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main user account ERASED as mistaken for guest account

6057 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Dec 8, 2007 4:02 PM by Brandon Humphries RSS
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ecolot Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 13, 2007 11:28 AM
Excuse my bad english, as i'm from germany and still under shock:

my complete data in my user account was erased at 18:09 when i logged out from leopard to reboot. before i installed and worked about 6 hours on that computer.

* the last thing i did was installing the actual vpn client from cisco as it is needed to access our vpn from travel.
* before i copied some data to a firewire drive (not used as time-machine)
* i enabled guest access earlier this day.
* i have a basic time machine backup, but have lost about 5 days of work and mails as it seems permanenetly.

i got a warning before logging out, checked that i WAS NOT guest and started logging out again. this took longer than usual - but i thought "this cant happen - apple wouldn't be so ...". seems i was wrong. the funny thing is that i use macs for about six years and guess that i was confident that this wouldn't happen because till now nothing really bad happened.

i can't provide any additional specific information. the leopard installation was made from scratch, the software attaching deeper to the os on this system is little snitch, parallels and the latest vpn software from cisco. i would consider this no problem.

i found at least one more occurence of this desaster: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=5789519&#5789519.

i just can give out the warning that if you see the popup the guest accounts triggers about erasing the files and you know you are not logged in as guest CLONE YOUR COMPLETE USERFOLDER IMMEDIATLY.

please spare me with the "don't use any 10.x.0 sofware in production" or "always make backup" because that would be insult to injury. if anyone is couragous/bold enough, he or she might try out what is going on with the guest account handling. i'm done with that.
Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • sheldonc Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 13, 2007 11:47 AM (in response to ecolot)
    Wow, ecolot, that sounds pretty bad. Thanks for the tip.

    Did you report this to Apple?

    I'm also surprised that Time Machine did not save any info for your home directory for 5 days. The post you cite says she was fortunate to be able to recover her lost files immediately.

    Keep us posted if you find out the cause1
    MacBook Pro Core Duo, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Jonathan T Calculating status...
    i actually have the exact same problem!!!!

    this is the craziest thing i've ever seen.

    and to think that i though that the guest account reset was a really cool feature!!!

    never though a unix 03 certified system could screw user permissions so BAAAAD

    any ideas on how to go about this?

    thanks,

    jon
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.1)
  • MJWeb Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    Wow, that's bad news! Obviously, don't log out until you clone your drive or user directory. Also, call Apple. Good luck.
    MBP C2D Glossy - 160/2 GB - 1.5 TB - Dell 2407 - Samsung 4661F - Logitech Z5500, Mac OS X (10.5), XP Pro/Boot Camp (deleted) - iLife/iWorks 08 - CS3 - Nano Video 8GB
  • gudbandsdalsost Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2007 1:30 PM (in response to MJWeb)
    I have the same huge problem here, and i dare not log out. I'm cloning my disk at the moment, eagerly anticipating a solution.

    Is it not possible to restore a file containing the proper ownership settings using time machine?
    iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 768mb, 1.2ghz
  • biovizier Level 5 Level 5 (7,925 points)
    Are you saying the warning message about erasing the "home" directory popped up, but you are logged in to a non-Guest account? And that you realized what it was saying and are in the process of backing up your data before logging out?

    Once you are sure that your backup is complete and in good shape, one thing that might prevent your "home" from being deleted is "locking" something.

    Locking the whole "home" folder would have the best chance of working, but might prove inconvenient for general use. However, while tinkering with the "Guest" account, I noticed that the presence of a single locked file or folder anywhere in the "home" folder was enough to prevent the deletion of the "/Users/Guest" folder. I have no way of knowing if the same conditions apply when the system incorrectly thinks your account is the "Guest" account, though. Items can be locked by ctrl-clicking them in "Finder", choosing "Get Info" and checking the "Locked" checkbox.

    Also, it might be interesting to see if any processes are running as "Guest". Eg. if anything turns up if you launch "/Applications" > "Utilities" > "Terminal.app" and enter:<pre>id
    ps aux |grep [G]uest</pre>

    Sorry, I haven't used "Time Machine" first hand so I can't offer any advice about restoring a full "home" folder from a "Time Machine" backup.

    Edit: Actually, I wonder if you called Apple if they could get you in touch with an engineer before logging out. This is a serious issue, but its incidence seems pretty low which probably makes it hard to debug. An Apple engineer would presumably have some idea of how to go about examining the state of your machine...
  • gudbandsdalsost Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    The message (exactly the same one as in guest account) pops up in my Admin account, which is the only account on my computer. No processes belonging to guest is running. My worries are that my backup will have the same problem, so when i am booting into the clone, that one will also be erased. It is afterall a clone. By then i will have figured out if locking a file/folder was suficcient to prevent this.

    Calling Apple seems to be the only way really.

    Actually, I just thought of another thing to try when the cloning has finished. Using time machine I can restore /Library or ~/library from the day before my latest boot. That should deal with it don't you think?

    What I have tried:
    logging in to, then out of a guest account.
    deactivating guest accounts
    repairing permissions
    run an almost full onyx automation.
    iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 768mb, 1.2ghz
  • nerowolfe Level 6 Level 6 (13,070 points)
    Dual G5, MacBookPro 15, MacBookPro3,1 17 Core2Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.1), Vista Ultimate 64-bit on MBP/17"
  • nerowolfe Level 6 Level 6 (13,070 points)
    I wonder what would have happened if you forced a shutdown before the files were deleted. Would they have been erased on reboot? Or might that have saved them?
    This account sounds dangerous to me. Best to leave it off.

    Message was edited by: nerowolfe
    Dual G5, MacBookPro 15, MacBookPro3,1 17 Core2Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.1), Vista Ultimate 64-bit on MBP/17"
  • gudbandsdalsost Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I found a solution that seems to be harmless. I thougt i would quit all of my processes, like quicksilver, salling clikcer, different helpers to se if it would make a difference. Then I saw the process loginwindow, and quit it, by using activity monitor. I didn't know the function of this process, but i thought that leopard would notify me if killing it had a more serious outcome (like trying to quit windowserver in tiger did). But it didn't so I was abruptly logged out. I logged in again, and everything was there. I restarted again, and everything seems to be untouched. The malplaced guest-quit message is gone. I won't draw any conclusions from this as I'm not sure it behaves this well all the time.

    Message was edited by: gudbandsdalsost
    iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 768mb, 1.2ghz
  • gudbandsdalsost Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I see now that it did warn me, I must have overlooked it.
    iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 768mb, 1.2ghz
  • MJWeb Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    So, are you OK now or did you get the erase warning again? With a clone in hand you could do a fresh Leopard install and then use Migration Assistant. I'd definitely call Apple if it's not straightened out.
    MBP C2D Glossy - 160/2 GB - 1.5 TB - Dell 2407 - Samsung 4661F - Logitech Z5500, Mac OS X (10.5), XP Pro/Boot Camp (deleted) - iLife/iWorks 08 - CS3 - Nano Video 8GB
  • gudbandsdalsost Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2007 12:30 PM (in response to MJWeb)
    It's all good:) No freaky messages, and nothing lost.
    iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 768mb, 1.2ghz
  • MJWeb Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    cool:)
    MBP C2D Glossy - 160/2 GB - 1.5 TB - Dell 2407 - Samsung 4661F - Logitech Z5500, Mac OS X (10.5), XP Pro/Boot Camp (deleted) - iLife/iWorks 08 - CS3 - Nano Video 8GB
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