[ubuntu] Changing permissions

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I used gksudo nautilus to consolidate a boatload of files from various old hard drives. I want to take ownership of all these files. using gksudo and nautilus, then highlighting a folder, then selecting "permissions" and changing the user and group then selecting "apply permissions to enclosed files" does not change the permissions for the folders inside that folder. using # sudo chown -R myself:myself /whateverfolder alsoseems to change the top layer only. Looking around it seems that chown -R should do it. What am I doing wrong???? (Hardware)