One of the Users (called: The_Problematic_User) of a Mavericks installed MacBook Pro is no longer owner of the Home folder and content. Here's what we've tried to no avail:

  • restart computer and log in recovery mode (Command-r) and;
    • repair disk permissions,
    • repair disk,
    • with resetpassword (command line),
    • reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLs,
    • reset password,
  • restart computer and log in single user mode (Command-s which is root access) and;
    • Strip ACLs on all account items with: chmod -RN /Users/username
    • response: chmod: Failed to clear ACL on file ...
    • Try to regain ownership of files and folders with: chown -R username:staff /Users/username
    • response: chown: username: illegal user name (where username was the user name of the user, obviously)
    • Try to assign ownership of files to root with: chown -R root:staff /Users/username
    • response: chown: /Users/username/*: Read-only file system (where * represents all the files and folders in the directory)

Another thing: when I ls -l /Users here is what I get:

  • drwxrwxrwt 6 root wheel 204 Feb 24 10:53 Shared
  • drwxr-xr-x+ 12 501 staff 408 Mar 21 17:16 A_user (with admin privileges)
  • drwxr-xr-x@ 47 502 staff 1598 Mar 15 12:03 The_Problematic_User
  • drwxr-xr-x+ 24 505 staff 816 Jan 10 15:11 Another_user

What is the @ doing instead of the + in the permissions of The_Problematic_User?

For info: The_Problematic_User does NOT have admin privileges

  • In single-user mode, you need to use mount -uw / to get write access to the volume, and also refer to users by ID number since names aren't available. Check the user ID number with id "The_Problematic_User". Also, use ls -leO@ /Users to get a more complete view of the access controls and xattrs attached to the home folder. Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


An erroneous extended attribute has been applied to this directory somehow, but it can only be removed using the xattr Terminal command. You should take a look at a brief explanation here. A more detailed question and answer can be found at this StackOverflow page.

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