When I endeavor to download software updates on my ibook G4, I get the following message: " Make sure you have permission to write to /private/tmp/501/TemporaryItems/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate".
there are no permissions set (nothing is locked) on my system. How can I correct this problem. Or, can I reinstall OS without losing files or software? and if so...will this fix the problem?

13 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by seaman123

A restart should fix this.. but we can try something else..

Open Terminal, type:

sudo rm -rf /tmp/501/TemporaryItems/

Hit Return, enter your admin password, and now try using Software Update as normal.


sudo chown -R username /tmp/501

Where username is your account's short username. Hit Return, enter your admin password, and now try using Software Update as normal.


Thank you for your help. However, none of the ideas worked. Response kept coming back as permission for 501...stuff?

Hmm.. try this then:

sudo rm -rf /tmp/501

Enter your admin password when prompted, then restart your computer immediately after the prompt comes back. /etc/rc.cleanup should be nuking everything in /tmp automatically. If you get responses other then a prompt, please copy and paste them here.



I would try a disk repair --> Fix Permissions on the computer first. You may have other things out of whack. This tool is part of the Disk Utility tool found in the Applications --> Utilities folder.



That might help.. I cannot really tell, but it doesn't look like repairing of permissions will decend into /tmp any further then /tmp's root level. But it certainly won't hurt anything!

yellow% sudo grepbom "/private/tmp"
   ====> /Library/Receipts//BaseSystem.pkg/Contents/Archive.bom
yellow% sudo lsbom -p GUMF Archive.bom | grep "/private/tmp"
wheel   root    drwxrwxrwt      "./private/tmp"

Thanks all. This site is terrific.
I ran a disk utility and repaired permissions. Everything worked fine after that. Awesome.

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