Monthly Archives: November 2011

how to fix permissions (Permissions Pt 2)

(This post continues from here on file permission problems.)

Did you know there are two levels of permissions on your mac? User level and system level. Most discussions of fixing permissions only discuss the latter, but you may also need to fix the former (also sometimes called ‘ACLs’) for some problems caused by upgrading Lion on top of Snow Leopard.

4. System Level Permissions
You can safely repair your system level permissions at any time, and doing it once in a while is a good maintenance activity even if you’re not experiencing any problems. It’s also the first thing to do as soon as you notice any problems with apps launching, file access problems, or your computer seems to be running unusually slow.

How to do it:
— 1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk and double click the app to open it.

— 2. Click your HDD icon in the left column (if you have more than one, click the one that contains your startup disk).

— 3. If it is not already selected, click on the ‘First Aid’ tab. Choose the ‘Repair Disk Permissions’ button near the bottom of the window (see the larger of the two windows in the screenshot above).

— 4. Wait for the process to finish (it could take ten minutes or more), then quit Disk Utility. You can ignore most of the error messages that appear unless they’re in red.

5. User Level Permissions (ACLs)
These permissions apply only to your ‘Home’ folder and its contents, and if you have more than one user you will need to do this procedure for any user experiencing a problem. However, unlike system level permissions, repairing ACLs isn’t something you should do unless there is a specific issue to be solved. Problems that this repair might help with include permission conflicts inherited from an earlier Snow Leopard or Leopard installation, such as Finder always asking for your password when you try to delete, move or copy a file.

To reset the ACLs in Lion: (To reset the ACLs in Leopard/Snow Leopard have a look here.)

— 1. Remove the current ACLs by opening (Applications > Utilities > and copy and pasting this command:

sudo chmod -RN ~

Press return. You’ll be asked for your password. Notice that when you type it in you won’t see anything on the screen. Press return again. If you get an error message, you probably didn’t type in your password correctly. Repeat this step till its accepted. It will take some time to complete. Then paste this command into Terminal also:

sudo chown -R `id -un` ~

and press return. Enter your password again if necessary.

— 2. Press the Power button on the computer and choose ‘Restart’. When the screen goes blank, hold down the ‘command’ and ‘R’ keys on the keyboard until you hear the start up chime. In the menu bar at the top, choose Utilities > Terminal

— 3. At the Terminal prompt type


Then hit ‘Return’

— 4. Forget about resetting your password; what you’re looking for is your hard disk icon at the top. Hit that, and then from the drop-down menu select your user account.

— 5. Go to the bottom of the dialogue window – leaving all password fields blank – and choose ‘Reset’ under ‘Reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLs’ (see the smaller of the two windows in the screenshot above, inside the red dotted line).

— 6. When the process finishes, quit everything and restart your Mac. 🙂

Related Posts
How to Troubleshoot Your Mac with FT2
can’t create kext cache error
FastTasks – download the free OS X utility app from Applehelpwriter


why does Trash ask for a password? (Permissions Pt 1)

There are several reasons why Trash may ask for your password. Let’s deal with the obvious ones first:

1. FileVault is turned on
Solution: either turn FileVault off, or put up with the behaviour.

2. If you are using an account with ‘Parental Controls’ enabled, the person who set up your account may have denied you permission to delete, modify or move some or all files.
Solution: Speak to mom!

If 1 and 2, aren’t your problem, then you may have some permissions errors.

3. Check Permissions on .Trash
— 1. Open a Terminal window (Applications >Utilities > and check the permissions by typing/pasting in the following:

ls -al

You should end up with a long list, among which will be the permissions for your .Trash folder. Mine looks like this:

drwx—— 2 SnowLpd staff 68 29 Nov 15:33 .Trash

— 2. What’s important here that the name after the series of ‘drwx’ letters is the same as your user name (my user name, as you can see, is ‘SnowLpd’). If it is, then ignore the rest of this post and go to the post Permissions Pt2.

If the name is not the same, then you need to type this command into Terminal:

sudo chown -R your_username .Trash

Where you replace your_username with (surprise…) your user name, which is also the name of your home folder (note there’s a space both before and after your_username). Thus, for example, if in the previous step it said ‘root’ instead of my username, then I’d type in ‘sudo chown -R SnowLpd .Trash’.

—3. Now press ‘Return’. You will be prompted for your admin password. Type it in, but notice that you won’t see anything as you type, so type carefully. Hit ‘Return’ again. You should be returned to the Terminal prompt pretty quickly. Quit and see if your problems are solved.

4. If your .Trash permissions were OK, then you may need to fix either system permissions or ACL permissions. To do that, go to the next post.

Related Posts
how to fix permissions (Permissions Pt 2)
‘delete’ doesn’t send files to Trash

avoiding autosave applications

If autosave is slowing you down, there may be nothing else for it than to switch from your favourite Apple app to an alternative that doesn’t use the feature. Here’s a rundown of some of the main autosave-enabled apps and some possible non-autosave replacements.

Preview –> Skim (for pdfs)
Skim is a great little free program that is based on Preview but adds some extra functionality, especially useful if you do a lot of annotations and note-taking. All the basic controls are familiar from Preview, including trackpad zooms and rotations. There’s two limitations: it’s pdf only, and it doesn’t have the ability to create hyperlinks.

Preview –> Graphic Converter (for images)
Old standard beloved by many Mac users. Note that the latest version does support autosave, but unlike native Apple apps, gives you the option to turn it off. Available on the app store. Main drawback: it’s not free (current price about $40).

TextEdit –> Tincta
Love this free program, and you can find it in the app store. Does everything TextEdit does and more. If you do any sort of coding, you’ll love Tincta. Everyone should have this!

Terminal –> iTerm2
You’re not really going to notice autosave in Terminal if you only use it for the odd command. If you’re doing anything more than that, well, you should be using iTerm2 anyway. Free, powerful, essential.

Pages & Numbers –> Office/Libreoffice
The only real answer to these outside of the MSOffice suite is the free Libreoffice.

Keynote –> Powerpoint/OpenSong

Well, sometimes it’s just the devil you know. Yes, you can’t really beat MSPowerpoint, but of course that’s a heavy investment. A free option that might be worth giving a try is OpenSong.

Tried any of these, or found your own alternative to autosave-apps? Let us know in the Comments below!

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