Repair Permissions... What's the point of it??

diehldun

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 15, 2003
674
0
What's the point of "repairing permissions"? I mean, I heard everyone talk about it when I bought my PB last year, so I've been going thru Utilities and doing it, but I have no clue what's the point of it.

I do "Repair Permissions" about once a week, and I always see a HUGE list of "things to repair"! What is going on????

Any explanations would be great... sorry, not exactly a software genius! :p
 

Daveway

macrumors 68040
Jul 10, 2004
3,372
0
New Orleans / Lafayette, La
When you delete, install, modify, move, or make any changes to a file or app, the system doesn't always do it cleanly. Apps may have parts of them left behind or defunct and this will cause conflicts (instability) in the OS and your apps.
Repairing permission does exactly what it says. It goes out and cleans up. It reconstructs parts of an app or file that may be messed up.
Usually when you install, uninstall, and delete many files, it is necessary t repair permissions.
I think of it almost like defragmenting apps.
 
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Logik

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2004
616
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daveway00 said:
When you delete, install, modify, move, or make any changes to a file or app, the system doesn't always do it cleanly. Apps may have parts of them left behind or defunct and this will cause conflicts (instability) in the OS and your apps.
Repairing permission does exactly what it says. It goes out and cleans up. It reconstructs parts of an app or file that may be messed up.
Usually when you install, uninstall, and delete many files, it is necessary t repair permissions.
I think of it almost like defragmenting apps.
um... no.... Repair Permissions. What part of "permissions" is repairing applications or reconstructing files? eerr... ok

Basically the OS X system seems to have a few issues with permissions information being messed up, not sure why or whatever, but if a file has permissions that you SHOULD be able to access but cannot because you aren't part of the "group" or the permissions are set to high then you cannot access said file(s). Repair Permissions fixes this.
 
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TDM21

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2004
789
0
Here is an example: I installed Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory on my PB when the game was finally released. After installation I had several permission problems. The entire contents of the Games folder was locked. I would have had to go through each folder and unlock it's contents. I also noticed that my entire Applications folder was also locked so I was not able to write it. Repair permissions fixes these read/write problems.
 
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diehldun

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 15, 2003
674
0
Is this the easiest/fastest/cheapest way to mainatain a Mac? I remember using "Disk Defrag..." on my Dell. Or is there other included applications in my Powerbook? :confused:
 
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Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,763
1,225
New Zealand
OS X automatically defrags in the background, so you don't need to worry about that. Repairing permissions is really the only maintenance task you need to do manually, as the system automatically performs most maintenance tasks every night. I don't know why Apple haven't scheduled automatic permissions repair for, say, once a week. Anyone know?
 
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Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
diehldun said:
Is this the easiest/fastest/cheapest way to mainatain a Mac? I remember using "Disk Defrag..." on my Dell. Or is there other included applications in my Powerbook? :confused:
This is the ONLY maintenance to do on a Mac. Cron jobs (they clear out caches, log files, etc.) run at 3 AM if the computer is on but they are not purely necessary to leave your computer on for. There are programs that will force them to run... if you need/want them to.

They do not, BTW, run in sleep. My PowerBook hasn't had to undergo a running of the crons for a while and it is fine, but repairing permissions is good to do, and I run that every when-I-remember-to.
 
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Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
3,063
76
Alabama
Repairing permission is for one thing and one thing only. Third party software installs sometimes screw up system-level files. It's not a fix-all, and running it when no SW has been installed is a waste of time. Doing a disk repair (By booting from the Panther instal disk) is nice to do once a month, AND when you get stalled boots. Say it boots to the spinning wheel, or to a blue screen that won't go away. Boot from the CD, run Disk utilities, repair the disk TWICE, and it will boot. Norton tools or any of the other tools are useless to OSX. X is Unix, and defragging is pointless also, unless you want a huge amount of contiguous space. But on the modern Macs it makes no real difference you'll see. See?
 
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cmvsm

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2004
784
0
Logik said:
um... no.... Repair Permissions. What part of "permissions" is repairing applications or reconstructing files? eerr... ok

Basically the OS X system seems to have a few issues with permissions information being messed up, not sure why or whatever, but if a file has permissions that you SHOULD be able to access but cannot because you aren't part of the "group" or the permissions are set to high then you cannot access said file(s). Repair Permissions fixes this.

Say what??? :confused: I liked the first description much better.
 
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Logik

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2004
616
0
cmvsm said:
Say what??? :confused: I liked the first description much better.
ok.. you have 3 permissions.. read, write and execute

read means you can read.. write means you can write to the file.

if you cannot write to a file that needs to be written to then you'll get an error or something won't work right

if you can't read a file that you need to read.. say a library or a configuration file.. then you'll get an error or something won't work right

this is all set with permissions.

if you install a program or a program alters these permissions in anyway, then you'll get instability and crashes and OS X will just not work as it should.

Repair permissions goes through and fixes these issues. if you should have read access, it gives you read access, if you should have write access, it gives you write access. that way you don't get those problems due to file permissions.

make sense?
 
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pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,383
0
Vermontana
Why doesn't OSX repair permissions automatically like it does with cron jobs?

Also, has anyone else noticed that the status box in the First Aid pane of the Disk Utility has been changed from small black to bold red? I haven't even installed 10.3.8... how could this have suddenly changed without an update? Or am I the only one....


