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I have a 21" iMac late 2010 running OS X 10.11.6 & a 13" MB-Pro late 2011 running the same. In /System/Libary/Core Services in the MBP, I have the following contextual menu:

Right-click on Applications ƒ

Whereas on the iMac, I have this one:

Right-click on Applications ƒ

Crucially, the latter one lacks "Make Alias" which I want to do for the Applications folder (& have already done so on the MBPro). Both the Applications folder and the enclosing folder "Core Services" have exactly the same permissions and ownerships on both machines. Both users on both Macs are non-admin users.

Can anyone tell me why these contextual menus are different and how to get the iMac one as per the (larger) MBPro?

  • Check the File menu in the menu bar, I assume its “Make Alias” option is disabled on one Mac but not on the other? The only explanation I can think of is that this is due to differing permissions or due to differing enablement of the new “System Integrity Protection” feature of El Capitan. The “Make Alias” option puts the alias in the same folder as the aliased item, and therefore you need to be able to write in that folder to select the option. An alternative way to create an alias, in a different folder, is to drag the item while holding down the Option (⌥) and Command (⌘) keys. – Rinzwind Sep 28 '16 at 7:25
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    @Rinzwind You are correct. You should post that as an answer. – tubedogg Sep 28 '16 at 21:31
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The “Make Alias” option doesn’t appear in the contextual menu if it’s not enabled in the menu bar (the option is in the File menu). You should find that the option is enabled on one Mac, but not on the other. The only explanation I can think of is that this is due to differing permissions or due to differing enablement of the new “System Integrity Protection” feature of El Capitan (if the latter is enabled, it prevents everyone, including the “root” user, from writing in the “System” folder). The “Make Alias” option puts the alias in the same folder as the aliased item, and therefore you need to be able to write in that folder to select the option.

An alternative way to create an alias, in a different folder, is to drag the item while holding down the Option (⌥) and Command (⌘) keys.

There’s an Apple support article titled “OS X El Capitan: Create and use aliases” you may want to check out.

  • Yep - SIP was it. Obvious really when you consider that the folders concerned are "System" folders. And after the fact testing revealed no difference in the Finder contextual menus available in non-System folders between the machines. Thanks. – GAM Sep 29 '16 at 0:48

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