10 Replies Latest reply: Jan 31, 2013 12:21 PM by motc
motc Level 1 (5 points)

I have a MacBook Pro, OS 10.5.8, which I've been using since 2009, and this is the first time I've encountered the problem described below.


I'm suddenly having what seems to be a system wide permissions problem. Tonight I found I couldn't add a new folder (the option was grayed out), and I noticed a pencil icon with a line through it at the bottom of the window. When I chose Get Info for that window, my name was missing from Sharing & Permissions. There was also a new name, "wheel", which I've never seen before. (3 names in all: system, wheel, eveyone.) This affects a lot of folders stemming off the HD (Applications, Library, etc.), but my user folder folder is unaffected.


I've rebuilt the permissions several times in Disk Utility, and also repaired the disk after getting an error message when verifying. But the permissions problem is still there.


So I'm wondering what in the heck could have caused this, and how can I fix it?


I found I could add my name back to the permissions list in one of the affected folders, using Get Info, and this solved the issue for that folder, but there are a LOT of folders with the same issue. Perhaps if I did this with the HD folder, and selected the "Apply to enclosed items" option at the bottom?


FWIW, we just bought & set up a new iMac, OS 10.8.2, last week. I looked at a number of folders on it using Get Info, and it seems to be configured pretty much the same way with regard to permissions, which is a little spooky. Don't know if it makes any difference, but I used the same user name, login password, apple ID & password when I set up the new computer as I have on my Macbook. Could that have caused this somehow?


Thanks for any help or thoughts.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,252 points)

    Might try BatchMod, it's much better/easier than the Finder for recursive Permission changes, but careful, it's powerful...



  • motc Level 1 (5 points)

    What I don't understand is how this occurred, and why it affected affected so many folders.


    Also, I've looked at permissions for files and folders on my MacBook OS 10.5 many times, and never saw the "wheel" name before. But it's there on our new iMac OS 10.8.


    One other thing I did with the new iMac, was authorize it to play some iTunes that were originally purchased & stored on a previous iMac (same Apple ID & password as my MacBook). Do you think that might have something to do with the permissions change?

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,252 points)

    I wouldn't think that'd change anything, but wait, seems iTunes may indeed...



  • motc Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you, BDAqua for the link.


    I use my MacBook Pro mainly for creating music (DAW program & plug-ins). I've occasionally had to change permissions on individual plug-ins, but never to a group of folders on this scale.


    I'm wondering if there's a way to get my old permissions back, or if I should leave it as is at this point, and add my user name to the permissions on individual folders as the need arises? Don't want to screw everything up, as this is getting a little over my head.


    Any recommendations?

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,252 points)

    Not likely to get things back the way they were for some reason, a least add you to have rights.

  • motc Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks for your input. One last question:


    If I add my name to permissions for the HD folder, with the option "Apply to enclosed items" selected, will my name be added to all the folders that stem off the HD? Or would it be better / safer to do it to individual folders as needed at this point?

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,252 points)

    Everything enclosed wthhin that folder should change rights fpr you... I'd try that.

  • motc Level 1 (5 points)

    Sorry, one more question...


    Just to be clear, I should select "Apply to enclosed items" when adding my user name to the HD permissions? (I tried adding my name without selecting the option, but it only changed the HD itself; none of the sub-folders.)


    The reason I ask, in researching this I read a post somewhere that cautioned against using that option, though they didn't say why.


    Thanks for your patience.

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,252 points)

    Well, I'm not sure I'd want to do the whole drive, but the subfolders, like Users folder, then Apply to enclosed items should be fine.

  • motc Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks, actually none of the permissions were changed on my User folder; it was the system folders (HD, Library, Applications etc.), that were changed.


    Apparently, the newer Mac OS permissions are set up this way. Again, why my 10.5 permissions were altered is a mystery.


    My temporary solution is to add my user name to system folders as needed. After talking with Apple tech support, the long term solution is to back up my computer and do a clean install from the original install DVD, to get the permissions back to the way they were.