I use Apple Time Machine to backup my MacBook to a Mac Pro over my LAN/WiFi network using the Snow Leopard AFP time machine hack.  Recently the MacBook’s hard disk totally failed and I needed to mount the disk image on the Mac Pro to pull a few critical files off immediately.  The sparsebundle appeared in Finder as a folder with a small red minus sign, meaning my user account didn’t have permission to access it.


When I attempted to open the backup image I received an error stating “You do not have permission to open the document MacBook”.  Note: “MacBook” was the name of the system Time Machine was backing up.

After approximately an hour of experimentation and research, I found the fix:

Open Terminal in Applications/System Utilities.

“cd” to the folder where your sparsebundle file resides.
    (i.e. cd “/Volumes/Media/Time Machine”)

sudo chown -R `id -un`:`id -gn` MyTimeMachineBackup.sparsebundle

Enter your password.

Note the “`” quotes above are the slant-quote on your tilde key
on the top left of your Apple keyboard below the “esc” key.

You should now be able to access and mount the image.


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3 Responses to Time Machine Backup sparsebundle “You do not have permission to open the document” FIXED!

  1. Caue Rego says:

    Instead of using Terminal, you can also open on Finder your Device, open its Info through the menu or CMD + I and set the Sharing & Permissions straight, or with a little hack like I did: It already had System and Admin Group with Write permissions, I’ve added my current user and, after a very very long time applying, it fixed this exact same “no permission to restore” issue! It was either that or the last Lion update. 😉

  2. Steven says:

    You just saved my life, man! I was looking all over how to access that sparsebundle. Thank you so much for the post.

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