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Background.
I use a persistent Ubuntu installation on a USB stick (16GB).
The purpose is to carry the USB flash instead of a netbook/laptop;
I usually find a laptop/pc handy close by to work with so this works great for mobility.

Now the problem context.
I shifted from Jaunty to Lucid short while back (a fresh-install, not an upgrade).
installed most of the packages I need from the Lucid repository.
For this I used my home computer.
Then (as usual) I returned to my laptop with the flash drive and started working with it there.

The exact problem.
A couple of things don't work randomly (sometimes they do, sometimes don't).

  1. I cannot mount other partitions visible on my Nautilus view.
    • this includes local drives on my laptop and other USB drives
  2. I cannot shutdown Lucid.
    • when I try from the panel, it returns to the login screen in a short while.

The two things happen together.
Yet, they don't happen always -- sometimes mounts and shutdown works fine on the laptop too.
They happen only on my laptop (where I did not install this Lucid) but never on the home computer (where I installed it).

When the problem occurs,
I get a "Not Authorized" to mount error when I try to mount the drives visible in Nautilus. But, I can "sudo mount" them normally (I can also "sudo shutdown" from a console terminal). So, I conclude that something with the gnome/nautilus ability is not working right on my laptop (sometimes). I looked at the 'auth.og' and other log files to identify what differed when things failed from when they were working -- but, to no clear indications.

I am also interested in understanding how Nautilus mounts drives from my user login.
It would help me decode what is missing in my path here.

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it sounds to me like a permissions issue based on the fact that the fat32 thumbdrive (open to corrections if it's formatted otherwise). just a thought. you could try chainloading the iso so it should work like you're booting from USB except for the HUGE ramdrive – RobotHumans Jan 31 '11 at 22:02
    
How does your /etc/fstab look like? What are the permissions of the mount points? Can you do sudo halt? – Philip Jun 22 '12 at 18:42

Maybe your sudoers file is messed up? Just an idea.

Alt+F2, then run gksu nautilus. Try everything from the root file manager!

If all else fails, maybe you could try logging in as root?

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