9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2012 3:00 PM by Mattand
Mattand Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hey, all:

 

I have a bit of an esoteric question regarding user accounts.

 

I'm having a problem in my account where a specific program misbehaves and no amount of troubleshooting is solving the problem (including reinstallation.) The program in question (Painter 11) behaves fine on the other 2 accounts on this machine.

 

Here's my question: If I delete my account and recreate it with the same short, long username, and password will I still be able to access my files? In other words, will be able to just simply add back files without experiencing permissions issues (particularly stuff in the Home folder)?

 

I've got everything backed up three ways to Sunday, so there won't be any data loss. Worst case scenario is that I reinstall from Time Machine. TIA for any help.


iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • 1. Re: Duplicate user account
    jsd2 Level 5 Level 5 (6,200 points)

    I'm not sure what you have in mind as a goal and how you intend to get there.

     

    Something to be aware of, though, is that in  addition to a long name, short name, and password, a user account also carries a special number called a UID (user ID number), which is usually assigned in the order the account was created, starting with the number 501, and it is that UID number that is used by the system to keep track of file ownership. It is possible for a newly created account to have the same names and password as a previously deleted account and yet not own the previous account's files because of a different UID.  For example if there is a UID mismatch between a user account and items on an external drive,  the new user account may be unable to immediately access any protected items there that were created by the former user account, even if the names and password of the new account are the same as the old.

     

    I convinced myself of this with this experiment that I ran last year:

    ---------

    I have a "test clone" on an external drive that I use for tinkering. On my internal drive there is an account named "t", with parameters as follows:

     

    Longname: t; Shortname: t; UID: 503

    .

    While booted from the external drive, I set up two accounts there as follows:

     

    Longname:t; Shortname: t ; UID 504

    and

    Longname:harry; Shortname: harry; UID: 503

     

    The question then is when booted from the external drive, which user can access the restricted "t" subfolders (Documents, Music, etc) on the internal drive, the user with the matching shortname or the user with the matching UID?

     

    The answer is harry, the user with the same UID but a different shortname!   User "harry" had full access to the "t" files on the internal drive despite the different name; while the 't" user on the external drive could not see into the restricted subfolders of "t" on the internal drive.

    --------------------

     

    Even so, there should be ways of getting around this as an operational issue if the external drive is a data disk or clone. I don't know about Time Machine.

  • 2. Re: Duplicate user account
    fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Mattand wrote:

     

    If I delete my account and recreate it with the same short, long username, and password will I still be able to access my files?

    Assuming this is possible, how do you know that being 'able to access my files' doesn't mean that the problem will be re-created? After all, you don't know what the problem is. This KB article

     

    <http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1428>

     

    may have the answer to the proximate problem. But it may not solve the real issue, ie, getting Painter 11 to behave.

     

    IMHO, you should go either of two ways. Troubleshoot the Painter problem until you fix it, or create a new user account and bring over the old files, changing owner and permissions as required (I suspect that changing owner is enough, and that could be done, using find and chown, in a single pass). This

     

    <http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3309>

     

    shows you how to do it the easy (but tedious) way.

  • 3. Re: Duplicate user account
    X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)

    Here's my question: If I delete my account and recreate it with the same short, long username, and password will I still be able to access my files? In other words, will be able to just simply add back files without experiencing permissions issues (particularly stuff in the Home folder)?

     

    Assuming you can do that what's the point?  Nothing would have changed in that account?  Whatever is wrong with that account would still be preserved.

  • 4. Re: Duplicate user account
    X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)

    I'm having a problem in my account where a specific program misbehaves and no amount of troubleshooting is solving the problem (including reinstallation.) The program in question (Painter 11) behaves fine on the other 2 accounts on this machine.

     

    What does "misbehaves" mean?  What happens?

     

    Is Painter 11 only powerpc code?  If it is there should be some indication of that in the finder Get Info of that file (app).

  • 5. Re: Duplicate user account
    Mattand Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Legitmate question. The idea is to basically start fresh with the user account and reinstall only the basic stuff I need. The account was copied using Migration Assitant and not created "fresh", as it were.

     

    Painter works properly in the other 2 accounts, so there's obviously something in my account causing the problem. Trashing prefs and reinstalling from scratch hasn't fixed the problem.

     

    Painter is written for Intel. The two problems that are affecting me are the tab key not hiding pallettes, and the inabilitly to resize vector objects. The issues may seem relatively minor, but trip up my work flow big time.

     

    I'm thinking just creating a new account and adjusting file permissions as suggested above is the path of least resistance here.

  • 6. Re: Duplicate user account
    Mattand Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @fane:

     

    I'm guessing that there's some 3rd party software or utitlty that's causing Painter to misbehave. The other 2 accounts are much more basic than mine, and Painter doesn't act up in those. I'm just sick of trying to hunt the culprit down with no success.

     

    I think you're right with creating the new account. I'm worried I'm going to be dealing with file ownership issues if I go this route, but your link looks helpful. Appreciate the help.

  • 7. Re: Duplicate user account
    Mattand Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @jsd2

     

    Your geek fu is obviously way stronger than mine

     

    Appreciate the help. The UID thing you encountered is just the sort of issue I was worried about. I'm thinking fane's advice of creating a new account and "washing" files through the Shared folder may be the way to go.

     

    Thanks again.

  • 8. Re: Duplicate user account
    jsd2 Level 5 Level 5 (6,200 points)

    I'm guessing that there's some 3rd party software or utitlty that's causing Painter to misbehave.

     

    I would try a Safe Boot if you haven't already done so.

     

    If the Safe Boot still shows the problem, then I would test for the presence of a "Flashback" trojan, although it seems to me unlikely in your particular case. This can cause applications to fail in one user account but not in others, with the problem apparently not originating in the user Preference folder. A common manifestation is that PPC programs crash completely, but it's at least conceivable that it could also cause an  Intel program to have impaired function.

     

    Although perhaps a longshot, the test is easy. Log into the affected user account, and launch Terminal (in the Utilities folder). Copy-paste the following line into the Terminal window, and then press <return>:

     

    defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment

     

    Copy the response you see, and post it back here. If you see something like this, you are OK:

    Domain /Users/<username>/.MacOSX/environment does not exist

     

    However a response that includes something similar to this means trouble:

    "DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES" = "/Users/Shared/.libgmalloc.dylib"

  • 9. Re: Duplicate user account
    Mattand Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @jsd2:

     

    Screw the Genius Bar. I'm coming to you for advanced troubleshooting from now on 

     

    Don't remember if I ran Safe Boot before, but I just did it a few minutes ago. Problems still persists.

     

    Ran the Terminal search and didn't get the Flashback response. I did get a response that DAZ Studios' 3D program is present. This was installed long after the Painter problems began. Again, since this doesn't happen in the othe two accounts, something in my account is obviously interfering with Painter.

     

    I stand corrected about Painter being Intel only; turns out it's a universal binary. It does crash a lot, but that's more a function of Corel's code monkey prowess than any virus.

     

    I might try blasting every instance of Painter on the iMac one more time and reinstallI. It's a bit of pain in that I have to make sure all of my custom brush libraries are at least backed up. There's not that many of them, but I wonder if there's something off in there that causing this..

     

    I think at this point the best way to deal with this is to take fane's advice and create a new account and adjust file persmissions as they occur. Thanks again to everyone for the help.