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I have a laptop with ubuntu 9.10 which fails to start, and I want to copy the data from it to an external hard disk. I can login in recovery mode command line, but then I cannot mount the external hard drive. (in recovery mode I cannot write to the laptops hard drive)

If I boot from an portable USB with mintlinux, I can mount the external harddrive, and copy most of the data from the laptop, however there is a dir which I have no rights to access under /home/user/Documents then I get a permission denied error. Are there any other options?

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chown the stuff you need? –  Jonno_FTW Dec 12 '09 at 15:14
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If you boot with mintlinux I propose in this case, you should do all the copying as root. Then there shouldn't be any permission problems.

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indeed that is what should be the case, and all files under /home/username can be copied. however, there is this perticular dir /home/username/Documents which is not accessible, nor can i take over the permissions. i can only view the 2 subfolders, but it cannot enter those directories. only from ubuntu recovery command line i can enter those dirs... any suggestion of what could be blocking access? –  miccaman Dec 12 '09 at 19:49
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Even if you are root, you may need to chown root:root the files before you can access them.

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