OS X: Solving “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items” problem

I was trying to backup some of my files in OS X onto an external hard disk and ran into the following error dialog box: “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items”

So I thought it was a permission issue of a file/folder that I did not have permission to read. So I went to file information (File > Get Info) of the folder and under “Sharing & Permissions”, I made sure that I had read permissions and clicked “Apple to enclosed items” (I believe this applies the permission rules to all sub files and folders recursively).

I tried copying the folder over again and the error dialog persisted. Wasn’t too sure why it still happened so I tried cleaning out the dot files using the “dot_clean” command from Terminal and viola! Copying went on without a hitch.

So when you encounter the “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items” again

  1. check file/folder permissions (use get Info from Finder)
  2. use dot_clean (from Terminal)
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