I'm attempting to recover data from an external drive used as a Time Machine backup for a now deceased user. The Mac that it was attached to is now long gone. My first attempt lets me generally read the disk, but I'm locked out of the individual user documents folders. This is a business device and I do have administrator passwords, but I'm uncertain on the correct approach to gain access to those folders.

Is there a way to successfully gain access to this data and how do I do it?

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    See if you can right click on folder, click on Get Info under Sharing & Permissions get yourself read access. – Nimesh Neema Aug 16 '18 at 16:57
  • Does not work. It accepts my admin password when I hit the padlock there. Any changes I make to the permissions just vanish as I'm making them. If I ignore that and try to access anyways I still get the permission error. – Brian Knoblauch Aug 16 '18 at 18:53
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    Can you try accessing it via Terminal, using sudo wherever required. – Nimesh Neema Aug 16 '18 at 18:54
  • Oddly, Terminal, even without sudo, is letting me access a large number of files that the Finder won't let me... – Brian Knoblauch Aug 16 '18 at 19:00
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    If you can read the files, I’d suggest copying them over to your home directory and changing ownership to yourself. – Nimesh Neema Aug 16 '18 at 19:01

Start by clicking on the folder, select Get Info under Sharing & Permissions and grant yourself read permission.

Try to access the folder via Terminal. Use sudo if required.

If you can read the files this way, copy them over to your home directory and change the ownership to yourself using chown command.

You should be able to gain access to the files this way.

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