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Help with Mac Permissions

by TeacherAuthor / February 5, 2010 9:49 AM PST

Hello,

My roommate has a Mac G5 running OS X.2. She has two accounts on it, one of which is the administrator. Lately she can not install any new software nor can she upgrade the software she has, even her internet browsers. When she tries, she gets a pop up telling her that an administrator password is required to install the software. Her password is correct or she wouldn't be able to log in to the system at all. I used Disk Utilities to repair the disk permissions thinking that would help, but it didn't. I even went to the extent of downgrading my own administrator level to normal and created a whole new account as an administrator thinking I could fool the system by having new permissions created. Nope. That didn't work either. So, I'm at a loss. She thinks we may have to wipe the hard drive and reinstall the software, but I'm hoping not. Please help.

Thanks,

Matthew

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re: help with Mac permissions
by centurion48 / February 5, 2010 10:03 AM PST

I am using OS X 10.6.2 so this might be different for your version of the OS.

In the System Preferences -> Accounts pane, for each account, I have a checkbox that allows/disallows the user to administer the computer. Is that perhaps left unchecked?

Is she even able to unlock the accounts preferences using her password?

regards,
centurion48

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re:help with Mac permissions
by TeacherAuthor / February 5, 2010 10:18 AM PST

Thanks for your suggestion. Yes, the box is checked. That's what's weird. Her account can lower my level to normal and back up to admin and it can create and delete accounts all day long, which is an admin function. But it won't let her install or upgrade software. Another odd thing is that She has OS9 on her system as well and that won't run either. I used to be able to repair the permissions and that would solve the problem, but now that doesn't work. I'm tossing around the idea of a virus, but I can't check for one because I can't install any anti-virus software.

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re: help with Mac permissions
by centurion48 / February 5, 2010 11:20 AM PST

Perhaps her login password and Keychain password have become disassociated and the dialog box is actually asking for a Keychain password and not the login password?

Launch Keychain Access (Applications -> Utilities) and open Keychain Access Preferences First Aid tab. Anything obvious?

regards,
centurion48

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re: help with Mac permissions
by TeacherAuthor / February 5, 2010 11:50 AM PST

I'll have to pry her off the computer and take a look. I'll let you know what I find. Hopefully this is it.

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keychain idea is a good one.
by macnerd10 / February 5, 2010 11:56 AM PST

You might like to repair keychain first. If this does not work, update OS. OS 10.2 is obsolete; she may need to update it to the highest OS 10.2.x or even move to at least Tiger (10.4.11).
Another thing that is relatively easy, is to change the admin password. Insert 10.2 disk let it mount and restart the computer pressing the "C" key immediately after the chime. The computer will start from the DVD and then there will be a menu on top with "utilities" in it. Click on it, then on "password" and reset it. Restart again without pressing any key. Check if it obeys.

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keychain idea is a good one.
by TeacherAuthor / February 5, 2010 12:41 PM PST

I tried to repair the keychain and, unfortunately, it didn't work. I added an entry onto the keychain with her admin password as well as mine and that didn't work either. In KeyChain, I clicked on System to add an entry to that chain and I got the following error: An Error Has Occurred. Unable To Add An Item To The Current Keychain. Error 100013.
I tried using my admin password and had no luck with that either. I even created an entirely new administrator account and that didn't work either. Every time I try to install the software, I get the following message: The software being installed requires administrator or higher level access privileges. To complicate matters further, she does not have the install disks to the computer. They're packed away somewhere and she has no clue where and apparently her DVD drive doesn't work or at least she can't get it to read any disks for some reason. I don't know now if it's the drive or the permissions. I tried one more time to repair the permissions and it didn't work. Usually, I don't have this much trouble helping her with mac issues. (I currently run 7 PCs).

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two options in keychain
by macnerd10 / February 5, 2010 4:25 PM PST

In the preferences, there is keychain first aid. Try that first. If no go, under "file" (in the Keychain), there is an option new keychain. Maybe that one would be OK.
I would suggest getting DiskWarrior and running it but the drive is dead. One more option: get an external DVD drive (like firewire, for best speed) and run it from the external. Lack of system disks is a big problem.
Two more things to try: 1. follow the instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1274
2. Use Terminal commands as described here: http://theappleblog.com/2008/06/22/reset-os-x-password-without-an-os-x-cd/
Good luck!

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forget number 2.
by macnerd10 / February 5, 2010 4:30 PM PST
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