For reasons (Time Machine sparsebundle broke itself irrevocably when I actually needed to restore...) I need to manually copy the contents of ~/Library from a manual backup, to an existing user directory on Monterey. I'm copying everything except Application Support.

When I do this using Copy Exactly in Finder on Ventura...

  • ...the owner of the items seems correct (uid 501)
  • ...Finder will show the "denied" symbol over the folders (my account name and uid are identical in Ventura and Mojave).
  • ...logging in with the user in Mojave shows dozens of "need to repair your Library" password prompts, and all account specifics have been reset (settings, etc.) These "repairs" did nothing from my perspective.

Obviously permissions aren't correct despite trying to preserve everything as much as possible.

The initial backup was copied like this:

Source (APFS) → "Exactly" to HFS+ → cp -a to Btrfs (in Ubuntu 23.04)

The reverse process is used when restoring. Did I lose ACLs in that process, or what could the problem be? Can it be fixed?

As mentioned, I would've restored from Time Machine if it hadn't failed the ultimate test of reliability by destroying its own file system during a restore and then fsck putting the final nail in the coffin by saying it can't be repaired.

  • Several of the sub-folders, such as Preferences, Fonts, have deny delete ACLs.
    – benwiggy
    Sep 10, 2023 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


I don't know what I was looking at when checking the owner and group of the files, because apparently I did look, according to the question.

Anyway, it turns out that my manual cp -a from HFS+ to Btrfs helpfully resulted in every object receiving 1000:1000 as owner:group (instead of the 501:20 which is the norm when copying them exactly from macOS).

As a file system that supports Unix access rights I did not expect HFS on Linux to make up its own numbers, neither selectively nor by masking everything. I don't know the exact reason why, but it happened.

chown -Rn 501:20 <dir> before copying into ~/Library seems to have been enough.

Who knows what security holes this has left me with, but I don't care; I finally restored this machine, after weeks of frustration.

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