How do I copy files from a USB flash drive in Ubuntu Linux from command line? When I copy these files from USB to a local folder I get "permissions denied" using the GUI.

On the command line I can use sudo, but how do I become a super user using the GUI?

2 Answers 2


In Ubuntu, all USB drives, once mounted, are in the /media directory

cp /media/your-usb/file-in-usb ~

That copies a file on your USB disk to the user's home directory, assuming the drive is called your-usb and the file is file-in-usb.

I am not sure why you need permissions to copy from the USB to a local file. Maybe you don't have permission to access the USB or you are trying to copy them to a directory where you don't have permissions. I would do this to find the permissions of the files on the USB drive:

ls -l /media/your-usb/

Post the result of this and the directory you are trying to copy the files to.

I don't recommend running the GUI file manager under super user privileges, but this but this is how you would launch Nautilus in root mode:

gksudo nautilus

1)You can simply use cp command to copy files.Usually any media will be mounted in /media/nameofusb/. inorder to copy a file you can use


enter image description here

and to copy a directory you can use

cp -r

enter image description here

2)That is unusual.But you can try to remount the usb as rw as superuser by this command

mount -o remount,rw /dev/sdb1

here my device is sdb1.Make changes accordingly.I hope this works.

3)You should see something like this. enter image description here

but since you are using ubuntu, you can go to terminal,login as su and type


to launch a xserver session for root.In this session you will get all the root privilages on nautilus.

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