Cloned Mac migration problems? Check your permissions

I recently received a new(er) Macbook Pro, and wanted to get up and running in as short a period as possible. I chose to go with a full hard drive clone so that the minimum amount of modification and reinstallation would be necessary.

Apart from a small misunderstanding between me and my external USB drive, that resulted in me having to do the initial backup twice, Carbon Copy Cloner worked an absolute treat. I was able to boot from the USB on the new Mac, and clone back over to the internal hard drive and boot it all back up spotlessly.

Well, almost. I started seeing weird problems cropping up in quite different applications.

First up my Dovecot IMAP server wouldn’t start. This turned out to be a simple problem of /opt/local/var/run/dovecot/ being left behind and needing to be removed (since another app kept taking that PID every time I rebooted, Dovecot always thought it was already running). This was the most important thing and I was back in business quickly.

But then it got weirder. iGTD’s F6 integration has ceased working (and I still can’t get it to work despite resolving other problems). It tries to send something – but it just doesn’t. Oh well – I’ve been wanting to check out OmniFocus anyway.

And then yesterday, I decided it was time to upgrade to 10.5.2. But software update refused to recognise any updates – though I had several waiting, and running it on my old Mac showed them. Nothing helpful in /var/log/system.log. After googling for a solid hour I decided to just update from the downloads on the Apple software site and resolve the problem later.

Then I was having trouble opening a PDF in Preview. I figured it was something corrupted in there, so I didn’t think about it. Then today – no luck on another PDF. And I found no PDFs were working in Preview (in hindsight, I’d had the same problem with a Postscript file earlier in the day too). Something was clearly wrong, but it’s incredibly hard to google for problems with generic names like "Preview" and "Software Update".

Luckily, Preview showed me something in the logs, which Software Update hadn’t:

Feb 14 12:27:07 mcbrett Preview[1755]: tempFileFolderPath failed
Feb 14 12:27:07 mcbrett Preview[1755]: *** -[NSPathStore2 rangeOfString:options:range:locale:]: nil argument

That was much easier to google for and I had the fix in minutes. What’s more, Software Update is working again (though no luck with F6 integration). It was simply a permissions change on the temporary directory:

sudo chmod 775 $TMPDIR

The creepy thing? My name isn’t that common, but the user in question had exactly the same login ID as me. Does Apple discriminate against brett’s? 🙂

One response to “Cloned Mac migration problems? Check your permissions

  1. Thanks, This was very helpful. Apparently user name of brent is also covered in Apple’s name discrimination.

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