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Mac OS X in a Nutshell by Chris Stone, Chuck Toporek, Jason McIntosh

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Moving, Copying, and Renaming Objects

Moving a file or folder in Finder is as easy as dragging its icon. Some rules apply to what you can move and where you can move it, however, and you can perform more specific actions—such as copying files or creating aliases—through modifier keys.

File Permissions

First of all, due Mac OS X’s strict, Unix-style file permissions, you might not be able to move or otherwise modify a file or folder. Anything in your home folder is generally malleable, and if you’re in the system’s admin group, you can choose to modify certain system-level folders, such as /Applications.

Otherwise, you may see a dialog box like the one in Figure 2-15, informing you that you lack the credentials to perform some action with the filesystem. If you still need it done, contact an administrator of this Mac. If you are an administrator (or the Mac’s sole user!) and see this dialog, then you may be trying to manipulate root-owned files that the system doesn’t want people messing with, such as those in the /System folder. Refer to Chapter 5 for more information about these and other special folders.

A permission-denied dialog box

Figure 2-15. A permission-denied dialog box

Exactly what fate befalls a file when you drag it depends upon where you drop it, and if you were holding down modifier keys at the time.

See Chapter 5 for detailed information about Mac OS X’s file permissions system and user accounts. ...

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