Home > Linux > Could not update .ICEauthority file

Could not update .ICEauthority file

I recently came across this error on my CF-28.  I am currently running Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala.  [Which, BTW, is currently at Beta stage.]  This error is known on many distros and across a large time-frame, so this is by far not a new problem.  For a brief amount of time it did leave my computer useless, because I could not mount any external drive (which I have nearly all my personal and other files on).  And at times the X server would not start, which I had to manually start via the terminal.  What caused it I am still not sure, but it basically changed my permissions to an underprivileged user.  I first tried this from here:

Press Ctrl+Alt+F3, and login as your user

$ sudo chown user:user home/user/.ICEauthority
$ sudo chmod 664 /home/user/.ICEautority
$ exit

Which turned out to not entirely fix the problem.  Then as you read down, where someone had a similar problem but with the .dmrc file.  I tried something similar to his script but changing .dmrc to .ICEauthority (which I got the idea from here):

$ sudo chown user:user /home/user/.ICEauthority
$ sudo chmod 644 /home/user/.ICEauthority
$ sudo chown -R /home/user
$ exit

Press Ctrl+Alt+F7

And, BINGO, it worked!  Now my permissions are back the way they are supposed to be and I can login as usual.  Feel free to ask questions!


  1. 17 December 2009 at 12:41

    Hey, thanks. That did the trick!

  2. 26 January 2010 at 10:31

    You sir are a genius! I don’t know what caused my problem but I’d been getting that error for a week and it prevented me from logging into my account about 50% of the time. I finally decided to take the time to find a solution and everything pointed me to the first two lines all to no avail. I finally found your instructions with the final “chown -R” and that finally fixed the problem. Thank you!

  3. 29 March 2010 at 11:44

    I was recently warned by S.M.A.R.T. that my hard drive was failing (too many bad sectors and gorwing!), so I removed the 120GB hard drive with a new internal 250GB drive. I had Ubuntu 9.10 before on the drive. I did a dd on all of the contents on the drive to a back drive. I partitioned the new drive, put back my /home directory and got the same error message. But then nothing happens. I get a background with no icons – nothing. All I can do is hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and I get a shutdown window. No command line – nothing. Only way I can use the computer is with a Live CD or USB stick, I tried doing exactly as you said, but changed my name for user. It came back with an error message, chown: invalid user: ‘user:user’. Obviously it does not know who I am in a live CD. How can I fix my problem if I cannot get to a screen without booting to a Live CD?

    • 29 March 2010 at 12:51

      To get to a terminal, have you tried to press ALT+F1, F2, F3, etc…

  4. Nick
    7 April 2010 at 08:49


    sudo chown -R /home/user

    That made the difference!

  5. biggestchops
    16 July 2010 at 20:15

    shouldn’t it be “chown -R user /home/user” ?

  6. Benbanana
    4 October 2010 at 04:35

    Yes i think it is chown -R user /home/user

    And it works for Ubuntu 10.10. Thanks !

  7. patrick
    1 May 2011 at 13:46

    i ugraded yesterday to 11.04 natty. everything was fine. today i tried to remove unity, rebooted, and no problem. then i did apt-get update and apt-get dist-upgrade, rebooted, and got stuck in a level 2 blue screen like recovery mode. i tried your fix (that’s what i was thinking), but it’s not working. at least i can make backups! probably screwed, but willing to play with it, if u hav an idea or 2.

  8. steven
    20 September 2011 at 07:26

    when i turn on my pc & login it will not let me i have try’d what u say to do but nothing can u help

  9. Mile Zajkovski
    21 August 2012 at 07:11

    For me, nothing of this, and other advises worked.
    Finally, I tried installing lubuntu.
    After that, lubuntu worked, and ubuntu worked!

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