rsync: failed to set permissions

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Jan 6, 2019, 2:01:31 PM1/6/19
to DropSync

For a couple of years I've been copying external HD #1 to external HD #2, and haven't run into this problem until now. I've searched through the Help documentation and tried to resolve it on my own, with no luck.

This is the error:

rsync: failed to set permissions (on external HD #2) - permission denied (13)

I only use one computer, and I am the main user/administrator. I completed this step in the help documentation:

  • Folder Pair is a regular folder or file:

    Select the folder in Finder and select File > Get Info using Finder. In the info window that appears, change permissions for the user of DropSync to Read and Write

Sharing and Permission privileges are set to 'Read/Write'

Can someone help me solve this error?

Thank you.

Ira Cooke

Jan 7, 2019, 2:04:11 AM1/7/19
Dear RC, 

In this case rsync is complaining that it is unable to set the permissions.  You may be able to read/write the file but most likely the file is not “owned” by you.  Some files, especially files at the top level of an external HD are often owned by the system.  Even though you are the admin you will not be able to set permissions on these files without invoking your special admin rights.  Although you can do this manually it isn’t possible via DropSync as DropSync is a sandboxed app and unable to elevate its permissions beyond the user. 

My recommendation would be to 

a).  Check if the file is a file you made yourself (eg a photo or  document) .. or a system file.  If it is a system file you should probably just exclude it from the sync. 

b).  If you don’t want to exclude the file you can turn off permission syncing.  For most common use cases permissions don’t need to be synced as the default permissions on the destination will be fine.

Best wishes

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Jan 7, 2019, 3:53:22 PM1/7/19
to DropSync
Thank you, Ira. Your recommendations did the trick. I decided to turn off Permissions in the Configuration/Copying preferences, and I no longer receive errors.

I appreciate your help, and for creating this excellent application!

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