Suddenly, my home directory is in the group messagebus instead of the usual staff.
(I blame texlive for this, but have no evidence.)

The problem is that both groups have the same ID:

$ dscl . -read /Groups/staff
AppleMetaNodeLocation: /Local/Default
GroupMembership: root
Password: *
PrimaryGroupID: 20
RealName: Staff
RecordName: staff BUILTIN\Users
RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Groups
SMBSID: S-1-5-32-545

$ dscl . -read /Groups/messagebus
AppleMetaNodeLocation: /Local/Default
GeneratedUID: CF898A47-EA83-4E18-AE17-C05E56FBC550
Password: *
PrimaryGroupID: 20
RealName: messagebus
RecordName: messagebus
RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Groups

What is the safe way to get rid of the messagebus group (or give it a different ID)?
“Safe” here meaning of course that I don't damage my staffgroup.

  • I just ran into the exact same problem. What's texlive though? I'm not sure I have it. I'm running OS X Mavericks.
    – Kal
    Dec 8, 2013 at 1:50
  • texlive is a program suite for editing TeX/LaTeX documents. If you're unsure, then you probably don't have it. And maybe I blamed the wrong piece of software then :-) Dec 8, 2013 at 11:13
  • In that case, I suspect the problem is caused by a recent (automatic) OS X update? Perhaps the Remote Desktop Client 3.7.1 (support.apple.com/kb/HT6045), as that seems to be the latest update applied to my machine before I noticed the problem.
    – Kal
    Dec 9, 2013 at 7:02
  • Possible, but then I'd expect more people to have the problem. It seems rather rare. Dec 9, 2013 at 10:25
  • This happened to me. I think most users just aren't that observant of their file groups.
    – James
    Mar 3, 2014 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


Use the find command (and save the output listing. This may take a while)

find / -group messagebus -print

to ensure that ownership for files can be corrected later with a chgrp command.

The following be used

dscl . -change /Groups/messagebus PrimaryGroupID 20 10000

  • How would finddifferentiate between staff and messafebus, doesn;t it use the gid to find a group?
    – mmmmmm
    Dec 3, 2013 at 23:30
  • The directory where the file resides as shown by find should help identify what it's group should be. For example, if there is a file in /Users/xxx it should belong to staff but if it is in /Applications then it can stay messagebus. A Time Capsule backup can also help, if available.
    – user63628
    Dec 4, 2013 at 14:05
  • but the data stored on the file is the gid ie 20 in both cases (or does HFS do somthing differnt to other Unix file systems)
    – mmmmmm
    Dec 4, 2013 at 14:22
  • Thanks, the dcsl command was exactly what I was looking for. After a restart, the groups show up correctly as staff. @Mark was right though; the find did show all files with gid 20, so this were basically all my home files. No way to distinguish between them and the files that should actually have been in the messagebus group. Dec 4, 2013 at 19:21

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