Formatting an External Drive is Locking Me Out of Permission to Use It

Using Manjaro with the KDE GUI, I’m trying to prepare an external SSD for simple copy-paste file backup, but every time I reformat the drive (and I’ve tried several file system formats, mainly Ext4) it gives it “root only” permissions, preventing me from creating folders or copying anything into it. I’m using the KDE Partition Manager, there’s no clear option for setting permissions as part of the formatting process, and I can’t understand why the default is to make the drive effectively inaccessable or, more importantly, how to change it. Note, I don’t use the command line much, so I’m hoping for a GUI-based solution.

It’s because you are thinking along the Microsoft paradigm instead of adopting the UNIX paradigm. GNU/Linux is not Microsoft Windows, and as long as you adhere to Microsoft Logic™, you will never be able to use GNU/Linux successfully. :wink:


That reply is arrogant without being useful, and fails to improve the conversation or show kindness to a new community member, per this forums very rules. For a moderator, that’s disappointing behavior.

I can assure you that there was no arrogance in my reply, and that I was only trying to give you good advice — advice that we must give to almost all newbies from the Windows world. It might have been confrontational, but that was only so as to emphasize the difference in paradigm between Windows and UNIX.

The two tutorials I’ve posted explain everything into detail. Perhaps you are best off looking at the second tutorial first, and to look at the first tutorial later, so as to understand how permissions work in UNIX.

Feel free to flag my post, then. I promise you that I will not deny the flag and that I’ll leave it to my colleagues to decide.

ext4 you typically would not use with removable devices, is combined with rights and ownership, and you also would have to create a mount point, if you created an ext4 partition make sure you own it ( chown … ) and you have rights to write to ( chmod … )
or better you do not use ext4 but some other file system which is better suited for removable storage I think f2fs, ntfs ,

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I beg to differ, kind Sir. NTFS is a horrible choice for a filesystem, removable or not.

The OP has pointed out that they seek to use the external drive for backups, in which case a Linux-native filesystem should be used, because NTFS does not store POSIX file ownership and permissions, which are crucial if that backup is to be used for repairing a broken system.

f2fs would do, provided that the external drive is based upon flash storage. It’s not intended to be used on a spinning drive.

I’ve been using Linux of various distros as my sole desktop system since 2002, so I can do without your attitude. No, I’m not as savvy with the command line as others, but I’ve been hitherto effective working through the GUI for my casual needs, and I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve been talked down to like this in an official help forum. But I’ll take another look at the second article.

Again, my post wasn’t meant as “talking down to you”, but if you insist on interpreting it that way, then there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

Furthermore, it is my personal opinion that between yourself and me, you would be the one coming off with an attitude.

Therefore, I shall take my leave from this thread. I’ve posted the solution to your problem. What you do with it is your decision, not mine.

I bid you a good day. :vulcan_salute:


I have an internal backup HD as ext4, it has a mount point and ownership and rights,
that works well for this purpose but it is fixed and part of my fstab.

Removable devices can also be set up with a record in /etc/fstab, as long as you add noauto,nofail to the mount options. Otherwise the system will hang at boot time if the device is not plugged in.

My second tutorial above explains it all.

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that is a good point and obviously the solution to @Damn_Lazy_Casual problem,
so format it ext4, give the right ownership with chown, the write rights with chmod
and mount it in fstab with your mentioned flag ( nofail ) sounds good to me.

Quoting from my own tutorial… :arrow_down:

Lastly, there is the choice of where to create the mountpoint. In a UNIX system, the root directory is read-only to unprivileged users ─ only the root account can write to /.

Therefore, if the device contains files that are only pertinent to one particular user, then it is best to ─ as the user ─create a mountpoint inside the user’s home directory. That way, the mountpoint will be owned by and writable to the user by default ─ you would simply create a directory (“folder”) inside your ${HOME} and use that as the mountpoint.

And as a practical example… :arrow_down:

UUID=some-long-string   /home/ycom1/Data        ext4         defaults,noauto,nofail,noatime   0      0

Additional note: If you are going to make backups with timeshift, then the mountpoint won’t even matter, because timeshift will automatically mount the filesystem under /run somewhere and will unmount it again after you close the window.


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