How to resolve “CHOWN operation is not allowed” error in Linux

In Linux, chown is used to modify owner permissions of files and directories. However, when using the “choun” command, users face the “choun operation is not allowed” error. This occurs due to various problems such as insufficient permissions, file system restrictions, the desired file being immutable, or being locked by other processes.

Many Linux users face the “choun operation is not allowed” issue which sometimes causes major problems. So, if you also need some methods to fix the error, then this short tutorial is for you. Here, we will describe simple ways to resolve “Choose operation not permitted” error in Linux.

How to resolve “CHOWN operation is not allowed” error in Linux

The “CHOWN operation is not allowed” error can occur for a variety of reasons, and your initial task is to identify that cause. Therefore, we will divide this section into several parts to explain the various causes and their solutions.

1. Insufficient permission
The “Choun operation is not allowed” error mainly occurs because the user using this command is neither the root user nor the file owner. These are the only people who are allowed to change the owners of a file:

This command modifies the ownership of the specified file for the specified user. For example, let’s grant Andrew access to the “Pictures” directory:

sudo Chown Andrew~,pictures

2. close file
You may also encounter this error if the file for which you are using the “choun” command is being used by some process. This includes if you have it open in the background. Therefore, you will have to close it or wait for the processes to finish so that the file can become available. This resolves the “CHOWN operation is not allowed” error.

3. Immutable File
Sometimes, the error occurs when a directory or file is set to immutable. As a newbie, you may be unfamiliar with immutable files. Users set files to immutable so that no one else can modify, rename, or delete them. Since “immutable” is a file attribute, you can check whether a file is immutable or not by using the following command:

Upon entering this command, you will get a list of files with their attributes in the following format:

Now, to resolve the error, use the following command and then remove the immutable attributes:

After that, you can proceed with your tasks as this error will no longer be a hindrance.


Changing ownership of files is a fairly common task in Linux, but some errors prevent users from doing so. In this guide, we briefly explained how to resolve the “choun operation is not allowed” error. Mostly, the error is resolved when users use the sudo utility. Furthermore, we advise you to grant access carefully. Otherwise, you may lose data due to unauthorized access.

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By Ranjan