I just dropped a new SSD into where the optical drive was on my macbook pro.

I did a clean install of 10.9, and i left the old drive as is without running migration assistance.

My Old HD is now mounted and visible on my desktop.

When i try and goto /Volumes/OldDrive/Users/Foo or /Volumes/OldDrive/Users/Bar i now get a permission denied error.

How do i grant myself super user powers to navigate through my old files in Finder?


One option is:

  • select the folder
  • press Command-i,
  • expand Sharing & Permissions
  • click the lock to authenticate
  • then click the plus button
  • add your active user account to the list
  • Optional: then click the gear menu and choose "apply to enclosed items". (this action is recursive and could take a while as it touches every file...)

Since the user IDs (which it uses to track file ownership) don't appear to match up between the old & new systems, it might be simplest to turn off file ownership on the old disk. Select the old volume in Finder (not something in it, it must be the volume), choose File > Get Info (or press Command-I), expand the "Sharing & Permissions" section at the bottom of the Info window, click the padlock and authenticate as an admin, then select the "Ignore ownership on this volume" checkbox.


First you should know that the Apple factory hardware in many MacBookPro's do not reliably support a 6G (6Gb/s) Solid State Drive or Hard Disk Drive in the optical bay, so if you're using a new hard disk you will encounter disk corruption and many strange problems.

Since you did a clean install the new user UUID for your account no longer matches what was there before. All the data on your old disk is protected using these old user UUIDs. You should have performed a Migration to create your "new" user account(s) and move over any files. You should be able to still do this from a Admin user account and the Migration Assistant application in the Application > Utilities folder.

If you're an admin user you should be able to Get Info on the drive and Ignore Ownership on it. (Click the lock if required.) This will allow you to access the files but now you won't have any permission checks to protect who and what processes can access the drive. But it will allow you to copy them off.

If you use Get Info's Sharing & Permission's you can add your new user with permissions to access the file(s) but this retains the old owner unless you also select the newly added user and use the 'gear' pulldown to "Make the owner". You'll also probably want to "Apply to enclosed items".

It may just be best to disable owners on the volume, copy the files off, reformat the drive and add back your files as the new user. This will get rid of a lot of "gremlins" that can persist in these situations.

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