Change file and folder permissions through the Finder in Snow Leopard

There’s a number of times you might need to access a file on your filesystem that another user has in their user folder. It might be that they quit the job and left all their files locked up, it might be that you’re trying to sync your significant others files across multiple computers but either way, you’re locked out of the files.

If you need access to a file and all you see on the folder is a red circle with a line through it, then you’re going to need to change its permissions. As long as you have access to an administrator account, you should be able to fix up the permission error in no time at all. Here’s how you  change a file or folder permission with the Finder in both Snow Leopard and Leopard.

  1. Navigate to the folder in the Finder.
  2. Right click the folder and select “Get Info.”
  3. At the very bottom of the “Get Info” window you’ll see a Sharing & Permissions section. Make sure it’s maximized then click the little lock in the bottom right corner.
  4. Input your Administrator login and password information into the new dialog box
  5. The greyed out section should now be fully accessible, and you should be able to add an account to the folders permissions so that you can access the folder.
  6. Click the plus button,
  7. Select the user you want to add to the folder’s permissions,
  8. Click the select button,
  9. Now click beside the new user name where it says ‘Read Only’ and change it to ‘Read and Write’.
  10. Click the lock a second time to re-lock the folder.
  11. There you go, permissions are changed.

At this point in the process you should be able to now open the folder and access the files where ever you need be.  It’s pretty handy to be able to do this through the finder, and it’s even handier to be able to do it from the terminal you’re forced to do it.  The terminals a little bit trickier and we’ll save the tip for another day.

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio