Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2013 3:56 PM by psuarmy
psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I recently created two users on my MBP.  One for me and one for my wife.  Since doing so neither account can change preferences.  Website login and passwords will not save.  I save the password, but it asks me again every time.  I also cannot delete keychains.  If I do delete keychains they reappear as soon as keychain access is restarted.  I cannot change permissions on file access as well.  Everytime iPhoto is opened on my wife's login it states there are inconsistancies found in the library.  I figure there is a currrupt file somewhere, but I don't know where to look.  It seems that the computer settings and preferences are frozen in whatever state the computer was in when the second login was created. Any help would be appreciated.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    Repairing the permissions of a home folder in Lion is a complicated procedure. I don’t know of a simpler one that always works.


    Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways:


    Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)


    In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.


    Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Terminal in the page that opens.


    Drag or copy — do not type — the following line into the Terminal window, then press return:


    chmod -R -N ~


    The command will take a noticeable amount of time to run. When a new line ending in a dollar sign ($) appears below what you entered, it’s done. You may see a few error messages about an “invalid argument” while the command is running. You can ignore those. If you get an error message with the words “Permission denied,” enter this:


    sudo !!


    You'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning not to screw up.


    Next, boot from your recovery partition by holding down the key combination command-R at startup. Release the keys when you see a gray screen with a spinning dial.


    When the recovery desktop appears, select Utilities ▹ Terminal from the menu bar.


    In the Terminal window, enter “resetpassword” (without the quotes) and press return. A Reset Password window opens. You’re not going to reset the password.


    Select your boot volume if not already selected.


    Select your username from the menu labeled Select the user account if not already selected.


    Under Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs, click the Reset button.


    Select ▹ Restart from the menu bar.

  • psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I followed your instructions.  Everything worked for about 3 or 4 days.  Then the computer would not start.  Stuck on boot screen with apple logo and spinning wheel.  I had to boot into recovery and reset permissions to get MBP to start.  After doing so we are now back to same issues with permissions.  My wife's login cannot delete or add bookmarks in Safari, she could not update software, etc.  Is there another solution or am I missing something.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    From the Finder menu bar, select Go ▹ Go to Folder... and copy the following line into the text box that opens:




    A Finder window will open with an item selected. Press the key combination command-I to open the Info window. In the Sharing & Permissions section of that window, do you have read & write access? Is the item locked? What is its modification date?

  • psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I was created and last edited on same day.  May 4th.  It is not locked. 


    My wife's profile and "everyone" has full read and write.

    "Wheel" only has read permission.


    If I try to add my profile to the list of users it will not work.

      I click on the little lock, enter password, the click on the plus.  My user shows up in the box that opens.  When I try to add my user to the list of permissions though nothing happens.




    What I would like to do is reinstall the software and start fresh.  I know that once things are so messed up there is probably no way to fix them.  I have a time machine backup.  I am not sure how to restore only the information I need from the backup.  I don't want to restore bad files or files with bad permissions or anything like that.  I also don't want to loose things like iphone backups or saved setting or preferenes I want.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    Those are not the default permissions. Did you change them after resetting permissions as above?

  • psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have  been dealing with permissions for a while now.  I have changed them all over the place along with doing a master reset of them several times, by the method seggested earlier and by what I had to do to get the MBP to run again.  I know none of this is good.  I just don't know how to fix it now.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    I'm not sure I understand your response, but if resetting permissions fixes your computer, and changing them breaks it, then I suggest you stop changing them.

  • psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)


      When I reset my permissions the computer works, but I cannot make changes to things.  Such as adding or deleting bookmarks.  Or updating some programs.  Or accessing doccments or files created by others.  it seems that most things are locked because sufficent permissions do not exist.  When I change the permissions I have access to what I need and changes can be made, but then the system becomes unstable.  Trying to save a password/username in Safari, or delete on should not warrent me accessing permissions to acomoplish.  If I complete an action as with the iphoto incident, or the keychain deletion it should not reset.

      My problem is I know just enough to get into trouble, but not enough apparently to get out.  I do feel that my best solution is to format and reinstall from scratch.  If I do this how can I get only what I need back from time machine, without bringing back unwanted saves preferences, etc.?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    I am still having trouble understanding your responses. You wrote earlier that everything worked after you reset the home folder permissions; now you seem to be saying something different. Since it's not clear to me what the issue is, I don't think I can be of any further help. I'm not sure you fully understand how permissions are supposed to work. It's normal that you can't access files in another user's home folder. If you're trying to share files between two different users, you're going to have problems. It's also normal that you can't make changes to most files outside your home folder without authenticating as an administrator.


    I suggest you repair the permissions of system files in Disk Utility, if you've changed them, and also reset your home folder permissions again, if you've changed those. If those steps don't resolve your problems, start a new thread with a less confusing title to address them.

  • psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I apologize for the confusion.   I am under the impression that permissions dictate which user can access a file, or setting or configuration.  Both my wife and I are setup as administrators.


    When I say the computer works I mean it boots.  Why is it a problem that I want to work on files between two different users.  If I create a numbers doccument and my wife wants to edit it she should be able to from her login.  If we both want to share music or pictures we should from our respective accounts.  Not being able to delete a bookmark, or not being able to have safari "remember me" at a website login has nothing to with accessing another accounts files. 


    If I try to do any of these things the computer becomes unstable.  What I am doing is right clicking on a file and giving everyone permission to read and write.  It is only my wife and I and I am not worried about unautorized access.  I change enough permissions by going to the MBP HDD in finder/go/computer and right clicking on the whole hard drive and giving full read write permision to everyone.  This way I could do anything I wanted to my wife's logins files.  I did the same under her login so her access would be the same to my files.


    Before I did this we had the bookmark issues and other things I talked about earlier.  After doing what I did all the problems went away.  Then the computer became unstable, and upon reboot would not start.


    When I reset all permissions the MBP booted, but I could not make changes to things again, as it was before I tried to change permissions.  With all permissions reset my wife should be about to delete bookmarks.  When I check permissions like you suggested it says she should be able to.  On other things I try changing permissions to allow me access does not work.  The only way that works is them master read write access. which goes back to the not booting thing, haha.


    I like Apple over Microsoft except for the fact they everything is set up for not having multilple people use the same product.  Try to get two iphones to sync photos to one ipad with icloud.  If you can let me know that as well.  Kind of reminds me of old sega and nintendo.  Sega was great for single player games, but nintendo was good if you had friends.


    I understand that it is my lack of knowledge and proper termenology.


    If I would completly restore the computer and just start fresh can I do a few things:


    1 restore what I need from time machine as I need it and put it to where I want it?  If the file was in my wife's doccuments folder in time machine can I restore it to mine, or a shared folder?


    2  Will permissions transfer with a restore from time machine or will the files adopt the existing permissions?


    3 Is restoring programs as easy as restoring a doccument?  Will the settings transfer over or will they reset as well


    4  Is doing what I am asking setting myself up for failure, or is plausable just time consuming?


    Thank you for all your help.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    If you and your wife want to share the same files, you should share the same account. There's no other practical solution. You have been wrecking the permissions of every file on the system. If you do things like that, your computer won't work.

  • psuarmy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    That is Apple's solution.  Do everything the same.  When we want to use imessenge we will have to continually log each other out.  Same with having different backgrounds, or arrangements with icons and the dock.  We also have to have the same bookmarks, or at least sift through each others to get to what we want.  As far as staying logged into accounts like facebook that is out as well with shared account.  There are many advantages to having different accounts.  Seems that it is frowned upon at Apple though.  Thank you for your help.  I will go another direction then being the same as my wife.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,635 points)

    Some of what you want could be achieved by using iCloud and sharing the same ID with separate local accounts. You might want to post a question in the iCloud discussion area.

  • TheCraw Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I happened to be looking at this, I assume you have already solved this but one simple way to share the files is to set up dropbox on both your accounts. Any files you normally share will go up and down each time you log into your account. Or if it is a desktop just keep files on an attached drive. No issues with permissions on those files.


    Hope you found a good solution.



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