How to get rights to write (and delete) in all folders on my hard disk

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by desertman, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. desertman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 14, 2008
    Arizona, USA
    Already with OS X 10.9 and now even more with OS X 10.10 I am encountering again and again folders that I created at some point by myself in which I can not anymore create or rename or delete a file or folder. This happens with folders on my internal hard disk as well as with folders on some external hard disks.

    I am not talking about folders and their content within the various Library or System folders. I am talking about folders in my (self created) Archive folder as well as in the Downloads and Applications folders.

    Is there a way to give me - as the sole owner and user of my computer - in one go all rights for all folders and sub-folders and files i. e. in Downloads, Applications and others?

    (Please be so kind to not warn me that this would not be a good idea because it would be dangerous. I talke full responsibility if I "misuse" these rights. Thanks.)
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    First, I recommend that you find out exactly why the restriction is occurring. Not necessarily the series of unfortunate events that lead to the restriction, as we can only guess at those. I mean the exact cause of the restriction.

    The restriction itself can be caused by any one (or more) of the following:
    1. You don't own the item.
    2. You don't have write permission on the item.
    3. The item is locked.
    4. The item has its own ACL (access control list) that prohibits write/delete.
    5. The item has an inherited ACTL that that prohibits write/delete.
    Regarding #1, for example, ownership is defined by which account you're using. So if you login using an account Charlie, create things, then in several days time you login using an account Charles, then the things you created as Charlie will not be owned by Charles. I mention this because many people don't understand that ownership is tied to accounts, not to individuals.

    If you've never heard of ACLs before, here's a brief article:

    That article identifies Server, but ACLs are used throughout OS X, not just on OS X Server.

    To discover the cause of the restriction you'll almost certainly need to enter some commands into Terminal, and post the resulting output. Copy and paste the commands exactly, and also copy and paste the output here exactly. Details are important.

    If you want to start the diagnosis, begin by posting the exact name of a folder or file that currently exhibits the problem you described. If you do that, we can create a suitable command-line for you to run.

    It's also conceivable that the cause of the problem is file-system damage. You should run Disk Utility and perform a "Verify Disk" on the problematic disk. Copy and paste the text of any errors that occur and post it here.
  3. desertman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 14, 2008
    Arizona, USA
    Thanks for your reply. As I wrote before I am the sole user of my computer. One owner, one user, one user account that is being used.

    I started this thread because it just had happened that I wanted to copy a file into a folder that I had created myself in a folder that I also created myself on an external hard disk and had to put my password in in order to be able to do this. I can, of course, put my password in - however, I strangely enough think that my folders on my hard disks should be my folders on my hard disks and I should be able to do with them whatever I want. Things like this are not happening all the time but they do happen too often - with folders that I have created myself.

    I have now changed with BatChmod the ownership of this folder and its content to me and given me all rights. I believe I could do that i. e. for a complete external hard disk, but I would prefer to be able to do this only for folders and sub-folders (which are definitely all mine) and not necessarily for all files in the folders (which might have different rights for a reason). Is there a way to do exactly this?
  4. dyt1983, Feb 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread.
  5. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    For a complete external hard disk, you should be able to use "Ignore Ownership on This Disk", a checkbox in Finder's Get Info window for the disk volume. I'm fairly sure Yosemite still has this (possibly with different wording), but I could be wrong. If it exists, it should be under "Sharing & Permissions" in the Get Info window for a disk. You'll have to unlock the lock to enable the checkbox. After that, it should persist.

    If ownership is causing the restriction, then something is going wrong with the owner that creates the folder, or later on. This might not be a small problem, but could be a symptom of file-system damage. If you don't check for damage, or don't correct it if it exists, you could eventually lose data.

    Since you said you changed both ownership and permissions (rights), it's unclear at this point which one was actually the cause of the problem.

    Yes, it's possible to only change permissions for folders and sub-folders. To do that, however, you must be the owner, or you must run as root (superuser). If changing the owner fixes the problem, then changing permissions may be unnecessary.

    I realize you're looking for a simple all-purpose answer, but if the actual cause of the problem isn't known, then the best answer can't be determined.
  6. desertman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 14, 2008
    Arizona, USA
    Thanks. That is what I needed.

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