I changed permissions on a folder to allow another user of that same computer, so they could access it while logged in. I wanted to then move that folder (formerly in Pictures folder) to the Shared folder. Now when I attempt to move the folder, it will only copy it. I've tried resetting the sharing/permissions to what they originally were using the info panel, Sharing & Permissions, but it doesn't change the the fact that every time I try and move them, the computer just duplicates them in a new location.

Is there a way to fix this or to reset permissions (since I'm assuming that's what the issue is) to a default state for that user? I'm running Mavericks.

2 Answers 2


Do you have write permission to the parent folder of the folder? If you don't, you can force moving the folder by holding command while dragging it.

You can see if you have write permission to a folder by running ls -led /path/to/folder:

$ ls -led Desktop/untitled\ folder/
drwxr-xr-x+ 2 lauri  staff  68 Nov 21 08:46 Desktop/untitled folder/
 0: user:test allow list,add_file,search,add_subdirectory,delete_child,readattr,writeattr,readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity
  • If the output includes lines for an ACL like above, try removing the ACL with sudo chmod -N /path/to/folder.
  • If the owner in the third column of the first line is not you, try running sudo chmod $USER /path/to/folder.
  • If the owner is you but you don't have write permission, or the first column looks like dr-xr-xr-x+ instead of drwxr-xr-x+, try running sudo chmod +w /path/to/folder.
  • Missing from this answer: a folder may not be moved if it contains an item that is locked. You can find locked items with the command find /path/to/folder -flags uchg and you can unlock en masse with chflags -R nouchg /path/to/folder. Jan 9, 2016 at 5:01

If you only have read access to a file/folder, you can only copy instead of move. Use Get Info to apply read/write to the folder and contents, then attempt to copy the folder again.

If you wish to reset the permissions on a user's home folder as you mentioned, you can use the ACL tool on the Recovery HD:

  1. Boot into the Recovery HD using ⌘R.
  2. Run resetpassword in Terminal (available from Utilities → Terminal).
  3. Select the account you wish to reset the permissions for from the drop-down list.
  4. Click the Reset button for Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs.

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