Use OS X Recovery Disk Assistant to reset Your files and folder permissions

OS X Recovery Disk Assistant

  • Disk Utility in Applications/Utilities lets you verify and repair Mac OS X disks and permissions issues.
  • The Recovery drive has an additional Repair Permissions application utility hidden away. This allows you to repair permissions on YOUR files and folders.
    • This tool is located inside boot Repair Utilities.

We are going to use this option to repair permissions on your files and folders. After restarting your entire drive will be re-indexed by Spotlight.

  • Outlook users that are having difficulty with search even after re-indexing and creating a new Identity can use this option to fix search for their Identity.
  • Your Outlook identity opens without saving previous data.
  • Spotlight fails to index your files and folders.

Restart and hold down the Command and R keys during start-up to boot into the Recovery Disk Assistant. (This is a new feature for Lion/Mountain Lion/ Mavericks. Not an option for Snow Leopard)

You will boot into the Repair Utilities screen. On top, in the Menu Bar click the Utilities item then select Terminal.




In the Terminal window, type resetpassword and hit Return.





The Password reset utility launches, but you’re not going to reset the password.

  1. Select your startup volume at the top
  2. From the dropdown below it, select the user account with the problem.
  3. At the bottom of the window, you’ll see an area labeled ‘Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs’. Click the Reset button there.The reset process only takes a couple of minutes. It’s not obvious when it’s finished.
  4. Quit Reset Password
  5. Quit Terminal
  6. Quit OS X Utilities and restart your Mac. **

**While booted from the Repair drive, you can run Disk Utility to check or repair your hard drive. I suggest running Repair Drive while booted from the Recovery drive.

After you restart your entire hard drive will re-index. Depending on the size of your drive, this can take hours. Until this process is finished, Spotlight won’t know the contents of your disks and neither will Outlook. All lists like contacts, events, notes etc. are generated by the Spotlight searches.

Note: You can tell if Spotlight is still in progress by simply looking at the Spotlight menu: There’s a blinking dot in the middle of the magnifying glass while indexing is occurring. You can also open Activity Monitor in Applications/Utilities and type in md in the search filter. You should see mdworker32 and mdworker. The file, mdworker32 is for Outlook and mdworker is for system.


5 thoughts on “Use OS X Recovery Disk Assistant to reset Your files and folder permissions

  1. Pingback: Issues with Mavericks and Office for Mac – How to troubleshoot |

  2. When I open MS Outlook for Mac and it starts to download emails, some of the emails that I KNOW were there begin to disappear, never to be found again. This annoying and extremely dangerous for me as an attorney.
    When I open Outlook in my PC Desktop, this does NOT happen. How can I resolve this problem and MORE IMPORTANT, how can I recover the deleted or disappearing emails?

    • What type of account(s)? (POP, IMAP, Exchange)
      Do you have any rules or filters setup?
      If you do a smart search do you see the emails?

      Create a smart search:
      Click in the top right search box.
      Select All Mail > Advanced
      Select Date Sent or Date Received > Today

      I’m sending you an image of search. Look for email with subject “Outlook Search”

  3. i have a problem with my macbook pro….i have formatted my harddriver in to a other computer…i have -put it back and it give me a file in and a question mark in it….i try to hold down commad and R to repair mode..still nothing happeind…..please help..i dont have the original software….please help

    • Can you explain in more detail what you did? Did you take out the drive from your Macbook Pro and erase in another computer? What did you OS X did you install on the drive?

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