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I cannot place any file nor delete any file on my desktop. Other parts of the file system (like the Documents folder, Downloads folder, etc) seem fine. I checked permissiosn under the terminal and it's drwx for the user. I don't know what's wrong.

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Is there any error message? Anything that pops up? – Vervious Jul 2 '11 at 2:40
Can you modify the desktop folder in your home directory, the finder desktop (the special "window") or none of these? – Daniel Beck Jul 2 '11 at 2:57

Besides traditional Unix user/group/others r/w/x permissions, file and folders in Mac OS X can be locked via Access Control Lists (ACLs, see chmod(1)), file flags (see chflags(1)), and possibly even Finder meta-data stored in an extended attribute (see xattr -h and GetFileInfo(1)).

To see all those kinds of settings for your Desktop folder, do this in Terminal:

ls -ldeO@ ~/Desktop

(I recommend you copy/paste that as the characters in it are hard to distinguish in some typefaces.)

If you're still stumped after seeing that output, update your Question with the output from that ls command and we may be able to help you further.

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You should run disk repair in Disk Utility in addition (and before-hand) to fixing permissions. And, ideally, you would do this after booting into another disk (like a recovery disk, or the disk that came with your system).

If this doesn't work, then I strongly recommend you boot into a DiskWarrior boot disk, and let DiskWarrior rebuild your disk's directory.

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Disk Utility does not touch user home folders. For that you want password reset utility. You get it from booting to the recovery partition. Then opening terminal. Then type resetpassword, press enter. At the bottom choose "reset home folder permissions and acl's" – kent Mar 30 at 20:50

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