Corrupted user account El Capitan

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by dangerfish, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. dangerfish, Oct 25, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015

    dangerfish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #1
    I started the update process to an iMac on Friday from 10.11 to 10.11.1. I checked the computer today and it had me input my iCloud password and indicated that it was finishing the update process. But then the user account I normally use on this computer appears to be corrupted. None of the applications can be launched. The whole thing is sluggish and not useable. Constantly spinning beach ball.
    I am able to log into my other user account and it behaves normally. I ran the first aid utility under disk utility through the account that is working but it didn't seem to have any affect on the other account. I've tried switching my startup disk to a Super Duper back up but its not letting me for some reason. All the applications say they can't be opened because "they may be damaged or incomplete." Any thoughts on what is going on and what I can do to fix this?
    Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 7.29.08 PM.png
     
  2. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
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    Italy
    #2
    Hi, maybe the update to OS X 10.11.1 didn't complete or something related to your account was corrupted during the update process.
    A possible solution could be to login using the broken account and try to run the software update via shell: You say apps aren't working but if you can open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app then type “softwareupdate -l” (hit enter, it will take a while to finish). If something will be listed then type “softwareupdate -a”.
    This will install all the pending updates. I don't know if this can fix your issue but sometimes works. Good luck.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    California
    #3
    Sounds like you have a launch or startup item in the main account that is causing a conflict. Just as a test, boot into the messed up account by holding the shift key at boot to get into safe mode. Safe mode bypasses all launch and startup items. If it works okay in safe mode, then you know it is a launch item or status item in that account causing the problem. Let us know how that works out.
     
  4. MrBungleBear macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    I have exactly the same issue as dangerfish. I have tried everything except creating another account and moving everything over... because it's such a pain in the butt to do! There has to be a solution to this - I have seen a number of people across the various forums with this exact issue. Until there is a fix, I am pretty much either dead in the water or facing the tedium of migration assistant and other pain...

    Oh - and we can't open the terminal enric0 - none of the applications appear in the broken account. Utilities do, but they icons are screwy and none of them will launch.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    #5
    Just to clarify, I am not suggesting making a new account as the fix. That is just a troubleshooting step. If everything works fine in the new account, then we know it is something running in the old account causing the conflict. My next step would be to use the app Etrecheck to show everything running in the old account, then start removing third party items that are running until we find the offender.
     
  6. MrBungleBear macrumors newbie

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    May 1, 2008
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    UK
    #6
    Safe mode makes no difference, so it's not likely to be an extension of any kind... Looks very much like corruption in that one account, but I can't even guess what kind of corruption as the behaviour is very odd.

    One thing to note: if you wait long enough (like a minute per file), the applications or files start appearing, but only ever with their base icon (i.e.: all applications are there with the App icon (you know, the paper with the pen, pencil and ruler make the letter A)) and they are non functional, i.e.: you can't run any apps as they will crap out saying that they are missing or incomplete.

    Other fun fact - in my All My Files bit, I did indeed see Apple's idea of all my files... and I saw a Word doc. For fun, I double clicked it and, hey presto, it opened in Word! SO, in fact, everything is there and it all works (otherwise the machine would not boot, and I would not be able to log in to my account) but my account isn't seeing any of it properly. Finally, the other accounts on the machine work perfectly!

    This is nuts!
     
  7. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

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    Italy
    #7
    If I understand correctly you have another admin account that is working fine, then given the situation, I think the easiest fix is to rebuild the broken account preserving its directory structure. It may sound scary but it’s actually quite easy and fast. Before proceeding is always better to make a backup of the sensible files you may have in the broken user's account folder.
    First you have to login using the working account then open the system preferences and go to "Users and Groups". From there you have to locate and select the corrupted account and click on the minus button to delete it (maybe you have to unlock changes clicking on the lock icon first).
    At this point the system will prompt you with options to "Save the home folder in a disk image", "Don’t change the home folder" and "Delete the home folder". You must select "Don’t change the home folder" to leave the account's home folder as is, in its current location inside Users folder, and then you have to continue by clicking "Delete User".
    This way you have deleted the user account but you have preserved all its local data and preferences.
    The system may rename the home directory of the deleted user by appending "(Deleted)" to the folder name itself, in this case you have to rename the folder yourself by giving the same name it had previously, e.g if the user’s name is Joe you have to rename "Joe (Deleted)" to "Joe" without any spaces before and after.
    Now you have to go back to "Users and Groups" and add a new account by clicking on the plus button, here you have to carefully give the exact same full and short name to the account as the name of the user folder (e.g. Joe) then the system will detect the existing home folder with the same name of the user account and will popup a dialog warning with the option to use that folder for the new account home, you have to click "Use Existing Folder" then, after the setup complete, the account will be restored. Now you should be able to login with the restored account and find all your files and apps working.
    Maybe this is not a perfect solution but it not require you to move files from an account to another and for sure is better than modify system files by hand if you don’t have the experience and the know how to do that.

    P.S. If you do not have another administrator account there are some other steps (a bit more tricky) involving reboot in Single-User mode to create it before.

    Hope this can help.
     
  8. MrBungleBear macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Enric0 - that sounds awesome - I am stuck between "I've always said that enric0 guy was a clever guy" and "why the heck didn't I think of that after using Macs since 1988??!!"

    I am backing up about to give that a go - I'll post back with the results.

