I'm trying to move the file of a virtual machine from one users account to the other. So basically I want to move /Users/joe/Win7.vm to /Users/jane/Win7.vm but I can't figure out how to do it through Finder because I can't get to the root directory (/). I tried moving it using the mv command in Terminal and it said permission denied. Is tried sudo mv but it just said "sorry". I also tried changing its permission (chmod) but it wouldn't let me (and when I tried sudo chmod, it literally said "sorry").

I'm logged in as administrator.

2 Answers 2


Its a permissions issue. To resolve simply, first copy the file to /Users/Shared/, then copy again from there, then try to troubleshoot your permissions issues afterwards. You are logged in as administrator, yet you still are lacking the authority to escalate to root or change permissions, and that is odd. Even as admin, you would still need root access to move a file belonging to one user to another users' account. In Terminal, try sudo bash and enter your password when prompted. To use mv command, the syntax is mv /path/to/origin/file /path/to/destination/directory/

Also, changing permissions with chmod doesn't change ownership. You use chown for that.

  • 1
    Is it because the vm file is actually a directory, not a file (or something like that)?
    – Celeritas
    May 29, 2014 at 23:59
  • Good point; while it shouldn't effect mv or Finder, it does affect chmod. Should try sudo chmod -R 775 folder and chown -R user:group folder -- the -R makes the command act recursively to all enclosed files and folders.
    – chillin
    May 30, 2014 at 0:02
  • 1
    Got it working. I forgot vmware files are more like folders. I used sudo chmod -R 775 folder and then was able to move it. I wasn't able to access it still and I found that I needed chmod -R 777 to recursively change the permissions of all the files inside the vm file/folder.
    – Celeritas
    May 30, 2014 at 0:25

A much simpler option exists via /Users/[a username]/Public/Drop\ Box.

Simply drop the file(s) into this folder in the receiving user's homedir and you are good to go after logging in as said, receiving user.

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