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I back up fairly regularly with Time Machine. Recently, my hard drive crashed and now I wish to put my old contents onto /temp. I am unable to do it in the laptop, as when I open the 'documents' section of my old hard drive it says:

"The folder “Documents” can’t be opened because you don’t have permission to see its contents."

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Most likely, you created a new account which has a different User ID and/or shortname than your previous account from the defunct drive. Here's how to change ownership of your existing files so you can use them with the new account.

  1. In the Finder, select Documents.
  2. Press Command-I or select Get Info to bring up the inspector for the folder.
  3. In the bottom pane, Sharing & Permissions, select the Name labeled "(Me)".
  4. Change the Privilege setting to Read & Write
  5. Click the Gear popup menu and choose Apply to enclosed items...

If there's no "(Me)" entry in the info window, click the + (plus) button, add yourself, then continue from step 3 above.

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I have the same problem after migrating data and profile from different machine. I double checked the Sharing & Permissions and it is r/w. Still can't see the files. – Mark Irvin Aug 29 '14 at 17:46
@MarkoPolo Check the creation times of your files. I recently had an issue where a folder's date info was invalid/corrupt and the Finder wouldn't show any contents regardless of permissions. – joemaller Aug 29 '14 at 18:48

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