accessing user folders on separate volume

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
140
101
hello,

I'm having a hard time googling this, maybe because I don't know how to ask the question properly

I have two installs of Mac OS on the same apfs container. one is Catalina and the other is high sierra

I would like to be able to access the user folders of one from the other but in finder, from either install, all of the user folders of the other have the red do not enter icon and when I click say "The folder 'n' can't be opened because you do not have permission to see the contents.

How do I grant these permissions.

I can access all of the folders from another machine on my network, but not on the same machine between the two installs.

thanks for any wisdom
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,241
6,094
Try this:

Boot to your Catalina volume.

Does the High Sierra install appear on your desktop?

If so, click on it ONE time to select it.

Now bring up the "Get Info" box (command-i).

At the bottom, click the lock and enter your [Catalina] password.

Put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing and permissions).

Close get info.

Now see if you can access the users folder on the High Sierra volume.
Any better?
 

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
Hi Nathan, I am also interested in your issue, but I haven't had your problem, almost the opposite problem, but it involves Filevault, so I won't conflate the issues. The first thing I wanted to say is that I avoid multiple OS boots on the same drive. All my Macs have multiple boots as well as clones. I had lots of problems with my MBP, so I decided to avoid that situation. I just checked, and I can see all my user files on the other OS on the 2nd drive. So, it looks like we are into APFS issues. First of all, are you using Filevault? Secondly, have you tried to create a separate container for your 2nd OS? To do so is a bit tedious, but when you add the second OS boot, tell it to partition, not add volume, and it just creates a second container for your 2nd volume. That may fix your problem, but I don't think that's it. I believe there may be a reason it blocks you out. I would believe there must be some strict duplication of credentials for the two APFS volumes in order to provide proper security. Are you using duplicate user names and passwords on the two OS volumes???? I always try to do that now. You may have to do some work in the user/groups Sys Prefs folder. I have seen your problem when the original user/admin was changed. This is a good reason to do clean installs every few OS changes. After looking at my bigMac, I had no problems, including a really old clone of ElCap, and no red "lights". I'll check my 4-core after lunch, but I really think it has to do with the original Admin ownership. I just found what I think is a helpful article and will post the link below. https://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/os-x-repair-home-folder-permissions
I think this is what you may need, but please read it carefully. It sure beats having to change all the user files individually... I think if you boot in your current OS, you may not have to boot into recovery, just use Terminal from one of the boots on the other. I would make sure to look at that original information on both boots before trying to change anything. Most info is in the User folder of Sys Prefs. Your important short name is not shown there, but open the Sharing folder and look at the name there. If it says "abcdefg's Mac", then abcdefg is probably your short name. While looking at this with screen sharing, I realize your problem could be file sharing permissions. If you can get them over your network, they should also be available locally??? I think I would have to be driving your Mac to be more helpful, so I hope you find some of this information viable. Good luck.
Neil
 

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
Try this:

Boot to your Catalina volume.

Does the High Sierra install appear on your desktop?

If so, click on it ONE time to select it.

Now bring up the "Get Info" box (command-i).

At the bottom, click the lock and enter your [Catalina] password.

Put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing and permissions).

Close get info.

Now see if you can access the users folder on the High Sierra volume.
Any better?
Good idea, but doesn't that degrade the security? I never leave a volume without ownership, and my multiple OS volumes are mutually accessible.
I'm going to wait to hear back from Nathan to see if he has any more input after our responses. I can try adding a second OS boot to a APFS volume and try it. I don't expect any resolution, and refer back to my last post with the linked reference article about changing user file permissions.
 

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
I just realized that I have a spindle drive formatted with APFS on my 4-core that has clones for Mojave and High Sierra. The user files were available in both directions. I think the only thing to do now is to try the procedure in the link I posted. The only way to replicate (I think) your issue is to add a new admin and then delete the original admin. Then I get all the red on files I thought were accessible, even in the same drive.
 

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
140
101
Try this:

Boot to your Catalina volume.

Does the High Sierra install appear on your desktop?

If so, click on it ONE time to select it.

Now bring up the "Get Info" box (command-i).

At the bottom, click the lock and enter your [Catalina] password.

Put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume" (sharing and permissions).

Close get info.

Now see if you can access the users folder on the High Sierra volume.
Any better?

hello fisherman,

thanks for your reply

I followed your suggestion but nothing changed

appreciate the idea though
- - Post merged: - -

Good idea, but doesn't that degrade the security? I never leave a volume without ownership, and my multiple OS volumes are mutually accessible.
I'm going to wait to hear back from Nathan to see if he has any more input after our responses. I can try adding a second OS boot to a APFS volume and try it. I don't expect any resolution, and refer back to my last post with the linked reference article about changing user file permissions.
hello naerct

I'm not particularly concerned about security on this machine, but Fisherman's suggestion didn't change anything regardless

still working through other responses. I will definitely report back any findings
- - Post merged: - -

