In OS X Mountain Lion's Finder, I can see a grayed-out /etc folder, but cannot see inside. Using Terminal's ls command, I can see the existence of a file that one of my programs is trying to find (Free Pascal's fpc program has a fpc.cfg file in /etc).

How can I change parameters for this folder to enable more open access?

2 Answers 2


Hit ++G (or select Go - Go to Folder... from the Finder menu bar) and enter /etc or any existing and readable path as the target location to browse it.

Given you enabled showing of hidden files, while double-clicking etc from Finder does not work, you can still right-click it and choose Open from the context menu.

The system-wide configuration files in /etc are best to be treated with caution just as all the other hidden system files and therefor I'd certainly not recommend changing permissions for them, but if you do need to view or edit them I would suggest doing it from the Terminal. This will also make it easier to gain the necessary root privileges for changing them by using the sudo command.

lrwxr-xr-x@   1 root     wheel       11 Oct 19 16:00 etc -> private/etc

the folder owner is root. if your program need to access it, you can run it under root account.

  • 1
    Read access is enabled for all users (that's what the rwxr-xr-x at the beginning says)
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 9:57
  • OT doesn't say what kind of access he need. I do know r-x allows read and execute access. Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 10:34
  • 2
    Fair point. But enabling the root account just to edit a file in /etc seems a bit too much. It's easier to use sudo for this.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 10:40

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