Logging in gives an "Insecure Startup Items folder" error

A few users who have installed Snow Leopard on their systems have run into a problem where upon logging in the system claims the "Startup Items" folder is insecure and items from this folder will not be used.

Apple has a number of ways to run scripts, applications, and open other common items at startup or login. The most common is the "login items" list for each account in the "Accounts" system preferences; however, there are others including the "Startup Items" folder in the global library, which is primarily used by applications that need to start a helper process at startup. A few users who have installed Snow Leopard on their systems have run into a problem where upon logging in the system claims the "Startup Items" folder is insecure and items from this folder will not be used.

Specifically, the error states:

"Insecure Startup Items folder detected.
Items in the Startup Items folder ("/Library/
StartupItems/") have not been started because the
folder does not have the proper security settings."

The StartupItems folder and items in it need to have special permissions in order for the system to properly access and launch the items. If the permissions are not set properly, the system will output this error people have been getting, and not allow items in the StartupItems folder to run. In order to fix the permissions, you will need to set the owner and group of the folder and its contents to "root" and "wheel", respectively. Additionally, executable files (programs) should have the permissions set to 0755 (readable and executable by everyone, but only writable by root) and have non-executable files be set to 0644 (readable by everyone, and only writable by root). While Disk Utility's "Permissions Fix" routine may detect incorrect permissions on the folder, it may not properly change the ownership and permissions of items in the folder.

For the most part, applications in the folder should be executable by the appropriate groups so changing the permissions on them will not matter too much, but if you decide to change permissions on all items, you can set the permissions of everything in the folder to "0755", which will flag non-executable files as executable, but that will not harm anything. Non-Executable files that have been flagged as executable should behave the same as when they are not flagged as executable. If you try to explicitly run as programs using the Terminal you will just receive an error.

With this in mind, to change the permissions of the Startup Folder and files within it, run the following commands in the Terminal:

sudo chown -R root:wheel /Library/StartupItems
sudo chmod -R 0755 /Library/StartupItems

After these commands have been run, you can double-check the permissions with Disk Utility's "Permissions Fix" feature, and then restart your system to see if the error persists.



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About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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