What does "Repair Permissions" do?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) Discussion' started by vgoklani, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. vgoklani macrumors regular

    vgoklani

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    #1
    Hi,

    My powerbook has been sluggish of late, and browsing through the forums, it appears that the common remedy is to "Repair Permissions". But what does this procedure actually do, and why must it be done?
     
  2. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #2
    Your control over something is controlled by a file's permissions. The system has its controls over some things, you have control over some, and various others have control over various other things of theirs. If permissions are mucked up, a certain program may not run, a helper utility may cause random and unexplained behavior. Usually installer programs mess permissions up, but over time as programs play with these they are not always set back correctly.

    Its basic maintenance, to be run whenever you have an urge to do it. I do mine every three months or so, but before every major software update at the least. It doesn't take too long, maybe 20 minutes max.

    Also, RAM can help in determining your computer's speed. More on that later.
     
  3. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    Permissions are the file system settings that control which users (or groups of users) can read, write, or execute a file or program or see the contents of a directory (folder). They are set certain ways to give programs and users access to the appropriate files and keep them out where they don't belong. When they are wrong (maybe because one program or installer set them inappropriately for another program's use), file access is denied when it should be allowed. It usually shows up as an odd symptom, because programs don't usually have good error checking for "can't access an expected file" when it is an internally used file (like a preferences file), as opposed to a file you are opening, which would produce a polite message if unavailable.

    Repairing permissions sets the permission flags to the settings that Disk Utility knows they should have.

    So it almost always doesn't hurt to repair permissions, and occasionally it helps.
     
  4. vgoklani thread starter macrumors regular

    vgoklani

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    #4
    Thanks for the replies. So I understand how permissions are defined, but why would repairing permissions improve system performance. If there is a problem with the permissions setting, (presumabaly) an error message would show up. Incidentally, I am the only user of my powerbook (G4 1.33GHZ w/ 1.5G RAM), and the damn thing is really slow. I am planning to swap the 60G 4200 RPM drive with a 7200RPM drive, but I am waiting for Hitachi to release an 80G drive (or hopefully a 100G model!)
     
  5. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #5
    Nah. That would be too easy. :)

    The hard drive might have something to do with it... I have the faster HD in my 12" and have never really compared the two HDs. It might. I'd wait until your warranty is over. Anywhoo.

    Just repair the permissions and tell us what happens...
     
  6. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #6
    On a side note, you can also use this command and it'll help speed up somethings. At least mine sped up a little bit. sudo update_prebinding -root / -force
    It just rebinds everything back to what it should be. BTW if anyone can read the log and that send me a PM and I'll email you with the log. It couldn't fix a few things and I need to know wth is going on.
     
  7. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #7
    Prebinding is done normally. You usually do not need to do this. If you remember when you do a Software Update and it is "optimizing" your Hard Drive? It is really just prebinding. Which associates certain things with certain programs, if I remember right.

    I once forced my iMac to prebind to make it go faster. Didn't do anything...
    However it is useful for odd troubleshooting situations. Very rare, IMO.
     

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