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After having some problems removing items from the dock on OS X (Mountain Lion) today, I found out that if I reset the access rights on a particular file to give everyone all rights, it worked.

This is the command I used:

sudo chmod 777 ~/Library/Preferences/

However, I don't particularly like those rights.

When I executed this command before changing to everything:

ls -la ~/Library/Preferences/

It said:


Can anyone tell me what the correct access rights should be?

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The original permissions are the default. – Daniel Beck Jul 26 '12 at 14:40
Make sure your numeric uid (use id -u to check it) matches the uid that owns the file (ls -n). – Kyle Jones Jul 26 '12 at 20:36
Never used it, but maybe Disk Utility's Fix Permissions – Rich Homolka Jul 26 '12 at 22:27

The default/correct permission should be as follow

-rw-------   1 <username>  staff   4.3K Jan 15 09:42

If the user is john, the full path will be


The default permission should be as follow

-rw-------   1 john  staff   4.3K Jan 15 09:42

Common cause of the permission become wrong is when the user folder is moved/migrated from another OS X box or home folder being assigned to another account due to various reason.

To fix it, instead of changing permission, assign it to the correct user

chown <username>

If you want to reset ownership for the whole user directory

cd /Users
chown -R john john

The first john is username, the second john is directory name.

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