Severely screwed Sierra permissions: PLEASE HELP

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by primarycolors, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. primarycolors macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2015
    A bit of background...

    My iMac shipped with Yosemite which I have been updating up to Sierra. However I lately needed a way into Mavericks for old programs (and stability's sake) so I added a second partition and installed Mavericks from a USB.

    I needed to access my items from the original Sierra partition while in Mavericks, so I used Get Info > Permissions and granted all and my Mavericks account Read/Write access to the entire drive.

    However reentering Sierra, only a few apps can be opened and nothing can be written to the disk. I recieve a constant error promting something along the lines of "MacOS needs to repair your Library so applications can be opened." I assume I altered permissions while in Mavericks that should not have been altered... and Sierra has removed the "repair permissions" from Disk Utility.

    I need to regain access of my Sierra. Any input it greatly appreciated.

    Computer specs:
    iMac 21.5" late 2013
    2.7GHz Intel Core i5
    16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB
  2. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Reboot, hold command–R and reinstall Sierra from there, without formatting. It should repair the system.
  3. primarycolors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2015
    AH, thank you! Will I lose data from reinstalling Sierra?
  4. oldmacs macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2010
    I had the same issue lat week, stuff you Apple for removing permissions repair from disk utility. I ended up backing up then erasing and reinstalling.
  5. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    You won’t lose personal data, it will just restore the system directories. If you have a recent Time Machine backup, you can also restore from this.
  6. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
  7. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Is this not what Disk Utility is for?
    Apple's claim that we have moved beyond the need for permissions repair seems neatly disproved here.
    Someone should write a letter to Mr. Amelio.
  8. primarycolors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2015
    Figured I would update...
    By manually changing some permissions I have managed to regain some functionality. This said, the Sierra partition is still screwed as most actions don't work because of still many broken permissions.
    If I remember correctly Onyx would not open properly, so I followed directions and reinstalled OS X... but even reinstalling the OS did not fix the problem!

    And yes, damn Apple for removing the repair permissions feature!

    In the meantime I have migrated full-time into the Mavericks partition.
    While back on Mavericks it's amazing to see what backwards progress we've made.. At least Mavericks doesn't freeze or glitch at every action!
  9. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Yes, for normal purposes, a permissions repair is no longer needed. But, you still have folks who decide to "screw the poodle" by manually changing file ownership to allow read/write access to the entire drive (something that usually does not end well, even years ago), The Disk Utility/Repair Permissions won't fix that, as that tool does not extend to your user account.

    To repeat, "Repair Permissions" does not fix permission issues in user files, or any user folder.
    You would still need to run an ownership reset command through the terminal - even if Disk Utility still had the Repair Permissions function.
  10. bcave098 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2015
    Northern British Columbia
    This is correct. More specifically, "Repair Permissions" only affects things whose permissions are recorded in /var/db/receipts, IIRC. Home folder permissions are reset differently.
  11. KALLT, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    In that case, you should download Sierra from the App Store and ‘upgrade’ again via the app itself. For some reason, clicking on ‘Reinstall’ via Recovery doesn’t always fix the problem. It seems that it checks the system for certain things and will only prompt for the full download when it cannot solve it. Permission checks don’t seem to be part of the procedure.

    For the future: avoid changing file permissions in Finder (it is utterly clumsy for this) and never change them for mounted drives. What you should have done is selecting ‘Ignore ownership on this volume’ in the ‘Get Info’ panel (below the permissions). That way you can access all the files without touching the original permissions.

    It is actually certain packages in /System/Library/Receipts, basically the packages of the original system installer, as well as the installed updates. This is why Apple deferred the permissions repair to system installs or system updates, because these will usually just overwrite their own destinations and set the permissions accordingly.

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