I broke my Mac Mini, trying set some permissions on some folders for web-development, but somehow ended up removing permissions from everything.

I managed to restore permissions, but have had a few issues since, namely the folder icons on the sidebar in Finder are not reflecting the icons they should be.

The desktop also seems slow to refresh when saving a file to it. They don't appear until I do another action.

Is this something I can fix in Terminal or elsewhere to restore everything back to how it was? Will I have to resort to reinstalling Mavericks?

Alternatively, will restoring from my Time Machine have an impact on things like these folder icons.

Default favorites icons


folder permissions when running ls -le as per answer below

 drwxrwxrwx@ 16 username  staff    544  5 Nov 21:33 Github
 -rw-r--r--@  1 username  staff      0  4 Nov 02:01 Icon?
 drwxr-xr-x@ 72 username  staff   2448  4 Nov 01:55 Library
 drwx---r-x@ 20 username  staff    680  4 Nov 01:44 Movies
 drwx---rw-@  9 username  staff    306  4 Nov 01:54 Music
 drwx---rw-@  8 username  staff    272  4 Nov 01:45 Pictures


  • furthermore: I've created a new admin user, it also has the same issue. – Mat Benfield Nov 4 '13 at 21:12
  • this kept cropping up now and again for some reason. latest update to OSX fixed it. – Mat Benfield Apr 7 '14 at 10:17
  • I still think this bug is bizarre. Took me three months on and off to fix it on my mac. – Danger14 May 23 '14 at 16:47

How did you restore permissions? Manually, or did you use the "Repair" feature in Disk Utilities?

Restoring from a Time Machine backup from before things went bad should work.

One thing you might try before restoring is to delete the Finder preferences. ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist then relaunch the Finder (Hold Option while selecting the Finder icon in the dock). The preference file will be regenerated with the system defaults.

  • I used the repair feature. this might be an issue, I don't have the com.apple.finder.plist file. – Mat Benfield Nov 4 '13 at 20:20
  • If you don't have a com.apple.finder.plist preference file, then things are certainly "not good" what did you do to your permissions? – sdmeyers Nov 4 '13 at 20:24
  • basically it looks like i removed my rights to access every folder/file under Home downwards. – Mat Benfield Nov 4 '13 at 20:26
  • being and idiot, found the file. deleted it. restarted finder. no change. – Mat Benfield Nov 4 '13 at 20:43
  • From the terminal could you let me know what you get when you type ls -le This should reveal ACLs which could be messed up or missing. One final trick, try dragging one of the folders directly to the sidebar, see what that does. – sdmeyers Nov 4 '13 at 21:36

You probably restored your preferences (not permissions) by deleting com.apple.finder.plist, right? You'll also want to take out one more file, which handles the sidebar, then reboot:

rm -rf ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist

It probably wouldn't hurt to Verify Permissions via Disk Utility either (since you mentioned them).

  • 1
    tried this, but made difference. thanks though – Mat Benfield Nov 11 '13 at 20:31

I had the same problem as you and it was because I had ACL's on my files in /home. If you have that problem (0: group:everyone deny write)

More info at http://backdrift.org/fixing-mac-osx-file-permissions-and-acls-from-the-command-line

If permissions is not your issue, I've discovered an alternate solution which I posted here. Is it possible to change the Finder sidebar icons


reinstalled mavericks over the top and has cleared everything up.

having deleted the plist files in the other answers beforehand.


  • actually after later restarts and updates, problem has reappeared. – Mat Benfield Nov 11 '13 at 18:57
  • I had the same problem as you and it was because I had ACL's on my files in /home. If you have that problem (0: group:everyone deny write) go backdrift.org/…. – Danger14 Dec 18 '13 at 20:25
  • you should put this as an answer @danger14 so i can upvote it – Mat Benfield Mar 13 '14 at 8:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .