So I had an unexpected shock in the form of a permissions error in Mac OS X, and I felt it highly necessary to share it with anyone and everyone. Also, in case I forget what to do if it happens again...lest that eventuates.

In any case, we recently bought and set up a new WiFi N router in our house to replace the ageing 2007 Wireless G router that we used since 2011. The speeds on the thing far outpace that of any equivalent copy method especially given the convenience.

So, it got me playing around with Windows and Mac OS X networking, which was a great deal easier for some unknown reason. It is much simpler now to interplay between them assuming several settings are in place in order to allow sharing to occur (this is a standard feature in Windows 7 and onwards).

For some reason, I had also shared my Mac OS X root drive, which I didn't appreciate as it meant that anyone with access to the network could view files on the root drive (and hence EVERYTHING on the drive) which makes me a tad uncomfortable security-wise. Regardless of who it is, I don't want people to access my stuff without my permission, a notion I feel warranted.

So I clicked the "Get Info" button on the Mac OS X drive and had a look at the sharing and permissions section. Unfortunately, I had the dubious oversight of failing to see that "Mitchell Busby", the user, was not in the list of users that were allowed to view it, and only were three tiers:

  • System
  • Wheel
  • Everyone

Everyone was set to Read-only, and I changed this to "No one".

Don't click this!

Immediately my PC began to come to a halt and I was unable to edit system preferences, nor could I view many files from the root drive OR my documents. Naturally, this caused a large amount of worry for me and I was afraid to restart my PC. Despite my reluctance, several sites seemed to think m drive was hosed until I found someone offering a solution: enter in Single-User Mode. To do this in Chameleon, one has to add the '-s' flag at boot-time, and it will open a Terminal-like prompt. On a regular Mac, one must hold down the 'S' key at boot-time to enter the same mode. Once in this setting, all is needed to do is the instructions set in the following website:

To paraphrase, all one needs to do is type the following:

mount -uw /

chmod 1755 /


These three commands simply reset all permissions to their default settings, allowing the admin user to access everything like normal again. This was a great relief to me, and now I can get on with what I was doing before - relaxing after exams!