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When I execute 'ls -al~', I see + marks, and it prevents me from moving/deleting files.

drwxr-xr-x+   5 prosseek  admin     170 Oct  5 03:43 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x+  17 prosseek  admin     578 Sep 25 22:20 Documents

What is this, and how do I get this mark on every file and directory in my home directory?

How can I remove this? Is there any easy way to remove this on every file in my home directory?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The + indicates the file has an Access Control List (ACL) with additional permissions. Each rule in an ACL is called an Access Control Entry (ACE).

The command ls -ale will show the ACEs for each file/folder that has an ACL

The default folders OS X creates when it makes a new home folder — Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Library, Movies, Music, Pictures, and Public — will have the ACE

0: group:everyone deny delete

which means no users are allowed to delete the folder, not even the owner of the folder. This prevents people from accidentally deleting these folders, which OS X expects to exist.

To remove all the ACLs from the default home folders, without affecting ACLs of their contents, use

chmod -N ~/*

To remove an ACL from a folder and everything inside of it, use

chmod -R -N /path/to/folder

Once the ACL has been removed, you can now delete those folder as expected, However, it's generally advisable to not remove the default folders that OS X creates in a user's home folder. The OS and many apps expect those folders to be there. In fact, OS X may simply recreate some of them the next time you log in.

An alternative is to hide them from the Finder with

chflags hidden /path/to/folder

To unhide, change hidden to nohidden. Hidden folders will still show up in Terminal, though.

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The plus means that there are extra permissions set on the file (using ACLs) that are more nuanced than can be expressed in the usual Unix rwxrwxrwx format.

These permissions can be edited in the Finder's Get Info window for the file.

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A + at the end means the folder has extended security information (such as an access control list). Try restoring permissions.

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