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My question is I am looking at the computer Icon on the desktop. I tried to get into the External drive. I received an error message stating that the folder contents could not be displayed. You do not have the permissions necessary to view the contents of "External".
I use Lubuntu, and if I have a drive that won't let me access it via File-Manager [ PcmanFm in this case], I open up the disk utility ,and Unmount the offending drive,[ ** It then may or may not then ask me for Root ** ]. Then I remount it in disk utility and voila, problem solved for that session. I know that can be a pain in the butt, so you need to think about what you did recently to over ride your auto-mount capability in either the last update, or something you installed to stop auto mounting of drives in user-space. You night also want to check your fstab file. only / should be "remount-ro" , the rest should be "defaults"......
I guess I should clarify my modus operandi here for @Fonder, When and if the Disk-Utility asks me for Root, it's only for permission to release the drive to the Sudo user. Not to give the Disk utility root . All Fonder needs to do after unmounting the drive, is click on the mount button again and then close disk-utility. The other other option which came to mind when you mentioned Sudo , I kinda wanted to avoid earlier, as opening up file-manager as root could have some consequences if Fonder went exploring and forgot he or she was root in the file manager.
You can permanently change the owner and/or group of the partition as root user. You can change the permissions as root also on a permanent basis. Not knowing what permissions you have it's difficult to suggest. What exactly do you want the user to be able to do? Answer that and someone should be able to give you specific advice. Posting the output of ls -l run on the mount point for the External drive would give some specific information