After a migration, I'm having great difficulty working with or even accessing many of the .NEF (Raw Nikon photo files) within a larger Adobe Lightroom folder on one of my external hard drives. The photos of some folders load fine within Lightroom, allow exporting, but don't let me apply certain effects (citing permissions).

Other folders are entirely off-limits – I can't even preview said files. Lightroom claims it cannot find the file, even though the folder location is accurate.

I tried running Repair Disk in Disk Utilities several times, both running normal MacOS and its recovery mode. This actually caused issues at one point, causing the drive to no longer mount, but another repair fixed this, thankfully.

I can't find any coherent or recent answer to this dilemma... can some generous soul out there help me out?

Thank you in advance.

1 Answer 1


I can think of two reasons, perhaps…

  1. Lightroom needs to be added to the permissions list in System settings > Privacy & Security > Full Disk Access

  2. The user's underlying number is not the same between old account & new. Default admin user is 501, subsequent users are allocated 502, 503, etc. The Mac doesn't really know the user is 'Michael' it just knows what number it is.
    Quick fix is to just disable ownership on external volumes. Select the drive itself [from the desktop assuming it shows there] & Get Info Cmd ⌘ i

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Unlock with your admin password, then check Ignore ownership…

Alternatively, in the box above, click the + add yourself to the list if you're not already there, then propagate the permissions through the entire drive with the Gear menu.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for this. Step one fixed a more recent folder, and the second step fixed all the older photographs that weren't even loading in Lightroom any longer. Simple fix, but I guess you have to learn somewhere... many thanks my friend! Commented Jun 18, 2023 at 19:03

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