it's a fresh install. So I'll probably just reinstall. – MinceUtopia Dec 10 '17 at 14:07
  • Having never made any mistake like this ever. No, honest, never. Ever. Really. So I never do a dummy run with ls -R to check the file list I am about to recursively stamp on, even when regexing to get the file list. – bu5hman Dec 10 '17 at 15:01
  • Short answer: A lesson to be remembered. I think the only real solution for this kind of problem is to restore from backup. So make frequent backups/snapshots. – igal Dec 10 '17 at 17:04