Have you tried to edit ACL or posix with Server Admin ? I rarely use that Get Info thingy because its zillion times slower if you have lots of folders. What I recommend is that you open Server Admin (if its working properly). And I believe that Server Admin is able to browse the drive even if it seems to be locked.
Go to File sharing (when server name is selected) and select Volumes and Browse from the tabs. Now browse your way to the drive you want to set permissions to. You should instantly see the applied ACL and POSIX on the bottom of the screen. Whats going on there? It could help if you could post and tell what do you see there? Gray accounts? No accounts at all?
When you have browsed enough and investigated what is going on in that drive, you may want to recreate the ACL and Posix if there is something badly wrong in there. My guess is that you might see gray users or just _unknown users in the ACL or/and in posix. If thats the case, try to re-input the proper accounts and users in the list. You might regain access to drives if you re-create the permissions properly.
If you can't re-create the permissions as they were. Try at least adding the server admin user to the ACL, full control, all files and folders all descendants, and then remember to save and propagate permissions. Use the small gear button on the bottom and select Propagate permissions.
Hope you get this fixed. First, investigate, if you find something weird from the server admin, post it here, it might help to get better understanding of what has happened.
You say that you have a firewire drive that backs up the server? I would use that to restore your server to the last know good state. You mention that you are also running filemaker server. After a major crash with the same kind of setup I discovered that my filemaker databases were not backing up. I had time machine and FMS running a backup. Turns out that filemaker does not like Time Machine touching the files. I set up TM to ignore the Database folder that FMS uses and only back up using the FMS schedule.
The reason the drives are locked is you lost your user list. The drives are looking at the permission set up for users that are no longer on the machine.
Again I would boot from CD and do a time machine restore.
Thanks, but problem remains.
"Have you tried to edit ACL or posix with Server Admin ? ...Go to File sharing (when server name is selected) and select Volumes and Browse from the tabs. Now browse your way to the drive you want to set permissions to. You should instantly see the applied ACL and POSIX on the bottom of the screen. Whats going on there? It could help if you could post and tell what do you see there? Gray accounts? No accounts at all?"
Tried that before I posted on discussions. Probably should have said that before. Sorry. All permissions are listed as custom. Every time I try to SAVE permission changes from custom to full control or add a new user with admin permissions, permissions return to custom. I lost all accounts in workgroup manager except primary administrator. I then recreated all accounts, but that seemed to have no effect.
"If you can't re-create the permissions as they were. Try at least adding the server admin user to the ACL, full control, all files and folders all descendants, and then remember to save and propagate permissions. Use the small gear button on the bottom and select Propagate permissions."
As before, "saving" erases any changes I just tried to make.
"Hope you get this fixed. First, investigate, if you find something weird from the server admin, post it here, it might help to get better understanding of what has happened."
"Again I would boot from CD and do a time machine restore."
I'm afraid I cannot do a TM restore as you suggested because the firewire TM disk is locked and I cannot seem to unlock it.
Summary So Far
I'm getting the impression that it may be easier (and safer) to erase the mac mini HD and do a full reinstall. Especially so since I have copies of critical data, obtained in a somewhat ham handed fashion. I'll await any advice you may proffer. I understand that "techies" (please take no offense) like to dive into fix this, the fix that stuff, but it seems an erase and install from a dvd is easy. Besides, its not like we're in the bad old days of installing FoxBase from 25 floppies. Thank God for that.
Again, I look forward to your advice ... Mike
So, have you actually tried to boot off from the external drives? (Press alt down while booting, and boot straight off the external drive when they appear? Or do they show locked as well, or don't appear at all? Oh yeah, I don't know if thats possible with Time machine copies tho. Don't use it myself.
Well, I would do re-install if I were in your shoes, because if you have hard copy of the most critical data, the loss may not be so devastating. And if you somehow managed to screw over OD and other services, maybe it's better to get a fresh start, maybe even improve your setup, think it over again. I had a total system failure last december and I was so ****** because there was not much I could do to save the setup, my RAID set broke up cos of my stupid mistake. I had good backups tho. But what I did was that I really went back to the drawing board, and watched some tutorials, read few articles and really started over. In the end when I re-installed the entire thing, it did came out much better than before. The valuable experience what I got from the first install gave me lot of good info to what to improve and what not to do at all.
If you are going to reinstall, think it trough first with some time, and try to point things what you were not happy with and what was working OK. Then you can really improve things on the new install.
By the way, I recommend to use something else with TimeMachine, if you still will use that. You should have a few bootable backups of the system lying around for these kind of occasions. I use Carbon Copy Cloner at the moment to make 3 backups in 1 week, 1 backup weekly, and 1 monthly. So if something goes wrong, I have a good chance to revert settings/things even a while backwards. CCC is easy and has been reliable for me at least. Another thing I hear people are using is SuperDuper. Look into those. And if you have a chance, TEST YOUR BACKUPS before you put your trust in them. I often boot off from my backup drives to see if they are all good, then I can trust them, when I know they are working.
Thanks to all, but I chose to reformat and reinstall. Testing backups is a very good idea that I'll follow through with. While I'm using Timemachine for the hourly backups to a central 1 TB external disk, I'm now also using DejaVu for completely separate daily backups to an older 0.5 TB Timemachine drive in an AppleBaseStation.