chown command is used to change the owner and group of a file or directory. If you have a directory and you are not the owner and would like to be the owner of that directory, you can use the Linux
chown command to change the owner to your username.
Some of you may get a lot of permission denied errors while trying to open files or folders, this may be caused by improper ownership or owner permissions. If it is a ownership problem,
chown will fix your problem. If it is a permission problem, then you will want to look into
The usage of
chown [OPTIONS] [OWNER]:[GROUP] [FILE]. There are many options for
chown, but I only use 2 of them on a regular basis. I use
chown -R | --recursive and also
chown --from=CURRENT_OWNER:CURRENT_GROUP. Basically
chown -R is used on directories and all files in that directory.
chown --from=CURRENT_OWNER:CURRENT_GROUP is used if you want to only change files that are currently owned by
For some examples of the Linux
chown command. Say I have a desktop computer with Linux on it, and my username on the desktop computer is
BrandonStimmel, and I buy a new laptop and install Linux on it, and this time I made my username
Brandon. I also want to get rid of my desktop because it is slow and uses a lot of electricity. So I want to copy all of my files and folders from the desktop’s
/home/BrandonStimmel to the laptop’s
/home/Brandon. I simply use
scp to copy the files and folders from the desktop computer to the laptop computer. Trouble is, I can only read files, I can’t write to them. I keep getting permission denied errors, and you don’t have permission to write to the file $FILE. So I login to the laptop as my user, then
su to root, since root has permissions to read and write to the files/folders. Then I run
chown -R --from=BrandonStimmel:users Brandon:users /home/Brandon/* Some may ask why I used
chown --from= in this example. Well I have a ton of files in my home folder from my desktop and I may have some files that were meant to be owned by root, or some other user as backups. I didn’t want to change all of them to my new username unless I owned them before.
If you use the same example but don’t care who previously owned the files/folders, you can run
chown -R Brandon:users /home/Brandon/* and you will change all files/folders in
/home/Brandon to be owned by the username Brandon and the group users.
I hope this Linux tutorial on the Linux
chown command has helped you fix your permission issues. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Beginner Linux Tutorial by leaving a comment or sending an email. Have a great day and remember to read more Linux tutorials! Knowledge is power, especially with Linux!