Why can’t I read all my files on an external drive using my Macbook Air?

Anonymous February 17, 2014
Ads by Google

Hello all,

I recently sent my MacBook Air for a backup at my local Apple store. Since, when I want to look at some pictures/videos I have on my external disk, only a few pictures can be opened. The others, when clicked on, show the following message:

You do not have permission to open the document X; contact your computer or network admin. for assistance.

But being the only user on my mac, I should be the admin.

So what’s it all about? And what do I have to do to be able to see all my files without having to go through every document?

Thanks a lot!


  1. Jan F
    February 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    select the external disk in the Finder
    then right-click Information (or cmd + i)

    At the bottom of the information window should be a permissions section. But before you can alter them you might have to click the little lock symbol at the bottom right - you will be asked to enter your password.

    Make sure your user (Me) is set as owner and has read+write. You might want to do the same with group and others in case you connect the drive to another Mac. Then click the gear symbol and seect "Apply to enclosed items..."

    If everything fails there should be check box saying "Ignore ownership on this volume".

  2. Hovsep A
    February 17, 2014 at 9:37 am

    OS X Mountain Lion: If you don’t have the correct permissions to open a file or folder

    Troubleshooting permissions issues in Mac OS X

    About Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions feature

    Disk Utility 12.x: Repair disk permissions