I recently formatted my Mac Pro and I copied all the files to external drive, I didn’t use TM. After creating a new account on a new OS I can’t open the files, because the old user can’t be located. I can’t copy the files to the new account. I need to access my logic files but I can’t find a solution. I tried making a new TM and editing the contents and replacing it with my old files, but editing the TM is prohibited. Is there a way I can restore a Mac using a copied drive or a possibility that I can custom make a TM drive with the files. Or If there is a solution where I use a windows machine to open the folders. I need to get to these files

  • If these were your files to begin with then you should be able to access them, unless you are using a different User Name now then when you backed them up. Have you tried taking ownership of them? Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 23:22

2 Answers 2


Even if you have the same username on a different instance of macOS (it could be the same computer), the OS doesn't see the two as being the same.

What you need to do is take ownership of the files.

Using Finder

You can do this in finder by using "Get Info" when selecting a file or folder. In the example below, I'm selecting an entire folder to take ownership of.

  • Press ⌘ CommandI for "Get info"
  • Unlock the "Sharing and Permissions" pane
  • Add your name by clicking the plus (+) symbol
  • Then select "Make username (Me)" the owner

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Apple has an excellent support document detailing these steps.

Using Terminal

It's actually much easier (IMO) to do this via Terminal Just issue the following command (you'll need to enter your password at the prompt)

$ sudo chown -R <YourUserName> /path/to/file  


  • -R = recursively; it will take ownership of it and it's sub-folders (if any)
  • <YourUserName> is your login name. If you're not sure issue the command whoami at the prompt
  • /path/to/file is the full path of the file or directory you want to take ownership of
  • Doesn't see the two as being the same unless the UID is the same. That's what matters, not the text representing the user name. Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 16:19
  • incorrect, @MarcWilson . It’s the UUID of the user, not username or user ID (UID).
    – Allan
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 18:09
  • Typo on my part. You are of course correct. Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 20:32
  • It only worked for me after I did "Apply to enclosed items".
    – Jimmy He
    Commented Jun 2 at 4:51

You can "ignore ownership" on an external drive:

  1. Select the external drive
  2. Do "Get Info" (right click and choose it, or command-I)
  3. At the bottom of the info window, click the lock, and enter your password
  4. Check the "Ignore ownership on this volume" box

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