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Reset Home Folder permissions and ACLs Error

10842 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2014 9:51 PM by Darrell1405 RSS
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Wanttogobacktopc Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 31, 2013 10:06 AM

I have repeatedly run "Reset Home Folder permissions and ACLs" and let it run for up to a day and it never completes the task.


I ran it from startup (Command + Option + R) - Utilities - Terminal - typed "resetpassword" - chose my user account - selected "Reset Home Folder permissions and ACLs."


I was confused by some other threads as to whether or not there was a safe way to resolve this.


I'm running OS X Mouintain Lion 10.8.4.


Before trying this I repeatedly ran all of the repair permissions options and other utilities in disk utilities.

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2013 10:50 AM (in response to Wanttogobacktopc)

    What is the underlying problem that caused you to think you needed to repair permissions on the home folder?

    That task usually doesn't take very long to complete.


    I'm not sure what would happen, but if it has been going that long, I don't think it is actually doing anything.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (108,120 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2013 12:25 PM (in response to Wanttogobacktopc)

    Problems such as yours are sometimes caused by files that should belong to you but are locked or have wrong permissions. This procedure will check for such files. It makes no changes and therefore will not, in itself, solve your problem.

    First, empty the Trash.

    Triple-click the line below on this page to select it, then copy the selected text to the Clipboard (command-C):

    find ~ $TMPDIR.. \( -flags +sappnd,schg,uappnd,uchg -o ! -user $UID -o ! -perm -600 -o -acl \) 2> /dev/null | wc -l

    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 icon grid.

    Paste into the Terminal window (command-V). The command may take a noticeable amount of time to run. Wait for a new line ending in a dollar sign (“$”) to appear.

    The output of this command, on a line directly below what you entered, will be a number such as "41." Please post it in a reply.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (108,120 points)

    Back up all data. Don't continue unless you're sure you can restore from a backup, even if you're unable to log in.

    This procedure will unlock all your user files (not system files) and reset their ownership and access-control lists to the default. If you've set special values for those attributes on any of your files, they will be reverted. In that case, either stop here, or be prepared to recreate the settings if necessary. Do so only after verifying that those settings didn't cause the problem. If none of this is meaningful to you, you don't need to worry about it.


    Step 1

    If you have more than one user account, and the one in question is not an administrator account, then temporarily promote it to administrator status in the Users & Groups preference pane. To do that, unlock the preference pane using the credentials of an administrator, check the box marked Allow user to administer this computer, then reboot. You can demote the problem account back to standard status when this step has been completed.

    Enter the following command in the Terminal window in the same way as before (triple-click, copy, and paste):

    { sudo chflags -R nouchg,nouappnd ~ $TMPDIR.. ; sudo chown -R $UID:staff ~ $_ ; sudo chmod -R u+rwX ~ $_ ; chmod -R -N ~ $_ ; } 2> /dev/null

    This time you'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning to be careful. If you don’t have a login password, you’ll need to set one before you can run the command. If you see a message that your username "is not in the sudoers file," then you're not logged in as an administrator.


    The command will take a noticeable amount of time to run. Wait for a new line ending in a dollar sign (“$”) to appear, then quit Terminal.

    Step 2 (optional)


    Take this step only if you have trouble with Step 1 or if it doesn't solve the problem.

    Boot into Recovery. When the OS X Utilities screen appears, select

    Utilities Terminal

    from the menu bar. A Terminal window will open.

    In the Terminal window, type this:



    Press the tab key. The partial command you typed will automatically be completed to this:



    Press return. A Reset Password window will open. You’re not  going to reset a password.

    Select your boot volume ("Macintosh HD," unless you gave it a different name) 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.



    from the menu bar.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (108,120 points)

    Thanks for the kind words.

  • mabela Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    A MBP was recently returned to us from a past employee. The password he's given us have not been working. I just tried your notes on reseting the PW. Now, when I login, the user folders are all empty. So, if somehow I am able to figure out what the old password was and If we updated the keychain using these steps:


    1. Open Keychain Access located in Applications > Utilities.
    2. From the Edit menu, choose: Change Password for Keychain "login"…
    3. Type the previous password, then click OK.
    4. If the correct password is entered, a new window appears. Enter the original password again in the Current Password field.
    5. In the New Password field, type the password that matches the current account password.
    6. Re-enter the newer password in the Verify field, then click OK.


    Would that return access to all the user files?

  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 4, 2013 11:41 AM (in response to mabela)

    Would that return access to all the user files?

    The keychain has nothing to do with access to user files. It is a secure password database.


    Did the previous employee erase all of the data prior to returning it?

  • mabela Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 4, 2013 11:47 AM (in response to Barney-15E)

    Thankl you for your response.


    Regarding your question, I don't know. I don't think he would have erased anything. Do I have any other options?

  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 4, 2013 12:01 PM (in response to Barney-15E)

    Log in as another user and look to see if there is anything in his old Home folder. It is in /Users.

    If there is nothing in the home subfolders, then it was all erased.  If it is important enough to spend a few hundred dollars, you might be able to get a recovery service to recover it.


    If you don't have another user, you can boot the Mac into Firewire Target Disk Mode and connect it to another Mac. The Target Disk Mode mac will show up as a hard drive on the other Mac. You can then poke around to find the data, if it exists. To boot into Target Disk Mode, hold down the T key on restart. You will see a firewire symbol on the screen.  It is now acting like a hard disk.

    If the Mac doesn't have a Firewire port, you may need a Thunderbolt to Firewire conversion cable. Cable configuration will depend on what kind of port the TDM Mac has, and what the othe Mac has. You can get Firewire cables to go 800 to 800, 800 to 400, and Thunderbolt to 800.

  • hififilms Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2013 8:22 AM (in response to Linc Davis)

    You are a genius.  My iMac's hard drive died, but I was able to get the data recovered and transferred the old users to my new iMac, yet had loads of permissions issues with all of my Logic projects.  Hours on the phone with Applecare yielded nothing but headaches, but this post solved my all of my permissions issues in a heartbeat.  I cannot thank you enough.

  • Dessicator Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    Linc, I would like to try this but there is one thing I need to understand first.  We have three user accounts, and need to fix all of them I think.  With the commands that you provided, do you need to be logged in as the user whose account you want to operate on, or what?  What is $TMPDIR?  Thank you!

  • Dessicator Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 8:19 AM (in response to Dessicator)

    OK, I've made a little progress understanding this.  The way the script is written, you have to do it in the account you want to fix.  This is a fabulous script, but I took the liberty of making a few tweaks.  One is to explicitly set group and others' permissions as they are by default.  The other is to allow no access except for the user to the folders in the top level of the home folder.  Also to customize the Public and Drop Box folder permissions.  These changes I think bring it closer to the default permissions in a new account.  I would appreciate any pointers on improving it:


    { sudo chflags -R nouchg,nouappnd ~ $TMPDIR.. ; \

    sudo chown -R $UID:staff ~ $_ ; \

    sudo chmod -R -N ~ $_ ; \

    sudo chmod -R 755 ~ $_ ; \

    sudo chmod 700 Desktop Documents Downloads Dropbox Library Movies Music Pictures Sites $_ ; \

    sudo chmod 777 Public ; \

    sudo chmod 733 Public/Drop\ Box ; \

    } 2> /dev/null

    MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2010), OS X Mavericks (10.9)
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