I keep a large number of directories and files on a Seagate NAS server, which I access from a Apple laptops running OS 10.5.8 and 10.6.8 variously. The server share has CIFS, FTP, and NFS enabled, and I am the only person who accesses it. I suddenly find that I no longer have write permission for most of the directories and files on the server. Permissions for the directories are shown as




Both the uid and gid for these directories and files, as well as the explicit user and group names, are the same as those of the user I am logged in as. But when I try to change permissions to 755, permission is always denied. Using chown to reset the owner of the directories and files explicitly has no effect, even when logged in as root.

How can I restore write permissions?

  • Do you get permission denied when you try to chmod or when you try to access the directory?
    – Shraddha
    Jan 1, 2012 at 19:48
  • @Shraddha: No. ls and cp for instance, work just fine. In fact, the last time I tried to deal with this problem (some directory permissions were d---------@), I ended up "solving" it by creating a new directory with correct permissions and copying everything into it from the old directory. But that's a very time-consuming solution and doesn't help me to understand the problem. Jan 1, 2012 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


You need to look at and edit the permissions on the NAS itself, not over a filesharing connection.

The details depend on the filesharing protocol (you said CIFS, FTP, and NFS are enabled, but not which you're actually using), but the short summary is that your access on the NAS is limited to the user you authenticated as; if that user doesn't have appropriate access to the files (/permissions to change the permissions), becoming root on the client doesn't change that in any way. Also, the ownership and permissions display you see on the client isn't always what the ownership and perms are on the NAS; they're the permissions as seen over the filesharing connection, which isn't necessarily the same thing at all.

I'm not familiar with the Seagate NAS devices, but this PCMag slideshow seems to show a Windows-based management utility that'll let you change permissions. I think that (or a web-based management interface if they have one) is what you need to be using to a) find out what the actual permissions are and b) adjust them to solve the problem.

  • Actually, the permissions on the NAS itself, as viewed on the web UI, were also all correct. I eventually got a response from someone on the Seagate site, and it seems a firmware update was necessary to repair the problem. All done now. Thanks for your comment, though. Feb 11, 2012 at 3:35

As indicated in my comment to Gordon Davisson, a firmware update resolved the problem. It was not actually a permissions or configuration problem per se.

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