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I noticed that system files and folders cannot be tagged using the UI in Finder and I am wondering whether there is a workaround – Terminal based or otherwise.

There are a number of system files I'd like easy access to and tags would serve that purposes.

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I would suggest doing what @Lauri Ranta proposes : doing this with xattr

Using xattr -wx com.apple.FinderInfo "$(xattr -px com.apple.FinderInfo 'file1')" "file2" you can copy the tag from file 1 to file 2. Since /System/ is not writable for users, you just going to need to use sudo.

Edit: To see the tagged files, you'll need a Finder with root access. You can get it as using :

killall Finder &&udo /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder

/!\ But Warning. A Finder with Root access is very dangerous and you could easily destroy your system.

Edit2: With the Root Finder you can directly change the tag without using the command line. But Again, root Finder is baaaad.

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  • Okay … tagging works, technically. Any idea how I can get the file to show up in the "tagged as" selection now? Nov 2 '13 at 23:52
  • Probably because you're not the owner of this file. Run a Finder with root access (which is baaaaaad). Nov 3 '13 at 0:00
  • I concur, not a good idea. Even though you technically provided a working solution I'll leave this question unanswered for a little while longer in the hopes of getting a workaround for the related issue that doesn't involve root and/or messing with the files in question more than strictly appropriate. Nov 3 '13 at 0:06

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