How to Use Disk Utility to Repair Disk Permissions

Several years ago, when having any problems with their computers, the first thing Mac users did was repairing disk permissions. It was a universal operation that could help to solve numerous issues. And only it wouldn’t help, a user tried to find some other solution. Maybe, this is the reason why since OS X El Capitan Apple made permission repairing automatic. It was like that in OS X Yosemite, macOS Sierra and is like that in macOS High Sierra.

Yet, if automatic protection is not enough for you, you still can perform it on demand. It will take some time and effort, though.

But first, it is critical to understand what permissions stand for. Those are file settings that influence the opportunity to read, write, or run the file. The quality of software’s work depends on the way corresponding permissions are set. An error in such settings may cause a bug in the work of specific application. Where can a user see those settings? Look at Sharing and Permissions of the Get Info window.

In OS X Yosemite or earlier releases, to fix permissions, you have to:

  • Launch Disk Utility. Go to the Applications folder to find Utilities there. That is where Disk Utility is hiding.
  • Choose the startup disk from the list of volumes.
  • Pick the tab marked the First Aid.
  • Select Verify Disk Permissions. That is how you can check them. In order to fix them, press Repair Disk Permissions.

The tool scans the settings in case the file possesses a relevant receipt in /var/db/receipts. It explains the way permissions should look like. Mind that not all installers have a receipt. Some apps lack this element.

Remember that once you modify the read/write permissions of files in the home folder, you may have to reinstall permissions to prevent particular problems.

The thing is there are a lot of items stored in the home folder on Apple computer. The installed software can read or change that folders and files. Of course, one can apply Get Info in order to modify the settings. However, be ready to face some of the following consequences:

  • Any modifications done to the Dock are not stored after the user signs out of personal account;
  • Any modifications done in System Preferences are not saved once the user shuts down the System Preferences menu;
  • A user might constantly receive a notification telling that operating system requires a Library repairman to launch apps;
  • A user is prompted to enter admin’s login details while placing specific files in the home folder;
  • Windows opened the previous time a user signed out/existed an application before modifying the permissions launch once more after logging in/launching the software;
  • Such sandboxed tools as TextEdit or Preview are suddenly shut down when launched;
  • While saving the modifications done to a file, a user receives a message telling the file is locked, or there is no permission to process;
  • A user obtains a notification telling the bootup disk lacks space for app memory;
  • Apple computer turns rather sluggish;
  • iTunes reports about the inability to sync Mac;
  • Activity Monitor displays that the Safari browser eats too much system resources;
  • Images and films imported into Photos/iPhoto do not show up within the software but are displayed in Finder. The library may need to be updated/reselected every time a user launches the image-related apps for Mac.

Reset Permissions on Demand

In case the problem took place once you modified the permissions of files in the home folder, it is better to reset them.

  1. Launch the Finder tool. Select Go
  2. Select File → Get Info.
  3. In case Sharing & Permissions won’t open, press the triangle symbol in that section.
  4. In case the Lock option displays a closed lock, pick it and type the administrator’s login details to enable.
  5. Pick the Action menu, which sign looks like the settings. Select “Apply to enclosed items.” Pick OK to verify the operation. Notice a progress bar at the top of the window.
  6. After it is filled, launch Terminal. It is in the Utilities of the Applications folder.
  7. Copy-paste or enter the given command exactly the way it appears: diskutil resetUserPermissions / `id -u`
    Once you type the diskutil command, Terminal may inform that permissions reset failed. It is time to try chflags -R nouchg ~. Make an attempt with the diksutil command again.
  8. Push the Return key on Mac.
  9. Once done, quit your Terminal app.
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