Account Rebuilding Question

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Kaizen123, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Kaizen123 macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2012
    Hello! I'm a new Mac technician and have been working at an Apple Authorized Repair Center for less than 3 months; just got my ACMT and ACTC certs as well.

    This is my first post here as I don't really know where else to ask. The guys I work with aren't all that helpful and take the "difficult" work from me without bothering to give me a clue as to what they are doing to fix the machine.

    Anyway.... There was an issue that stumped me the other day and I really want to know how to fix it:

    A customer brought in a Power Mac G4 running 10.4.11. They mentioned that they had bought the computer from someone else and, after buying it, changed the short name on the admin account so that it has their name. I told them the short name should never be changed, but what's done is done...

    They brought it to us because they forgot the admin password and wanted me to reset it. I used a Tiger installation disc to do the admin password reset (and no, I didn't reset the root account.) After the reset, I rebooted the computer and the admin account was gone from the log-in screen. It automatically logged in to their daughter's managed account. I went into System Preferences to the User section and the Sys Pref sceen acted strangely. It said "Loading Accounts..." at the top of the window. When I clicked again, it went blank. In the Finder window I checked to make sure the admin and managed account home folders were at least still on the system and they were. This is only the beginning of the troubles...

    After calling the customer to explain what happened, she wanted me to add another admin account to the computer. Since I couldn't add it using System Preferences, I asked my manager what to do. He said to do an archive & install with the Tiger disc. After doing that, no accounts would log-in to the computer. We got a log-in screen asking to type in a user name and password. He did a few things to it while I was at lunch and managed to create a new admin account, but the problem is that it isn't linked to both of the old accounts (other admin and managed) that are still on the system. Only the newly created admin account can be logged into now. He mentioned something about having to rebuild the accounts and gave it to the other guy to work on.

    What happened here? And what exactly does "rebuilding the accounts" entail?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. MacForScience, Mar 14, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012

    MacForScience macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2010
    There are two issues here:
    1.) the notion that you cannot change your short username is false, you simply have to do it correctly
    2.) the (no offense) way you tried fixing the issue was wrong

    For proper technique to change the short user name see:

    The Best Approach From First Moment
    Your best bet in that situation would be: (assuming you knew the daughters account worked)
    1.) Boot into single user mode
    2.) elevate the daughters permissions to admin by changing her group via dscl
    3.) login to daughters account
    4.) follow link instructions
    6.) remove the elevated permissions from the daughters account by unchecking the Allow Admin.

    (I may have missed a step its been a while since I have done such things to 10.4.)

    This is why its crucial to have a backup admin.

    Something like that would have had the best chance of success.

    To Rebuild At This Point:
    With the current situation your best bet to rebuild is to use that new admin to create new accounts for both users, and then use the terminal to transfer, and change the permissions on all the data files. I probably would clone the data off to a second drive. I would then do clean install and move the data back manually, unless they had a lot of apps like Photoshop which distribute stuff all over the HD.

  3. Kaizen123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2012
    Like I said, I am new at this. I assumed the way I was fixing it (actually it was my manager's way and I was duplicating his advice) was wrong. Everything he told me to do seemed to make it worse.

    Thanks for your answer. You are a lot more helpful than others I know...

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