3 Replies Latest reply: Nov 24, 2010 10:00 AM by Boscoh
Boscoh Level 1 Level 1
Hi folks,

I shut down my MBP earlier today and started it up this evening to find that all of my desktop settings, system settings, application settings, and desktop/dock icons are all gone and set to default. It's like I'm using an entirely new profile. I have checked to see if my home directory is renamed and it isn't. All of my normal icons are within <user>/Desktop. I have one application in particular called SofToken which is critical to me being able to VPN into work, and the settings for it are wiped out...the only way for me to fix that is to be physically connected to the corporate network which isn't an option right now. So for work purposes (which is what this laptop is for), I'm hosed.

I have tried a simple reboot. Tried repairing permissions (with a reboot). I don't have a time machine backup (yes, shame on me).

I've googled this extensively and have found a number of similar questions with no definitive answers. Surely someone knows what the deal is and how to fix it. I'm not a Mac OS wizard, as I'm a recent convert from a life long addiction to Windows.

I have not installed a program or an update for DAYS, so it should not be that.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated!

MBP 15" Mid-2009, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Király Level 6 Level 6
    What had you been using to make backups, if not Time Machine?
  • Boscoh Level 1 Level 1
    External hard drive. Most of my data is not local, so I have very few files that actually need to be backed up.
  • Boscoh Level 1 Level 1
    I figured this out. Somehow the home directory for my account got changed to /. Not really sure how that happened, but once I changed it back to /Users/<username> all my settings came back. A note for anyone trying to figure out if this happened to you...right click on your blank desktop and click "Get Info". The location under "Where" will tell you where the Desktop folder is located on your hard drive. If it isn't /Users/<your_username> there is a good chance your account's home directory got changed. To fix, go into System Preferences>Accounts>Right Click your Account and go under Advanced Options to change the home directory. If the blank desktop is under /Users/<your_username> then your original home directory likely got renamed.

    Once my settings came back, however, the Desktop was still blank. I had an empty Desktop folder in / from my messed up home directory, and I couldn't delete it through Finder. So a quick trip to terminal and a
    sudo su root
    cd /
    rm -r Desktop

    then a logout and login and my Desktop was back to it's normal self.

    Message was edited by: Boscoh