I recently installed WSL on my Win 10 (Version 10.0.17134.228) and I'm trying to access my files on a disk mounted on windows from linux.

In my PC I have 2 HD:

  1. First Disk: A single partition where windows is installed (C:/ in Windows)
  2. Second Disk: It has 2 partitions
    1. A partition which contains Ubuntu (for dual boot)
    2. An NTFS partition which just contains data (D:/ in Windows)

When I work from windows or Ubuntu (the dual boot one) I access the data from the D:/ partition.

Now I wanted to access the data in the D:/ partition from WSL, but it tells me I don't have permissions

When I ls in the directory I see

mypc@DESKTOP-1CEE3H9:/$ ls -la /mnt/d/mypath/child/
total 36
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser  4096 Jun  2 19:54 .
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser  4096 Aug 18 00:52 ..
---------- 1 myuser myuser  1884 Dec 27  2017 myfile1
d--x--x--x 1 myuser myuser  4096 Jun 24 23:29 myfolder1

And in the parent path I see

mypc@DESKTOP-1CEE3H9:/$ ls -la /mnt/d/mypath/
total 180
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser   4096 May 21  2017 .
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser   4096 Aug 24 22:59 ..
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser   4096 Aug 13  2015 myfolder2
d--x--x--x 1 myuser myuser   4096 Sep 24  2015 myfolder3
-rwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser    268 Jan 19  2015 myfile2

In contrast, in the C:/ partition I see

mypc@DESKTOP-1CEE3H9:/$ ls -la /mnt/c/Users/MyUser/Desktop/
total 505276
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser       512 Aug 20 23:12  .
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser       512 Aug 18 01:07  ..
-rwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser       1604 Jun 17 15:47 myfile3
drwxrwxrwx 1 myuser myuser       512 Mar 31 13:16  myfolder4

On windows I can access all of those files. In WSL I can access myfolder2, myfolder4 and I can read myfile2, myfile3. I can not access myfile1, myfolder1, myfolder3.

My partitions are

C: on /mnt/c type drvfs (rw,noatime,uid=1000,gid=1000)
D: on /mnt/d type drvfs (rw,noatime,uid=1000,gid=1000)

I don't understand why the permissions on the files are different on the disk. Might it be because I create/edit some of them from Ubuntu (dual boot) and some from Windows?

How can I fix the problem so that I can access the files?

I did not try chmod the disk because it is big, I don't want to risk breaking any file and it sounds to me like that would fix the symptoms and not the root cause of the permission problems.



Following Biswapriyo comment I looked better into two files which I can and cannot access.

I checked the file Properties, and under the Detail tab I saw that the owner of the 2 files is different:

  • The file I can access has owner DESKTOP-1CEE3H9\MyUser
  • The file I cannot access has owner Administrators

I also checked another file I can access, and this one has as owner a long sequence of numbers and letters.

I tried changing the owner of one file from Administrators to DESKTOP-1CEE3H9\MyUser and it looks like I now see the right permissions in WSL.

Could this be related?

  • 1
    +1 for this well formatted and detailed question. If any Windows program create/edit file/folder the permission will set to 000. Just simply change it with chmod. Or you can do that with NtSetEaFile() with CreateFile(). – Biswapriyo Aug 25 '18 at 12:47
  • Thanks! Is this true even if these files where created before I ever enabled WSL? Why can I access and edit these files from the Ubuntu (dual boot)? Is this some specifics of drvfs? – Makers_F Aug 25 '18 at 14:15
  • Because in WSL file permission is accessed as NTFS Extended Attributes (EA). The driver behind WSL mimics EA as Linux file permission. But normally distributions (dual boot) fetch file permission as usual. – Biswapriyo Aug 25 '18 at 16:39
  • But on windows I can edit the file, so I would expect that to be reflected inside WSL by allowing me to read/write the file. (I'm not familiar with how permissions are stored on the FS in both linux and Win, that might be why I'm not understanding): I ended up solving the problem by assigning ownership to my user in Windows, and now I can access the files in WSL as well. Thanks for the help! – Makers_F Aug 25 '18 at 16:43

I noticed the owner of the file on Windows was "Administrators".

I changed that to be my user following this link and WSL started giving the appropriate permissions.

To summarize the steps here:

Left click -> "Properties" Option -> "Security" Tab -> "Advanced" Button -> "Change" button next to "Owner" -> In the input field write your user name and press "Check Names" button

Then press Ok until you close all the windows

I'm still not sure why I could access them in Windows but not on WSL.

  • Updated the answer – Makers_F Aug 28 '18 at 14:25

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