Repair User Permissions in Mac OS X
In Mac OS X Lion and beyond, repairing permissions from the Disk Utility app doesn’t repair the users file permissions, oddly this has to be done separately on a per-user basis. If you’re running into problems with Spotlight not finding documents or folders, or if you’re having other issues that can usually be fixed with a permissions repair, this can resolve those problems.
This is a great tip from a Mac Genius that one of our readers sent in, it’s well written so we’ll just publish the entire thing verbatim:
Repairing User Permissions in OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Beyond
You’ll need to reboot to perform this, and then use the same resetpassword utility that is used to change passwords in Lion, but instead choosing a hidden option.
When you use the Disk Utility app and Repair Permissions — it doesn’t actually repair the permission settings on folders and files in your Home folder where your documents and personal applications reside.
In the newest versions of OS X, there is an additional Repair Permissions application utility hidden away. This tool is located inside boot Repair Utilities. Here’s how to access it.
- Restart OS X and hold down the Command and R keys.
- You will boot into the Repair Utilities screen. On top, in the Menu Bar click the Utilities item then select Terminal.
- In the Terminal window, type “resetpassword” (without the quotes) and hit Return.
- The Password reset utility launches, but you’re not going to reset the password. Instead, click on the icon for your Mac’s hard drive at the top. From the drop-down below it, select the user account where you are having issues.
- At the bottom of the window, you’ll see an area labeled ‘Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs’. Click the Reset button there.
The reset process takes a couple of minutes. When it’s done, quit the programs you’ve opened and restart your Mac. Notice that ‘Spotlight’ starts re-indexing immediately.
Great tip, thanks for sending this in Tony R!
Update: This works in OS X 10.7 Lion, and 10.8 Mountain Lion, and newer.