I backed up the contents of an old Macbook which was probably running 10.5.8 by copying ~/Pictures and ~/Documents to a network drive, right before the laptop died with the click-of-death, which probably indicates a failure of the hard-drive.

Fortunately all I care about on the old machine were the documents and pictures, but sadly, when I try and view the contents of those back-up folders in finder I get a pop-up window that says:

The folder "Pictures" can't be opened because you don't have permission to see it's contents.

I can open the directories in the terminal app and even dump the contents of the files to the console, so I don't think it's a unix permissions issue. And none of my googling has found a fix to my problem. Specifically, I get these errors when I try the various proposed solutions I've found so far:

>sudo chmod -N Pictures
chmod: Failed to clear ACL on file Pictures: Operation not supported
>sudo chown jdthorpe Pictures
chown: Pictures: Operation not permitted

And if I highlight the file in Finder, click cmd-I to view the file info and try and modify the Sharing and Permissions, I get a error stating:

The operation cant be completed because you don't have the necessary permission.

Finally, DiskUtil won't reach the back-up folders since they're on a network drive.

In case it's useful, calling ls -lash yields this entry:

0 drwxrw-r--@ 1 jdthorpe  staff   264B Apr 16  2011 Pictures

Any help is greatly appreciated!


The network drive in question is a Western Digital My Book Live. This share that the data were stored on was set to serve media and the directories I'm unable to access contained media files. Disabling serve media did not fix this issue, but I can't help noticing that I do have access to backups of a different OSX machine stored on the on the same WD drive that were placed in a share that did not have serve media enabled. The mystery continues...

1 Answer 1


As it turns out, trying to set the permissions via the command line does not work on NAS drives, as pointed out in the response to this question. The mystery user ("daapd") that has ownership of the Pictures on the WD My Book LIve (MBL) is the name of the streaming service that streams the pictures, video, and music on some shares of the MBL -- and this "user" appears to have exclusive read & write access to directories containing music, pictures and video on shares that are set to allow streaming.

I came across a solution stating "Just copy the contents to a windows computer" which works because the extended unix permissions do not prevent windows machines from accessing the data.


Since the extended *nix permissions prevent any user not named "daapd" to access those files, I created a user on my Mac named "daapd" and voilà, I could accsss the Pictures folder. I then created a new share on my MBL with streaming disabled, and I copied the contents from the old share to the new share and I now have access to my data.

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