I am using rsync to sync a directory to a USB-mounted device. That device automounts with myuser:root ownership. When I rsync my directory (that has myuser:myuser ownership) with -a, I get many of the following errors:

rsync: chgrp "filename" failed: Operation not permitted (1)

I tried adding --no-g after the -a option (since in this case I don't care about setting the group), but the errors persist. What do I need to do to stop rsync from trying to chgrp everything?

  • What filesystem is on the device? – Andrew Feb 28 '12 at 2:22
  • @Andrew: It's vfat. – jrdioko Feb 28 '12 at 2:53

FAT does not have permissions; you could try either re-mounting the device with different owner/group/umask, or expanding the archive flag and removing

  • "preserve permissions" flag -p
  • "preserve groups" flag -g
  • "preserve symlinks" flag -l
  • "preserve special & device files" flag -D

Essentially rsync -rt is good enough for a FAT target.

The lazy option would be sudo rsync -a $target $dest 2> /dev/null (run as root to try and force the group change, ignore error messages).

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