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Old April 27th, 2006, 05:21 PM   #1
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Keeping other users from accessing HDs?

Is there a convenient way to keep my spouse and 9-year-old from accessing and inadvertently screwing up my work-related external hard drives?

We all have separate user accounts, but I don't see a way to limit drive access.

I have a 2.7GHz Power Mac G5 with 4.5GB RAM, OS 10.4 (can't update till I get high speed, which may be another month away here in my rural setting), with 3 Lacie FW HDS: 160GB, 300GB, 500GB.

Is there a way to set up a drive with partitions that are accessible by different users?
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Old April 27th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #2
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Since the mac is actually a unix system in disguise, you should be able to set access permissions at the file, folder and drive level. Select the folder you want to protect, or the drive itself by highlighting it. Then go to File > Get Info in the Finder. If needed, click the triangle next to Ownership & Permissions. This will show what your permissions are for the item in question. Now click the triangle next to Details. That will give you full control over what others can do with the item you have selected.

To keep everyone else out you would select "no access" for groups and others. A few caveats: first, you will need to be the "owner" of the item to make any changes. If you're account has admin priveleges then that should be the case. Second, I haven't tried restricting access to a full drive myself and I'm at work with my laptop so I can't try. I don't know if that might "break" something, like a system process or an application which expects to be able to read or write to the drive. I doubt that it will, but just make a note of the existing permissions so that you can change them back if there's a problem later.

Finally, make sure that you have not given admin priveleges to any of the users you want to restrict.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:37 AM   #3
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Boyd, it sure sounded like a straightforward and logical approach. I tried it though and started getting into some problems.

I am the admin user, yet oddly the new drive (and the other two I want to protect) showed different ownership depending on which user was logged in. Even if I unlocked and applied changes to owner, group and others from my account, checked and unchecked the "ignore ownership" box, it would not accept the changes.

It's just as well, because a glance at apple's support pages shows a whole set of problems with super complicated resolutions that can arise from messing around with permissions. I think I'll just leave it alone for now and try the low tech stiff lecture approach for now.

I'm kind of disappointed with this discovery about OS X. For a company that touts its OS as being transparent, it sounds like, from what I read on Apple support anyway, that just trying to make what appear to be obvious choices can really get things messed up.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #4
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Buy em a MAC mini solved my problem when i had friends and family over.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 12:28 PM   #5
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Too bad you were having problems Sam. I must admit that I haven't messed with permissions on local disks under OSX (although have spent many years administering multi-user unix/linux systems).

But it's very common for many of us to use networked servers hosting files for multiple users with their own permissions. These aren't usually a problem if properly implemented. Some software puts strange temp and preference files in odd places, and these can break. Applications shouldn't be put on such restricted locations generally speaking.

What kinds of files are you trying to protect? Seems as though you could organize things to keep private documents in a protected folder without a lot of issues. Were you having problems with that approach, or just when you tried to change ownership for the whole drive?
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Old April 29th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #6
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Boyd, I'll try working with protected folders. Thanks for that tip. I'm new to the work/share/protect concept, so I had only thought of blocking access at the drive level. I didn't realize that I could do it at the folder/file level.

Hey, I like your idea Kevin. Too bad I don't have the cash or the space to go that route.
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