node.js fixing permissions - NPM cannot install dependencies - Attempt to unlock something which hasn't been locked

4 Answers

I worked with a co-worker this afternoon and figured out what the problem was. My ".npm" folder in my home directory was owned by the root user instead of myself. I'm not sure what happened to cause that. Maybe I installed node or npm as the root admin at one point. In any case I just ran sudo chown -R [username] .npm and I was finally able to run npm install commands from my projects again!

windows warn checkpermissions

I've been trying to run an npm install on my package.json file, but I'm having a lot of trouble. It keeps saying "Error: Attempt to unlock XXX, which hasn't been locked" on all my dependences. Here's one of them:

Error: Attempt to unlock tbd@~0.6.4, which hasn't been locked
        at unlock (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/lib/cache.js:1304:11)
        at cb (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/lib/cache.js:646:5)
        at /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/lib/cache.js:655:20
        at /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/lib/cache.js:1290:7
        at /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/node_modules/lockfile/lockfile.js:167:38
        at OpenReq.Req.done (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/node_modules/graceful-fs/graceful-fs.js:144:5)
        at OpenReq.done (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/node_modules/graceful-fs/graceful-fs.js:64:22)
        at Object.oncomplete (fs.js:107:15)

If I try to run it as sudo, it seems to get further and start installing some packages, but some new errors popup instead:

> chokidar@0.8.1 postinstall /Users/tkirchner/Documents/Projects/mm-datatable/node_modules/karma/node_modules/chokidar
> node setup-deps.js

shell-init: error retrieving current directory: getcwd: cannot access parent directories: Permission denied

    var cwd = process.cwd();
Error: EACCES, permission denied
    at Function.startup.resolveArgv0 (node.js:811:23)
    at startup (node.js:58:13)
    at node.js:902:3
npm ERR! error rolling back Error: ENOTEMPTY, rmdir '/Users/tkirchner/Documents/Projects/mm-datatable/node_modules/karma/node_modules/q'
npm ERR! error rolling back  karma@0.10.9 { [Error: ENOTEMPTY, rmdir '/Users/tkirchner/Documents/Projects/mm-datatable/node_modules/karma/node_modules/q']
npm ERR! error rolling back   errno: 53,
npm ERR! error rolling back   code: 'ENOTEMPTY',
npm ERR! error rolling back   path: '/Users/tkirchner/Documents/Projects/mm-datatable/node_modules/karma/node_modules/q' }
npm ERR! Error: ENOENT, chown '/Users/tkirchner/Documents/Projects/mm-datatable/node_modules/karma/node_modules/'

I recently updated my node and npm installations. So maybe that has something to do with it. Also, most of my development has been at the office and today I'm working over VPN, so maybe that has something to do with it too.

Any ideas?

Had the same issue and fixed it by changing the persmissions as per the accepted answer:

sudo chown -R $USER ~/.npm

However, the second command should be avoided as it downgrades the permissions of a system resource (sudo chown -R $USER /usr/local/lib/node_modules). Not a good idea.

For the record: "usr" in /usr/local stands for Unix System Resources.

I had the same problem and tried to fix the permission/ownership of npm related files and directories for hours but had no luck with that.

Suddenly I found that I had ~/.npmrc file with cache entry pointing to a non-existing directory. Removed that cache property to use the default cache location and now it's solved.