.dmrc and .ICEauthority permissions problems

Q I need to implement a backup solution and have installed TimeVault. I also implemented Thunderbird as my email program. All seemed OK yesterday, but on startup this morning I got error messages:

"User's $Home/.dmrc file is being ignored. This prevents the default session and language from being saved.
File should be owned by user and have 644 permissions.
User's $Home directory must be owned by user and not writable by others."

following this:

"Could not update ICE authority file /Home /Dave/.ICEauthority."

Can you please advise as to how I correct this situation, bearing in mind I am a newbie but reasonably proficient with Windows.

A It looks like the file permissions or ownerships of your home directory and at least some of the files in it have been changed. You can fix this from the GUI, although the details vary according to which distro and desktop you are using. Open the file browser in your home directory (/home/Dave), and go up one level to /home. Right-click on the Dave directory and select Properties (this works in KDE and Gnome). Check that the owner is you and that it has read and write permissions. It is possible to change these through the properties window, but only with root access, which some distros make difficult to access, so the quickest and easiest way is to open a terminal and, depending on your distro, either run the su command to gain root access or, particularly if you use an Ubuntu variant, prefix the first command with sudo

chown -R Dave: ~Dave
chmod -R u+rw,go-w ~Dave

The first command recursively (-R) changes the ownership of all files in your home directory (~Dave) to Dave. The trailing colon after the username means that the group ownership of each file is also changed to the user's default group. The second command recursively changes the permissions on all files and directories in your home directory by setting read and write permissions for the user (u+rw) and unsetting write permissions for the group and others (go-w).

Any other permissions, such as execute permissions for any scripts that may have been placed in your home directory, are unaffected by these commands. It will not increase the permissions for the group and other users on any files, which is important, as some programs will not run if their files can be read by anyone in addition to the owner. These steps should prevent the error messages you are seeing.

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