Clay Harmon Blog Just another internet ASCII hole

Mac OSX 10.9 Migration Pain

A quick note on a discovery I had this morning. I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my old Quicken for Mac 2007 installation to the newish Quicken for Mac 2015. Paid for it, downloaded and installed it per the instructions. But as soon as I clicked on it, it would crash with an error message indicating that I did not have permission to create a folder in the Application Support directory.

Hmmm. This is strange. This is part of my user directory. Why the heck would I not have permission?

I’ll backtrack here. Early in the year, I migrated my whole system from a Retina MacBook Pro to my current MacPro 2015 desktop. I used Apple’s Migration Assistant to move all my applications and user files from the old system to the new. And I noticed that there were a handful of applications that no longer worked. One of them was CodeRunner, which is a great little program to try out little code snippets in a variety of programming languages. Anyhoo - it was annoying, but not something I had time to really track down and figure out.

So this morning’s experience with the new Quicken 2015 provided the impetus to figure out what the hell is going on.

The average Mac OSX user probably is not familiar with a lot of the directory structure of OSX. One confusing aspect of this is that there are multiple Library directories (folders). There is the system Library directory and the user Library folder. And the error message I was getting from Quicken seemed to indicate a problem with the user Library folder.

I opened a terminal window, and typed the following command:

cd ~/Library

The tilde (~) is a shorthand for the user’s home directory.

I then typed in

ls -ald App*

And to my surprise, this unix command listed the owner of my Application Support directory as wheel! The owner of this directory should have been my user id, not wheel.

The fix at this point was obvious - I needed to establish my user id as the correct owner of the Application Support directory.

I was already in the ~/Library directory, so all I had to do was use the unix chown command to change the owner of this directory to my user id.

sudo chown -R myuserid Application\ Support

And Quicken 2015 would finally launch. The side benefit to this was that now all my other balky apps began to work as well!

I guess the moral of this tale is that Migration Assistant can occasionally do some stupid things to ownerships and permissions during the migration process. If problems arise, the ~/Library directory a good place to begin looking for problems.