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7. Permission Roadblocks

Mac OS X is built upon Unix, a robust, secure multiuser operating system that relies on the concept of resources having owners with specific permissions. This allows each user to have an individual home folder, with its contents protected against intrusion. And users can configure their own workspaces with preferences set the way they like—without screwing things up for other users. That’s the good side of permissions.

The downside is that for Macs with only one user, permissions often get in the way of performing common tasks such as updating system components, deleting files, renaming folders, and so on. Even though you are the only one who uses your Mac, there are times when Mac OS X insists you don’t have permission to perform a specific task. If you’re lucky, you’ll be asked to authenticate as an administrator, and that will allow you to continue. But other times you are told you lack the appropriate permission and it’s up to you to figure out how to circumvent this roadblock.

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