Repairing Permissions and ACL’s in OS X 10.4 & 10.5 (Tiger & Leopard)

In 10.5, repairing your "permissions" can be a two step process. Older software might use what was traditionally called Permissions in 10.4 and earlier, while the newer OS uses "ACL’s" or Access Control Lists. To make sure you get all of your access reset properly in 10.5, perform both of these steps.

Use Disk Utility to reset the standard (POSIX) Permissions


Start by opening Disk Utility, found in the Utilities folder, inside the Applications folder.
1. Select your boot volume. It’s usually called Macintosh HD, but in the case above, mine is called Big Boot.
2. Press Repair Disk Permissions.

According to, "Repair Disk Permissions should be run from the drive on which the applications are installed. Repair Disk Permissions can be run from the install disk on a newly installed system which has not been updated. Once an update is done it should be run from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder on the updated system."

Boot from the Tiger or Leopard installation DVD


Boot the computer from the installation DVD that came with it, or from a retail copy of Leopard by holding down the "c" key immediately after you hear the startup chime. Remeber to put the DVD in the drive before you turn it off!

The first screen will ask you to choose a language, but after that, DO NOT PRESS CONTINUE on the Welcome Screen!

Select Reset Password from the Utilities menu


In the menu bar at the top of the screen, select Utilities -> Reset Password…

Reset Home Directory Permissions & ACLs


Frirst, choose the user you want to reset. In most cases, this will be yourself. In the bottom section of the Reset Password utility, press Reset. There is no need to enter anything in the new password fields.

Once this step is complete, Quit the Reset Password utility, quit the Installer, and reboot your machine. Remember to eject the Install DVD so as to not boot your machine from the DVD again!


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