One more thing- why is it that when i repair permissions once, and then do it again, it "repairs" the same exact permissions in the same exact way? Shouldn't they be fixed?
 
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Logik

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2004
616
0
pdpfilms said:
Why doesn't OSX repair permissions automatically like it does with cron jobs?
probably because apple's own apps don't cause the problems... it's 3rd party apps that are the ones that don't do things right and as such screw up the permissions on files and folders.
 
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MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,650
29
USA
Les Kern said:
Repairing permission is for one thing and one thing only. Third party software installs sometimes screw up system-level files. It's not a fix-all, and running it when no SW has been installed is a waste of time. Doing a disk repair (By booting from the Panther instal disk) is nice to do once a month, AND when you get stalled boots. Say it boots to the spinning wheel, or to a blue screen that won't go away. Boot from the CD, run Disk utilities, repair the disk TWICE, and it will boot. Norton tools or any of the other tools are useless to OSX. X is Unix, and defragging is pointless also, unless you want a huge amount of contiguous space. But on the modern Macs it makes no real difference you'll see. See?
Another thing that you may do is to start-up in single-user mode. Run fsck -f from the command prompt.
 
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Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
pdpfilms said:
Also, has anyone else noticed that the status box in the First Aid pane of the Disk Utility has been changed from small black to bold red? I haven't even installed 10.3.8... how could this have suddenly changed without an update? Or am I the only one....
Whoa... wait.. you mean, the one that says S.M.A.R.T. or something? That used to say Verified?

If the above answer is "uh...yeah...." then BACK UP NOW and don't wait. It could mean hard drive failure. Take a screen shot of it and upload it (Command+Shift+4) to us. But I have a bad bad bad feeling about it....
 
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pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,383
0
Vermontana
Whoa... wait.. you mean, the one that says S.M.A.R.T. or something? That used to say Verified?
Fortunately, no- it still says verified. The text in the box that appears during activity... reporting what it's up to. You know, "We are using special permissions for the file or directory ./System/Library/Filesystems/cd9660.fs/cd9660.util. New permissions are 33261", etc. Before, it used to be in normal thin black text (and possibly green bold when it was finished?), but now has been replaced by all bold red.

EDIT: Whoa- now it's black again. Is that a bad sign?
EDIT 2: Here's a picture of the current state. Previously, ALL the text inside the box was the bold red of "Stopped by user". Anyone know why?
 
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Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
3,063
76
Alabama
MisterMe said:
Another thing that you may do is to start-up in single-user mode. Run fsck -f from the command prompt.
True, but I read somewhere that since it's journaled (IF it's journaled) that fsck runs better from the CD, not the volume itself.
 
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gallagb

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2004
461
0
IN
a bigger question

ok- so i run 'repair permissions' quite often
here's my big question

when i run it
it corrects a few things
then i run it again (right away)
and it corrects a few more things
(perhaps even the same things i'm not 100% sure)

why ?

should it ever come up 'clean'?
 
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yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
Les Kern said:
True, but I read somewhere that since it's journaled (IF it's journaled) that fsck runs better from the CD, not the volume itself.
Supposedly, if the disk is journaled, using fsck is a waste of time.

Tip: If you use a Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) formatted volume, such as with Mac OS X Panther, you will probably not need to use fsck. If you do use it for some reason, be aware that benign error messages can appear.
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106214

At least, that's one way to interpret the above quote from the kbase.
 
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Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
gallagb said:
should it ever come up 'clean'?
Anything prefixed with "We are using special permissions for ..." isn't actually an error. Just a message. It means that the system thinks that the permissions should be different but there is a file saying "No, really, trust me on this one." That way your computer still runs nicely.
 
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Sharewaredemon

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2004
1,931
90
Cape Breton Island
Les Kern said:
Repairing permission is for one thing and one thing only. Third party software installs sometimes screw up system-level files. It's not a fix-all, and running it when no SW has been installed is a waste of time. Doing a disk repair (By booting from the Panther instal disk) is nice to do once a month, AND when you get stalled boots. Say it boots to the spinning wheel, or to a blue screen that won't go away. Boot from the CD, run Disk utilities, repair the disk TWICE, and it will boot. Norton tools or any of the other tools are useless to OSX. X is Unix, and defragging is pointless also, unless you want a huge amount of contiguous space. But on the modern Macs it makes no real difference you'll see. See?
I've read that booting from the CD is a bad idea to repair permissions, as they change when the os is updated, so when ou boot from the cd (say your computer came with 10.3.4) then the cd will be checking to make sure permissions match that. Even though 10.3.8 may have different permissions.
 
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
gallagb said:
ok- so i run 'repair permissions' quite often
here's my big question

when i run it
it corrects a few things
then i run it again (right away)
and it corrects a few more things
(perhaps even the same things i'm not 100% sure)

why ?

should it ever come up 'clean'?
There are a couple of repaired permissions that are sort of a minor "bug" in OS X. On most systems, there is a cd9660.iso or something like that file somewhere that gets repaired permissions...here it is. This one:

Code:
We are using special permissions for the file or directory
./System/Library/Filesystems/cd9660.fs/cd9660.util.
On most systems, this one will come up every time you repair permissions. I guess it's a bug or an idiosyncracy, but I am not aware of any issue that is caused by it. There might be a couple more like that.
 
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