Hi Nathan, I am also interested in your issue, but I haven't had your problem, almost the opposite problem, but it involves Filevault, so I won't conflate the issues. The first thing I wanted to say is that I avoid multiple OS boots on the same drive. All my Macs have multiple boots as well as clones. I had lots of problems with my MBP, so I decided to avoid that situation. I just checked, and I can see all my user files on the other OS on the 2nd drive. So, it looks like we are into APFS issues. First of all, are you using Filevault? Secondly, have you tried to create a separate container for your 2nd OS? To do so is a bit tedious, but when you add the second OS boot, tell it to partition, not add volume, and it just creates a second container for your 2nd volume. That may fix your problem, but I don't think that's it. I believe there may be a reason it blocks you out. I would believe there must be some strict duplication of credentials for the two APFS volumes in order to provide proper security. Are you using duplicate user names and passwords on the two OS volumes???? I always try to do that now. You may have to do some work in the user/groups Sys Prefs folder. I have seen your problem when the original user/admin was changed. This is a good reason to do clean installs every few OS changes. After looking at my bigMac, I had no problems, including a really old clone of ElCap, and no red "lights". I'll check my 4-core after lunch, but I really think it has to do with the original Admin ownership. I just found what I think is a helpful article and will post the link below. https://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/os-x-repair-home-folder-permissions
I think this is what you may need, but please read it carefully. It sure beats having to change all the user files individually... I think if you boot in your current OS, you may not have to boot into recovery, just use Terminal from one of the boots on the other. I would make sure to look at that original information on both boots before trying to change anything. Most info is in the User folder of Sys Prefs. Your important short name is not shown there, but open the Sharing folder and look at the name there. If it says "abcdefg's Mac", then abcdefg is probably your short name. While looking at this with screen sharing, I realize your problem could be file sharing permissions. If you can get them over your network, they should also be available locally??? I think I would have to be driving your Mac to be more helpful, so I hope you find some of this information viable. Good luck.
Neil
thanks Neil

1) not using file vault

2) I believe user name and password are identical as I generally use the same on any given machine regardless of os but I'll double check that

3) my first guess was file sharing permissions but I wasn't sure where to go with that since both drives are fully accessible from other machines on the same network

4) definitely some helpful information. I'll take a look at the link and try suggestions and report back
 
Last edited:

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
hello fisherman,

thanks for your reply

I followed your suggestion but nothing changed

appreciate the idea though
- - Post merged: - -



hello naerct

I'm not particularly concerned about security on this machine, but Fisherman's suggestion didn't change anything regardless

still working through other responses. I will definitely report back any findings
- - Post merged: - -



thanks Neil

1) not using file vault

2) I believe user name and password are identical as I generally use the same on any given machine regardless of os but I'll double check that

3) my first guess was file sharing permissions but I wasn't sure where to go with that since both drives are fully accessible from other machines on the same network

4) definitely some helpful information. I'll take a look at the link and try suggestions and report back
 

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
140
101
tried the password reset in recovery from terminal

it brings up a much different window then that old Mac observer link

the most relevant on being that there is no option to "Reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLs"

I wonder if I'm thinking about this wrong in the sense that, is it not the case sharing preferences are about networking? I'm trying to access files on the same machine rather than over a network
 

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
I've been trying stuff on all my Macs, and find that there is not any problem, even reading files from a clone of ELCAP from many years ago. The only time I get the red is when I try to take over a volume that originally belonged to another admin. I used an old clone Clean Install of High Sierra to help a client do a clean install more quickly. I tested that clone and there were no problems...at least until we did the clean install, erased my login so only his was showing, but then he had your problem of being shut out of all the folders.
 

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
140
101
not sure if its relevant information but I'm able to access everything on the windows 10 instal on the same machine, which of course is not on the same apfs container

I will perhaps try to instal Catalina on a separate container. not a big deal since I hadn't really set it up yet
 

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
I'm not surprised at your results. I think installing on a separate container may work, but your different containers don't allow some of the niceties like space sharing, etc. I have been getting my 4-core ready to sell on eBay, and trying to find the best way to configure the multi OS boot files, so I wouldn't have this problem of being shut out. This time, I just used the clone (with a different Admin) and erased the old copy of the HS Install App, cleared it from the trash and downloaded a fresh copy. (this step is often essential) Then I went to DU and rt clicked the APFS container, told it to Add APFS Volume and named it accordingly (HS-cleanInstall). Then I just started the HS Install.app from my current OS, told it to show al disks, and told it to make the fresh install on that new volume I just created. You now have a virgin OS to which you add your non Apple software and update Mail, etc (usually less than 2 hours). Do not use Apple's migration assistant, as it brings everything back which may include those unwanted permissions, but I don't know that for sure. I just did a clean install of Mojave on my 12-core and the boot drive was less than half as big as it was before, even after adding a lot of major software pieces (Adobe). You don't even need a USB thumb. I suggest you do that with both OSs as you can button up a fresh install much faster the second time through. :)
 

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
140
101
indeed the space sharing is the appeal of keeping as much as possible on one container

i think i will try your approach first


this machine is probably long overdue for a clean install anyways. it’s collected several years of junk
 

naerct

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2019
81
12
Southern NH
I know that worked for me, and for my client, so I'd recommend that. I can assure you that it should work properly barring another issues. We'll see. Good Luck