Mac OS X v10.5 or 10.6: Renaming or saving after using "Apply to enclosed items" on a home folder

Using the "Apply to enclosed items" feature of the Get Info window in the Finder can cause unexpected results if you use it on your home folder.

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You can use the "Apply to enclosed items" feature to change permissions on items inside folders you've created. You should avoid using this feature on folders included with OS X, like your home folder. Changing permissions on your home folder can cause the following issues to happen in OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard:

  • When moving items within your Home (such as from your desktop to your Documents folder), a prompt for an administrator's user name and password may appear.
  • You may be unable to rename files or folders. When renaming an item you see the message, "You do not have sufficient access privileges to rename the item (file or folder name)."
  • Alert messages may appear when attempting to save files like, "(filename) could not be removed because you do not have appropriate access privileges. You do not have appropriate access privileges to save file (name) in folder (name)."

If you've changed the permissions on your home folder in OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard, you can use the following steps to correct the issue. If you're experiencing similar symptoms in OS X Lion, see this article instead. 

  1. Log in as the affected user account.
  2. Open Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities).
  3. Type this command followed by Return:

    sudo chmod -RN ~

    Note: The character after "-RN" is a tilde (~). If the affected user has no account password, using 
    will not work
  4. Enter an administrator name when prompted.
  5. Next restart the computer using your Leopard or Snow Leopard installation DVD (insert the disc, restart, then hold the C key as the computer starts up).
  6. Choose Reset Password from the Utilities menu in the Installer.
  7. Select your startup drive in the window that appears.
  8. Select the affected user from the user account pop-up menu.
  9. Click the Reset button in the "Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs" section.
  10. Quit the Reset Password application.
  11. Quit the Installer.
  12. Start up from your normal OS X startup disk (not the installation DVD).

    Note: Using these steps removes any custom access rights set for items in the home folder of the user you selected.
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