I ran repair permissions a few days ago, because other accounts on my computer couldn't open system preferences (this problem persists, but I don't care about it very much). What does bother me, however, is that it seems to have messed up numerous network permissions.


  • My home network is no longer recognized as a "preferred network." When I wake from sleep, my home network is in the list directing me to select a different network. When I direct the computer to join my network, it says "a connection timeout occurred" and then joins anyways. This does not happen on the campus wireless network.
  • I can no longer connect to my campus VPN. I get an error that the "shared secret" is not available. When I enter the shared secret and apply in network preferences, the shared secret is cleared.

I have already deleted and recreated my login keychain. And as repairing permissions got me into this place, I don't feel it is my way out.

  • I'm running 10.7.5, on a mid-2011 MacBook Pro. Nov 27, 2012 at 0:57
  • 3
    Hmm - permissions repair only changes the code and system files - not configuration files, so it's almost an impossibly slim chance that by restoring the "correct" permissions on directories and tools that your configuration files would now have problems. Have you instead looked at general disk corruption or another cause of the difficulties?
    – bmike
    Nov 27, 2012 at 1:38
  • I don't know how I would go about doing this. Nov 27, 2012 at 1:48

1 Answer 1


Since several files appear to be either missing or corrupt, now might be a good time to check that you have a good backup of your data and then see about booting to a Recovery HD or other bootable media and seeing if the disk catalog itself needs repair.

You might also have a technician look at the hard drive if there are lots of problems with the disk. Most can be fixed by wiping the drive and then reinstalling the OS and finally restoring your applications and files from a backup. Of course, corrupt files like you are seeing in the network preferences could get backed up in a poor state - so you might still need to find and clean things one by one, but hopefully this is the extent of the problems.

  • I have been considering upgrading to 10.8. What are the odds that a clean install would fix the problem? Nov 27, 2012 at 3:37
  • Highly likely. And if there is corruption, it will likely point out each and every spot. What version are you now?
    – bmike
    Nov 27, 2012 at 3:40
  • Good to know I'll try it out in a few days, and give you a +1 and a check if it works. I'm on Lion 10.7.5 Nov 27, 2012 at 3:43
  • Perfect. You can wipe the current Mac and restore from a Time Machine backup (or run migration assistant from a SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner or other exact image of the drive) as long as you are on 10.6.8 or newer when you imaged it. Lion is quite good for this operation. Also - you can reverse checks if a better answer arrives later, so just do whatever makes the most sense to you. The points are kind to me, so I'm not really in it for that anymore.
    – bmike
    Nov 27, 2012 at 4:04
  • I did a clean install, and everything now works. An interesting thing, though. I noticed that MacPorts was being seen by the system as a user. This may explain some other problems that I was having but that were not critical. Dec 4, 2012 at 23:07

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