As of Monday morning, running the nodemon and npm run dev commands for a project I'm working on failed, and I traced it to some error with NPM itself.

macbookpro@MacBookPro:/usr/local/lib$ npm -v
throw err;
Error: Cannot find module '../lib/utils/unsupported.js'
Require stack:
- /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js
at Function.Module._resolveFilename (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:980:15)
at Function.Module._load (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:862:27)
at Module.require (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:1040:19)
at require (internal/modules/cjs/helpers.js:72:18)
at /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js:19:21
at Object.<anonymous> (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js:153:3)
at Module._compile (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:1151:30)
at Object.Module._extensions..js (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:1171:10)
at Module.load (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:1000:32)
at Function.Module._load (internal/modules/cjs/loader.js:899:14) {
requireStack: [ '/usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js' ]
macbookpro@MacBookPro:/usr/local/lib$ node -v
macbookpro@MacBookPro:/usr/local/lib$ ls -al node_modules/npm/bin/
total 56
drwxr-xr-x 9 macbookpro staff 288B 24 Feb 09:03 ./
drwxr-xr-x 25 root wheel 800B 7 Aug 2019 ../
drwxr-xr-x 4 macbookpro staff 128B 24 Feb 09:03 node-gyp-bin/
-rwxr-xr-x 1 macbookpro staff 893B 24 Feb 09:03 npm*
-rwxr-xr-x 1 macbookpro staff 4.5K 24 Feb 09:03 npm-cli.js*
-rw-r--r-- 1 macbookpro staff 483B 24 Feb 09:03 npm.cmd
-rw-r--r-- 1 macbookpro staff 887B 24 Feb 09:03 npx
-rwxr-xr-x 1 macbookpro staff 177B 24 Feb 09:03 npx-cli.js*
-rw-r--r-- 1 macbookpro staff 539B 24 Feb 09:03 npx.cmd

So while Node itself was running, NPM wasn't, in spite of the fact that its file was present.

In development I use nodemon and npm run dev in two Terminal tabs — both were running Sunday night, before stopping them and then sleeping the Mac.

I was wondering if a permission had been altered.

I tried Homebrew, which installed Node but not NPM, so I had to remove that.

I tried the official Node installer for Mac, but it's an old version that caused problems, so I had to remove that.

I went down the nuclear path, and removed Node wherever it could be found:

brew uninstall node;
which node;
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/bin/node;
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/
brew doctor;
brew cleanup --prune-prefix

I then tried the official instruction to install Node via the command line:

curl "https://nodejs.org/dist/latest/node-${VERSION:-$(wget -qO- https://nodejs.org/dist/latest/ | sed -nE 's|.*>node-(.*)\.pkg</a>.*|\1|p')}.pkg" > "$HOME/Downloads/node-latest.pkg" && sudo installer -store -pkg "$HOME/Downloads/node-latest.pkg" -target "/"

… which failed:

-bash: wget: command not found

… and when I attempted to install wget:

brew install wget

… I got more errors:

Error: The brew link step did not complete successfully The formula built, but is not symlinked into /usr/local Could not symlink share/locale/cs/LC_MESSAGES/libidn2.mo /usr/local/share/locale/cs/LC_MESSAGES is not writable.

You can try again using: brew link libidn2

… and:

Error: The brew link step did not complete successfully The formula built, but is not symlinked into /usr/local Could not symlink share/locale/bg/LC_MESSAGES/wget.mo /usr/local/share/locale/bg/LC_MESSAGES is not writable.

You can try again using: brew link wget

I had similar problems with Homebrew before the weekend, and I think this is a continuation of that.

When I run brew doctor I get:

Unexpected header files:

… and there are hundreds of files associated with Node, in spite of having uninstalled it.

I've since found a few different approaches to fix the possible permissions issue:

sudo chown -Rwhoami:admin /usr/local/

… and:

sudo chown -R $(whoami) $(brew --prefix)/*

… but since I have no idea what the possible consequences of running either of these would be, some expert advice would be much welcome!

  • Going nuclear requires a good backup: turn the clock back from 5 past 12 to 100 seconds before midnight by restoring your Sunday evening backup. IMHO your /usr/local/ folder is FUBAR.
    – klanomath
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 13:34
  • Hi @klanomath, I ran Time Machine on Sunday — I'm assuming it's possible to restore hidden folders? Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 13:42
  • Check MichelleM's answer first...
    – klanomath
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


I just solved this same error. What worked for me was:

brew install node
sudo chmod 776 /usr/local/lib
brew link --overwrite node
sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/lib

When I ran npm -v I got the same error:

  throw err;

To solve it I ran brew reinstall node and everything is running as expected now.

  • Hi Michelle, an thanks for the suggestion! The concern I have is changing the permissions on those folders — any thoughts on that? Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 13:43
  • 1
    I'd check your current permissions on the folder by running stat -f %A /usr/local/lib and then make sure to change it back to that after running brew link --overwrite node like I did in my answer :) Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 13:49
  • When I ranbrew link --overwrite node I got: Linking /usr/local/Cellar/node/13.8.0... Error: Could not symlink include/node/common.gypi /usr/local/include/node is not writable. Would I need to change permissions there, also? Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 13:55
  • Yes I was getting that error as well. I ran rm '/usr/local/include/node/config.gypi' then followed the steps in my answer. Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 14:01
  • Also, I'm not sure which version of node you're running so you may want to check out this to make sure you get up and running on the same version you had previously. Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 14:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .