This is a really weird one. Anytime I try to update any OSX items via System Update I get a bizarre permissions error.

The screenshots tell the story...

Here is my attempt to run the update:

Here is my console log when I run the update:

Lastly here are my permissions on the folder that is being denied from the console log:

The background info about this system is that it is a work computer that was originally set up for another user. He was set up as the admin, then I was given this machine. His account was deleted and mine was given admin privileges.

Anyone seen anything like this?

  • 1
    It's preferable (besides using the official image uploader rather than ephemeral links to Dropbox) to include text as text rather than screenshots of text.
    – grg
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:15
  • sorry @grgarside. i tried to use inline images, but my reputation is too low
    – brian10
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:19
  • The folder is not owned by you. What happens if you remove it (sudo rm -rf ...) and try again?
    – nohillside
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:26
  • thanks @patrix - i do own that folder (tollb1 is my user account name). after deleting that folder software update now immediately fails
    – brian10
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:31
  • @patrix here is what my console looks like when i try to update now link
    – brian10
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


I've seen errors like this after an Apply to enclosed items was done to the Macintosh HD.

/var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxfn_n00000s0000068 shouldn't be owned by your user account, but by _softwareupdate (UID=200). I see errors about …n00000sb400002s (_spotlight=89) and …n00000sm00006d (_locationd=205) as well, which isn't a good sign.

You could just reset /var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxfn_n00000s0000068 permissions to 200:200 with a chown -R (sudo chown -R 200:200 /var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxvn_n00000s0000068). /var/folders itself should be owned by root.

Since you've removed it, you could recreate (might have to recreate the 0,T and C subfolders too…) it and set its ownership as above. You could do that now, and it might let software updates download, maybe even install. It also might not.

You could remove /var/folders, but I've seen a system that didn't like that. If the permissions on it are mangled and you'd like to try without it, I recommend renaming it in single user mode first.

  • thanks for the answer. i've manually installed my updates by tracking them down on apple's site. i'll def give this a try next time though. seems like you might have hit the nail on the head.
    – brian10
    Jun 23, 2015 at 17:42
  • sudo chown -R 200:200 /var/folders/zz just fixed my issue. THANKS!
    – brian10
    Jun 30, 2015 at 20:13
  • well, if that was the exact command, the softwareupdate service account now owns all the service account folders, and other things will (continue?) have problems. only /var/folders/zz/zyxvpxvq6csfxfn_n00000s0000068 should belong to _softwareupdate. Jul 2, 2015 at 2:11
  • oh, good to know. i haven't noticed any problems, but thanks for the heads up.
    – brian10
    Jul 3, 2015 at 2:54

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