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I've been told I should be repairing my permissions regularly in OS X.

Are these permissions as in 777 like Unix?

What does repairing permissions do, and how often should I run it?

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Mac OS X is based on BSD UNIX, so yes, it's repairing the permissions as you'd do in UNIX. As to what exactly it's doing, I expect it's ensuring that certain processes and directories are not installed with the wrong permissions, or something like that. I'm not sure exactly, but I run it once every two months or so. – user3463 Dec 6 '10 at 1:31
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, since OS X is based on BSD *nix, the permissions system is the same. Repairing permissions goes through all the system files on your boot drive and makes sure they are set to the correct owner, group, and attributes. So if you or an app somehow messed up the permissions of a file in the System folder, repair would fix that and keep any problems from arising. It's not really that important unless you're having issues, although I'd run it once a month or so just as a sanity check.

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Repairing permissions reads the Bill of Materials and restores the permissions to what the developer intended when the application(s) was/were installing. For more information, head on over to the Apple KB. In general, repairing permissions is a troubleshooting step in resolving problems with applications and users, though running it every once and a while wouldn't hurt.

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+1 for the link and the mention of Bill of Materials. So is there a similar thing for linux or any other *nixen? – stib Dec 13 '10 at 11:25

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