Hi Cattus Thraex, thanks for your prompt response (and also Kappy's too). Yes indeed it took several hours to "repair" the permissions. At the end of that long time, it appears as if nothing has been done. This is of course very difficult to verify as the list of repairs is so long.
Yes, I will try the install disk, as you suggest, to be rigorous. But reading other posts seems to indicate that the OSX location does not affect permission repair, only disk repairs (whatever the difference is).
Re system problem, while I have similar views to you, Kappy above (with massive experience) suggests that perhaps this is normal for Snow Leopard. Somewhere I thought I read that a few dozen such messages can be ignored, but I am getting thousands, perhaps tens of thousands or even more!
The image below shows the end of the hours long repair, and then a couple of attempts to "verify" straight afterwards - showing errors
With all respect to Kappy, I have never experienced such a tragic behavior of SL so that repairing permissions may last hours! And, yes, permissions are not crucial in system behavior, nevertheless—even in SL—they cannot repeat in an endless list immediately after running DU.
In fact, I once experienced a loooong repair permissions, but the system was corrupt, and all ended with an erase-and-install.
ACL errors are usually the result of an upgrade from an older version of OS X such as Tiger to Snow Leopard, for example.
Download ACLr8 1.3.0 and use it to fix the errors.
Note that if you do have real permissions errors you must use Repair Permissions to fix them. Verify does nothing to repair a permission's error. Also note that Disk Utility does not repair permissions in your Home folder.
Many thanks Kappy. I shall download and use the software. Do I use it from within the problematic boot drive, or in my "basic maintenance 10.6.4" boot drive?
By way of background, yes indeed you are right about the problem probably being caused by system changes. I had upgraded to Lion on top of an already faulty Snow Leopard system, so things became very bad. So I then rolled back to Snow Leopard, and I'm still recovering! One of my relatively unusual characteristics is that I use a 250GB FD drive to run my OSX and applications - but point my Home drive to the Hard Disk drive (to avoid filling up the FD drive). This has probably contributed significantly to my problems probably because I had forgotten about this subtlety (and uncharacteristically, Apple doesn't remind, or automate, for this).
Re repair vs verify permissions, yes I was just using verify to see if the previous repair had worked, which it hadn't! But I wasn't aware of the repair permissions limitation on the Home folder, thanks.
Kappy, many thanks for the information and advice. I will set about doing this directly.
(NB, when I said I installed Lion on an already faulty Leopard System - I didn't know it was faulty, it all felt ok to me. I have now discovered as a result of all this that it must have unstable. I originally thought the Lion upgrade was responsible for all my woes! And to be honest I'm still not completely sure that it wasn't - the only thing that really tells me Lion is unlikely to be at fault is that Apple has never launched a fundamentally flawed system - as mine was - on to the market, and most people are having no problems with it)
I have wiped Lion and have reinstalled Snow Leopard 10.6.4 and upgraded to 10.6.8. Now trying to get that stable and all data back (after a problem with permissions resolved by ebinellis at Unable to change permissions on Hard Disk Drives after rolling back OSX Lion to Snow Leopard). After a week or two happy computing I'll consider Lion again (despite disliking the new Address Book and iCalender)! Unfortunately I have no install files as I used the App Store and Lion removes the file after installing (presumably also gone from Time Machine back-up)! I am told that I have to re-download (this time I'll save the download). Otherwise I have to buy a flashdrive version of Lion.
Then better luck next time around. Here are some ideas for then:
How to Install Lion Successfully - You must have Snow Leopard 10.6.7 or 10.6.8 Installed
A. Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions:
Boot from your Snow Leopard Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. Then select Disk Utility from the Utilities. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list. In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive. If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer. Now restart normally.
If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior (4.3.) if DW cannot fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall Snow Leopard.
B. Make a Bootable Backup Using Restore Option of Disk Utility:
- Open Disk Utility from the Utilities folder.
- Select the destination volume from the left side list.
- Click on the Restore tab in the DU main window.
- Check the box labeled Erase destination.
- Select the destination volume from the left side list and drag it to the Destination entry field.
- Select the source volume from the left side list and drag it to the Source entry field.
- Double-check you got it right, then click on the Restore button.
Destination means the backup volume. Source means the internal startup volume.
C. Important: Please read before installing:
- If you have a FireWire hard drive connected, disconnect it before installing the update unless you will boot from this drive and install the update on it. Reconnect it and turn it back on after installation is complete and you've restarted.
- You may experience unexpected results if you have installed third-party system software modifications, or if you have modified the operating system through other means. (This does not apply to normal application software installation.)
- The installation process should not be interrupted. If a power outage or other interruption occurs during installation, use the standalone installer (see below) from Apple Downloads to update. While the installation is in progress do not use the computer.
D. To upgrade to Lion:
- Purchase the Lion Installer from the Mac App Store. The download will start quickly. Lion is nearly 4 GBs so a fast internet connection is essential. Download time could run upwards of 4 hours depending upon network conditions and server demands at the time.
- Boot From The Lion Installer which is located in your Applications folder.
- Follow instructions for installation.