What is the "private" folder on my hd?

California

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 21, 2004
3,766
42
I downloaded What size is this (I think that's the name of the app) in order to see if I could free up any disc space. A pretty large folder entitled "private" popped up.

Then I ran disc permissions. Got a lot of "private/var/ kind of files that needed new permissions or something. What the heck is this "private" file?

I have an iBook 1.33/14" with 1.25g and running 10.3.9.

Oh and one of the repaired permissions files said something like private/var/jobs

Huh?
 

belvdr

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2005
5,657
1,022
No longer logging into MR
Benjamin said:
basically that entire folder is OS X unix core i believe.
You are exactly right. Various directories such as /etc, /var, and /tmp are symbolic links into /private:

Code:
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  admin  11 May  5 19:44 etc -> private/etc
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  admin  11 May  5 19:46 tmp -> private/tmp
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  admin  11 May  5 19:46 var -> private/var
 

brasiliangringo

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2009
144
0
So if you delete it you pretty screwed right?
just bought a 2nd hand macbook, restored it using my other macs back up thus wiping the previous users OSX. After this i still found this 'private' file as mentioned by thread starter. I then deleted to find on restart the system wouldnt boot, so had to restore again via system installer using CD. Having read the above it seems it is nothing to worry about - just something invisible that hasnt (for whatever reason) stayed that way..
 

Cheule

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2009
30
1
Surprised no one chimed in with the correct answer, even after 2 years.

Any folder in OS X that shows up unexpectedly (like the private folder inside / in this case) needs to have it's flags reset to hidden. Do that by opening Terminal and typing:

sudo chflags hidden /private/

Put in your admin password, and you're good to go.
 

Repo

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2009
597
0
Surprised no one chimed in with the correct answer, even after 2 years.

Any folder in OS X that shows up unexpectedly (like the private folder inside / in this case) needs to have it's flags reset to hidden. Do that by opening Terminal and typing:

sudo chflags hidden /private/

Put in your admin password, and you're good to go.
Cheule:

i tried your command and all it did was make my HD icon go insible
His advice is correct.
 

sc25893

macrumors member
Sep 2, 2012
86
0
Surprised no one chimed in with the correct answer, even after 2 years.

Any folder in OS X that shows up unexpectedly (like the private folder inside / in this case) needs to have it's flags reset to hidden. Do that by opening Terminal and typing:

sudo chflags hidden /private/

Put in your admin password, and you're good to go.
This 'private' folder appeared in my home folder after installing dropbox. The command hid it again. Thanks for the info (running osx 10.8.4).
 
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