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permissions issue on storage drive


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 14, 2012
Ok so I have a HFS+ storage drive on my macbook that is having some permissions issues. I am trying to copy the contents of this drive to an external usb hdd but I keep getting an error saying I don't have permission to copy these files.

Things Ive tried:

1. Disk utility repair disk.

2. Disk utility repair permission can't be run because it is not a boot disk (its greyed out).

3. Manually set the correct permission on the storage volume via get info and then selecting "apply to enclosed items", no dice.

4. Went further into the directory structure and looked at the permissions of random files, the files have my username listed twice under permissions, once with "read&write" permission and once with "no access" permission. I cannot remove the no access entry but I can change it so that it says "read&write" giving two permissions entries for my username each with read&write. If I do this, I can successfully copy the file.

So number 4 works but it is not a practical fix, there are thousands of files on this drive there is no way I can physically fix the permissions on each individual file one at a time... I need some help here.


macrumors regular
May 31, 2008
Phoenix, AZ
Changing permissions.

You might try BatChmod.
It has helped me several times with transferring data from external drives where th data came from a different computer. It's a drag and drop permissions app. Be sure to check the box that says to include subdirectorys.


macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
Try looking at this thread:

If you do go that route, try using the Terminal commands on a subset rather than the whole volume so you can make sure you're headed in the right direction.

Something similar worked for me. I had to change ownership and permissions and ignore ownership on the volume. It may be that from your computer's perspective somebody else created that stuff on that other disk that isn't yours and it thinks you are the impostor. So the settings are internally consistent, just not what you want.
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