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TimeMachine Access Denied

I was getting Access Denied on my TimeMachine backups - what gives!

I was trying to restore some stuff from my TimeMachine backups tonight - and I kept getting 'Access Denied' errors when trying to access some of the data volumes. How WEIRD!

It's obviously down to the permissions on the volume as you can see the folders are marked with the no-entry sign:


Great I thought! I can change the permissions. I couldn't though. Wouldn't let me. Also, I was bit concerned about messing with TimeMachine's workings.

Now, I remember on older OSX editions you could ignore ownership on volumes….however it doesn't seem to be available in OSX El Capitan. So…off to Terminal we go.

First, a
BIG WARNING. What I'm about to show you how to do is to ignore ownership on volumes using the root user. This is not to be taken lightly - if you're not confident around OSX I'd really not suggest you start playing with it.

So, start terminal, and use this command to get in to the root context:

Sudo su

You'll be asked for the admin password, and then you'll be presented with the root shell.

We're going to configure a volume to
ignore ownership. To do that, use this command:

vsdbutil -d /Volumes/zTimeMachine

….where 'zTimeMachine' is the volume you want to remove ownership from.

This can take a couple of minutes to run. Once it's done you should find that you can now browse in to those directories. I've noted that once TimeMachine runs again the ownership is back on, however if you want to re-enable it yourself you can use this command:

vsdbutil -a /Volumes/zTimeMachine

I of course hope you never need this….

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