What are Disk Permissions?
Mac OS X Disk Permissions Explained
I recently wrote a post about performing maintenance on your Mac and in doing so brought up a subject that some of you may not understand. Disk permissions. So I decided to write a separate article explaining what they are and what they do and how to fix them.
What are Disk Permissions?
Basically every file and folder on your Mac has a set of permissions assigned to it. These permissions determine what user has access them to and what kind of access. The user could be you or the system. I’m sure you’ve all heard of administrative access. You’ve probably seen examples of this when you are trying to install an application or perform a system related task and your computer asks you for your administrative password. This is because the user account that you are using does not have the permissions necessary to perform the task at hand. Permissions also apply to applications that you have on your computer. Basically in a nutshell, permissions delegate who and what has access to what file or folder.
How do Disk Permissions Get Changed?
One of the main ways permissions get corrupted is through computer crashes or power outages. Perhaps the power went out unexpectedly while you were in the middle of something, or if you have a laptop, your battery died on you while you were working. Another way disk permissions can get corrupted is by rogue installers. Sometimes when you install an application it temporarily changes permissions of files and folders and it fails to reset the permissions when the application is done installing. Either way it leaves the disk permissions incorrect and you may notice that your computer is acting funny afterwards.
How Do I Check If My Disk Permissions Are Correct?
The easiest way to check if your permissions are correct is to use the Disk Utility. You can find it by navigating to the following location Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility. Once you have clicked on the icon you will see the following window open:
You’ll notice there is a button in the lower portion of the screen towards the left of the window labeled “Verify Disk Permissions”. If you click this, the utility will begin checking your hard drive and you will see the results in the small window located in the middle of the screen. But, this only checks if disk permissions are correct. If there are any errors, then you must use the corresponding “Repair Disk Permissions” to fix them. I’ve found that it’s simpler to just click “Repair Disk Permissions” as this verifies and repairs at the same time.
The previous article I wrote was on a piece of software that helps you maintenance your Mac and fixing disk permissions is one of those tasks. The software not only fixes your permissions but performs a variety of maintenance tasks as well. The software is called Onyx and it is very easy to use and is basically a one-click process. If you would like to check it out you can find that article here: