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Fixing “Operation not permitted” Error in Linux

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Are you unable to change the ownership of your mountable Linux hard drive volumes to make them accessible on LAN? Does the process fail with both root user account and local account? Actually, this behavior occurs if you do not have appropriate permissions to change the ownership of the disk or some significant system files are damaged. Since the system files are damaged, they can not even be accessed by the regular users. This causes grave data loss situation and calls for Linux recovery, if the backup is not updated.

As a practical example of this problem, you may encounter the below error message every time you try to change the ownership of mounted hard drive on Debian Linux operating system based computer:

“debian:/# chown -v ryan:ryan /mnt/hdc1
failed to change ownership of `/mnt/hdc1' to ryan:ryan
chown: changing ownership of `/mnt/hdc1': Operation not permitted
debian:/# chmod -v 777 /mnt/hdc1
mode of `/mnt/hdc1' changed to 0777 (rwxrwxrwx)
debian:/# ls -l /mnt/
total 16
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 16384 1969-12-31 17:00 hdc1

The “Operation not permitted” error may also occur if you try to mount a Linux hard drive volume, access data from a volume, move data from a location to another, or change the active partition.

Root of the problem:

This behavior may occur due to any of the below reasons and put you in need of Linux hard drive recovery alternatives:

One or more attribute bits of the directory or file are set incorrectly. It prevents you from changing disk permissions using the chmod command.

The root directory, which is repository of all sub-directories and stored data, is damaged. Thus operating system is unable to read structure of the disk.

System data structures, like file system, superblock, and iNode are either missing or corrupt. These reasons are responsible for making your Linux hard drive unusable.


To fix this problem, you need to repair or replace the corrupted data structures with new ones. It is possible by formatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. But, this process eventually removes all your data from hard drive and causes further data loss.

In such cases, Linux hard drive recovery software come to your rescue. They are advanced commercial utilities, which thoroughly scan your hard drive using high-end scanning methods and retrieve all lost data. The Linux recovery tools are easy and safe to use.

Stellar Phoenix Linux Data Recovery software successfully recovers lost, missing, inaccessible, and deleted data from Linux hard drive. The software salvages data from Ext4, Ext3, Ext2, FAT32, FAT16, and FAT12 file system volumes of all major Linux distributions like SUSE, Debian, Red Hat, and Mandriva.

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