Mac Tip #110/16-July-2003
In the last Tip I pointed out that Mac OS X has to keep track of the permissions for each file — whether a particular user is allowed to read the file (get the information from it), write to it (change it) or execute it (for example, run software).
Sometimes the Mac gets a bit tangled up and the permissions get confused. Then your Mac may start behaving strangely.
A lot of people are finding that if they “repair” the permissions that will bring their Mac back into perfect running order. But you don’t have to wait until there’s a problem before doing this routine maintenance task. If you do it after installing software and maybe once per week or so you should find that your Mac runs more smoothly.
You can find software to do this in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. Look for a program called Disk Utility. Start up Disk Utility and on the left hand side of the window you’ll see a list of all the drives you have mounted. For most people that list will contain one item — your hard drive, although it might show as two icons. In that case click on the lower one.
Click once on the icon for your Hard Drive and then choose First Aid from the tabs across the top of the window. Now click the Repair Disk Permissions button and leave the computer to carry out its task.
Some people prefer to use another piece of software for this task, especially as it can also carry out a number of other functions. I use Cocktail from [http://www2.dicom.se/cocktail/index.html] (814kb).
Download, install and start it. It will ask for your password. Then go to the Pilot tab and under Options check the box for autorestart. Under the Tasks tab check all 4 boxes. Now start it running and go make a nice cup of tea.
If you think Cocktail is useful the author asks that you make a small donation. Start up Cocktail and go to the Cocktail menu to choose About Cocktail. Connect to the Internet and click the Donate button for instructions.