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Mac OS X Lion File System Permissions Problem And Account Update Needed

Mac OS X Lion File System

On Wednesday my MacBook Air started displaying something unexpected on the FileVault 2 login screen. My Mac was no longer displaying the picture I selected for my user account or my name. Instead it was displaying a silhouette of a person with a question mark superimposed over it and underneath in brackets it read, “update needed. ”

I searched the internet looking for a solution using Google, but I came up empty handed. So I headed over to Apple’s support website and I wasn’t any luckier there. I called AppleCare to ask them about what all this might mean and this is what they had to say.

I was advised that Apple is aware of some permissions problems with Mac OS X Lion and therefore they asked me to perform the following command after launching Terminal on my Mac:

sudo chmod -R -a “everyone deny delete” ~

Once I entered the command and entered my root user accounts password the command went to work on my user accounts home folder. Once it was done I was told to reboot my Mac. Once the Mac rebooted I was presented with the login screen I would normally expect to see. My accounts picture that I selected was present and visible along with my name.

Filevault 2 locked out our ability to use Disk Utility to verify or repair disk permissions on a Mac OS X disk volume that is encrypted. I am concerned about this, because normally I like to run permission repairs at least once or twice a month. However, since I cannot I just make sure that I make frequent backups. Hopefully some day Apple will fix this annoying limitation.

I also hope that Apple will strive to better document things like this in its own support forums. I don’t like surprises like this one that include obscure fixes that are hard to come by.