I'm a long-time Windows user who recently made the complete switch to Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon 32-bit. Suddenly I can't login because it says my /home/ directory doesn't exist!

The last command I issued before this debacle was

sudo chown -R sadhu:sadhu /home

and that really screwed something up.

I use an Intel machine (DH67CL I3 motherboard) 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD.

I happen to have another (broken) Linux version installed in a dual-boot configuration on this machine. (It's display doesn't work, so it only boots into the command line.) Its / root system is in different partitions, but they share /home and other special directories.

I issued the command

sudo ls -la /home

and got something like this:

d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx   
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  ..  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  archives-desk  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  archives-note  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  10 09:13 LinuxSW  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  lost+found  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  17 18:01 sadhu  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx   1 15:23 .Trash-1000  
---------- xxxxxxxxxxx   5 16:55 uget.txt  
d--------- xxxxxxxxxxx  wind  

where the 'x' was a little diamond on the screen. Terrifying.

However, when I issued the command

sudo ls -la /home/sadhu

I get a normal directory listing. The command

sudo cat /home/sadhu/bin/[filename]

gives normal output for the little script file.

So I changed the owner of /home directory:

sudo chown root:root /home

and suddenly the directory listing looked OK!

drwxr-xr-x  9 root  root   4096 xxxx 12 08:05 .  
drwxr-xr-x 24 root  root   4096 xxxx  5 20:16 ..  
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  root  20480 xxxx 10 07:33 archives-note  
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  root  20480 xxxx 11 18:01 archives-note  
drwxr-xr-x  5 sadhu sadhu  4096 xxxx 10 09:13 LinuxSW  
drwx------  2 sadhu sadhu 16384 xxxx  1 17:33 lost+found  
drwxr-xr-x-48 sadhu sadhu  4096 xxxx 17 18:01 sadhu  
drwx------  4 sadhu sadhu  4096 xxxx  1 15:23 .Trash-1000  
-rw-r--r--  1 sadhu sadhu   805 xxxx  5 16:55 uget.txt  
drwxr-xr-x 23 sadhu sadhu  4096 xxxx  4 13:20 wind  

Although I still get the little diamond instead of a Month.

I manually changed the ownership of the two archive directories back to root:root. These are used to hold the contents of /var/cache/apt/archive which was replaced with a soft link.

However, Mint 15 Cinnamon still fails to boot, but instead gives the error:

Your home directory is listed as '/home/sadhu' but it does not appear to exist. Do you want to log in with the / (root) directory as your home directory? It is unliely anything will work unless you use a failsafe system.

I click "Yes" and it reports:

User's $HOME/.dmrc file is being ignored. This prevents the default session and language from being saved. File should be owned by user and have 644 permissions. User's $HOME directory must be owned by user and not writable by other users.

I click OK, and the screen goes black for 15 seconds, and finally this error pops up:

Could not update ICEauthority file /.ICEauthority.

Is it possible repair this problem without completely reloading Linux? If so, how do I go about it?

Thanking you all.


1 Answer 1


First of all, change back the ownership.
sudo chown -R sadhu:sadhu /home/sadhu

It should boot.
sudo - means you will run the command as root
chown - change owner
-R - recursively

AND THEN comes the owner.
What you did is that you changed the owner on every single /home to root.
The users cannot mess with root files, it's not allowed. That's why your computer cannot log you in.

The last argument is the place you want to chown, of course.

To be honest, you should not mess with anything system-involved unless you KNOW what you are doing. For now you should back up your data and do a clean re-install.

If you make a separate /home during install, you can re-install many times without losing anything. (Except time, that is.)

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