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Mac OS X is based on the UNIX operating system and one of the beauties of UNIX is that it does its best to prevent you from around from mucking around with the more intimate portions of the operating system, by assigning certain powers or permissions to each user. Lion is a little sterner about these permissions than previous versions of the Mac OS and there may be times when you want to change information to make something easier and this is how you do it. By way of demonstration we'll go to the Applications folder and we are going to find the Chess application. Now in past versions of the Mac OS I could take this Chess application and I could drag it to the trash to throw it up because maybe I don't like Chess.
In this case the Mac tells me Chess can't be modified or deleted because it's required by Mac OS X. This is nonsense. It's not required; it's just that Apple has not given you permission to throw away any Apple applications that appear in the Applications folder. So how do I get rid of this thing if I choose to, you select it, press Command+I, and you look here under Sharing and Permissions. If you don't see that listing just click on the triangle. The permissions appear here under Name: their system, wheel and everyone.
System has read and write privileges, now the system account is essentially the Mac, wheel is the root account, this is an account that can do anything it wants, and everyone is well, everyone. So let's change permissions so we can throw this away. I click on the lock icon, enter my password, and now I'm going to change the everyone permission. It's Read Only now but I am going to change it to Read & Write. This means that not only can I look at this application and open it, but I can move it around. I will close that window and now I'll throw out Chess and it's gone. I will bring it back by pressing Command+Z to undo that. We will take one more look at permissions. Again you have to unlock this. Return.
One other thing you can do is click the plus button and then you can add users, so for example I could add all Administrators or I could add me because I've user account here, I am not going to do that in this case and then you click Cancel. One other thing you may want to look is the ability to change the permissions on a folder and then apply those permissions to everything else in that folder. So I'll go to my documents folder, I'll chose this Tax Documents folder, Command+I, unlock. I have read and write privileges here. I can apply the same privileges to everything within this folder simply by selecting Apply to enclosed items.
This is useful if you have a folder full of stuff, you go into a folder, and you're trying to move files or throw them away, and you're told you can't. If you apply your permissions from that folder to all the enclosed items, then you have complete control over the contents of that folder. And that's editing permissions on Lion.
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