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Why did chmod 775 work

-0001-11-30   Views:0

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I recently was asked to look at a friend's Mac mini, which was stuck in the startup screen.  That is, it would not progress past the gray screen with the Apple logo and spinning progress wheel. The first thing I tried was starting in single user mode

I recently was asked to look at a friend's Mac mini, which was stuck in the startup screen.  That is, it would not progress past the gray screen with the Apple logo and spinning progress wheel.
The first thing I tried was starting in single user mode and running fsck, which took a while and did fix some errors.  I ran it again and it returned no more errors.
I then started in verbose mode where it hung up on a repeating line, user-name-mac-pro com.apple.launchd[1] (com.apple.mDNSResponder[xxx]): posix_spawnp(''/usr/sbin/mDNSResponder, ...): No such file or directory
When I did a Google search on this it seemed that there were many people who had a similar issue and they found that performing the command chmod 775 /volume/"Macintosh HD" in Terminal worked.  So, I thought I would try it.  I didn't use Terminal but I was able to change the permissions for my HD to 775.  It was 774.  I know that is Read only, and 775 is Read and Execute.  When I did this the Mac mini started up and everything worked.
Question:  Why did this work?  Why was the Mac mini not able to start up as Read only, and why was the mDNSResponder the file that was hanging?

The replay answer
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Thanks Niel,
I'm just learning the reasons for these permissions, and this makes sense to me now.  Thanks
I guess the mDNSResponder file must have been the first file that launchd attempted to run but couldn't because of the Read only permissions that the HD had.  Is that correct?

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