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so i checked the /etc/skel folder through thunar(root) and it turns out that all files and folders are set to the following permissions:owner : rootAccess : read/writegroup : rootAccess : noneothers : noneI changed these to:owner : rootAccess : read/writegroup : rootAccess : read onlyothers : read onlyand then skel worked. these permissions have to applied to every file and folder so its best to use the apply recursively option when the dialog box pops up.