Advice on Permissions - switching ownership

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
Hi All!

Situation: A designer's 10.2.8 G4 machine became unable to launch most applications (unexpected quits). (Side note: The user had used NDD 8.0.2 to attempt repair with no success.)

Anyway, after a Disk1st & RepPerm gave no improvement, I logged in as a second, fresh admin user and the apps loaded fine, so I thought the quickest way to get the designer back up was just to transfer the documents over to the fresh user account.

For the most part that worked ( to Lotus Notes), although I would have liked to have been able to redefine permissions across the board to ownership by the new user.

Of course "TIL: When changing Ownership & Permissions in the Info window, clicking "Apply to enclosed items" copies only permissions. It does not affect the owner or group setting"

So I had to COPY docs to the new user home directory. Ugh.

I also hand set a few folders that were not willing to share with other users (IE Word's template folder), and it's working fine (thus far after several days), but I'm nervous to leave it like this.

I am not yet comfortable with terminal, so although I'd like to try to sweep across the whole computer changing ownership of all directories... I'd RATHER try this at home folks, first. [Except I have to install Jaguar on a drive to make it an Apples to Apples test (no pun intended) as both my machines are Panther.] So I thought I'd ask for your esteemed advise.

TIL 107031 advises:

"Use Terminal commands like sudo chown -R and sudo chgrp -R to make such changes."

That's a wee bit loose for me (like, thanks for the parachute, but could you please tell me where the rip cord is before I jump?)

So what is the easiest/safest way to set this new user account as the "primary". I'd like to delete the old main account (and would this have helped to redefine the main owner?). No prob if the shortname remains, it's just the user's full name as opposed to first.

Separately, we might discuss how I could have just DUMPED the Corrupt User Library to undo this mystery corruption, which may in hindsight have been a quicker solution, but I didn't want to experiment on a live workstation. I did try some quick passes to try to figure out what element in Lib. may have been the culprit, but no success there.


  • Reply 1 of 2
    dobbydobby Posts: 796member
    Its really not that difficult.

    Create new user.

    Copy data from olduser to newuser

    Open Terminal (Apps-Utils)

    $ cd /Users/newuser

    $ sudo chown -R newuser *

    $ exit

    This should be it.

    From the Terminal prompt you can also man sodu and man chown to find out more info on those commands. man = manual pages.

  • Reply 2 of 2
    Hmmmm, I did read the book "The Unix Philosophy" (and loved it), but it's an odd OS that requires a manual to find the manual!

    I notice your code targets the User directory.

    Copying from Old to New User (via Shared folder) in itself had reassigned ownership.

    In retrospect, I would have loved to have chowned down (bad pun) on the OldUser documents folder first, and then just MOVED it, saving all that disk space jockying and time copying!

    I'd like to use chown on the Applications directory, as the subfolders there are owned by OldUser. (And then I can reset the main Application ? level back to system). Really the problem is the Application installations that don't set up proper privs for multiple users (like Office and it's Template folder).

    Thanks! I shall add this to my arsenal of unix commands that have yet to exeed the limits of one note field on my palm!
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