    G>
     
  9. dangerfish thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #9
    Enric0,

    Your idea scares me a little bit. I think I may try that as a last ditch effort.
    To summarize, I do have another working admin account. No issues with it. I have tried booting into safe mode in the affected main account and it is not any better. I was able to get a copy of the 10.11.1 combo update onto the affected account and was able to install it. This DID bring back all my applications and I can launch them however things are still not running properly. Everything is VERY slow. Running First Aid in Disk Utilities does not fix anything.
    I have a Parallels VM in the affected account (the main reason I use this account) and it is also not functioning normally although I can get it to run programs.
    I also noticed something interesting. As I said, I started the original update (from the App Store) last Friday. I have Time Machine, Super Duper and CCC all running and NONE of them have any backups since then. The backups now appear to be working since I got the combo update installed.
     
  10. dangerfish, Oct 27, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015

    dangerfish thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #10
    So I was about to try Enric0's idea but thought I would do a test first. I created a new Admin account and saved a pdf, contact and Word document in that account. Then I went back to one of the other Admin accounts and deleted the user as instructed above and left the User folder as it was. Then went to look to see if the deleted Users folder was still that and it is not. So I created the new test account again and logged into one of the other Admin accounts. The new test account Home folder isn't listed in the Users folder. There should be folder called "Test" in the screen shot. There is nothing relevant in the "shared" user folder. Why would I not be seeing the newly created users folders? I'm afraid to delete the affected user account because of this.

    Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 12.10.06 PM.png
     
  11. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
    Location:
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    #11
    I’m sorry, I don't know what's going on with your Mac but it seems that your newly created user's home folder is hidden for some reason or maybe a third party app (that I’m not aware of) has moved the Users path to another drive / volume (if you didn’t do it yourself, and I don't think so, something wrong is going on here).
    Try this: open the terminal and type "ls -la /Users" (hit enter) a list of all the directories contained in the Users folder will be displayed. If you can find your "Test" directory then it means it is hidden and you can try this: "sudo chflags nohidden /Users/Test" - you have to input your user password to execute the command and after the execution the "Test" folder should be visible also using the Finder.
     
  12. dangerfish thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 28, 2007
    #12
    Well, I ran the first command and did find the test accounts. I believe the screen grab shows the account that I deleted and the new one I created that hasn't been deleted yet. When I ran the second terminal command, it initially asked for my password but kept rejecting it. Now its not asking for my password and is instead just saying that there is no such file or directory. Neither user folder is visible yet under Users.
    Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 1.58.11 PM.png
     
  13. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

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    Italy
    #13
    You have a "test (Deleted)" folder (as of my explanation, the system had not deleted it but renamed it) and a "testaccount" folder that belong to your second account created and both are hidden indeed.
    So you have to run this command < sudo chflags nohidden "/Users/test (Deleted)" > and this one < sudo chflags nohidden "/Users/testaccount" > to make both directory visible in Finder. Type the command inside <> including the quote marks. When prompted to enter the password, you should input the password of the account you are currently logged-in.
     
  14. dangerfish thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #14
    Thanks Enric0,

    I think I was leaving out the " " symbols. I'll try again when I go in to work tomorrow. Thanks for your help!

    Jay
     
  15. MrBungleBear macrumors newbie

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    UK
    #15
    Hi enric0 - your fix worked flawlessly for me! All working 100% on 10.11.1 :)

    Thanks!
    G>
     
  16. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

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    #16
    You're welcome.
     
  17. dangerfish thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 28, 2007
    #17
    I was finally able to get my "test" accounts to behave as you said they should so I went ahead and did the procedure as described on the affected account. And it worked! I got the account back and its functioning. Thanks so much for your help!
     
  18. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

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    Italy
    #18
    Glad to help.
     
  19. MrBungleBear macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
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    UK
    #19
    As an addendum, I upgraded my McPro (early 2008) to 10.11.1 - this time, I created and admin user account to use purely for upgrades, and did the update from that account, with only that one logged in on the box. The upgrade went flawless, and that account was 100% fine after the upgrade. With this account, I did not log in to iCloud when it was suggested - I skipped that step.

    I then logged out from that, and logged in to my usual account, logged in to iCloud when suggested and BANK - account borked as was the previous one. The fix suggested worked as before - remove the account, mv username\ \(deleted\) username then recreate the account, and all was well again.

    This leads me to believe that it's not the upgrade that shafts everything, but probably the sign-in to iCloud after changes made by the upgrade. I can't prove it, and don't have the time or energy to create more virtual machines in Parallels to test that, but... as they say on tv, the evidence is compelling.

    I'm going to go back to the other fora on which I posted the questions and (a) share enric0's solution and (b) suggest that the iCloud login may be the actual culprit. I'll post back here if anything interesting results from this.

    Again - thanks enric0 - I'llmake sure you get the credit on the other fora!

    G>
     
  20. engrob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    #20
    enric0. I can't thank you enough for this solution, it worked flawlessly. I was about to tear my hair out again for the 3rd time in 6months after going through this same problem on 3 different MAC's and updates (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7476671). Googling found nothing related to El Capitan update issues but somehow I luckily stumbled upon this thread and my system was fixed within 5 minutes. Please, if you have paypal or something I would love to donate some beer money or a nice bottle of wine (being from Italy!)

    Many many thanks,
    Engrob
     
  21. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

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    Italy
    #21
    Hello Engrob,
    Thanks for your kind words and your offer, but don't worry.
    We could do this: Let me know if you come to Italy on holiday one day, so we can go out to have a good glass of wine together. ;-)
     
  22. robert.rex macrumors newbie

    robert.rex

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    May 20, 2014
    Location:
    Glen Ellen, California
    #22
    I've narrowed the problem of crashing Adobe CC apps to a corrupt User account. A new user account runs the apps with no problem. Now I'm trying to fix my user account using enric0's instructions. However, when I hit - to delete my main user account the window regarding what to do with the home folder does not appear. I opened another test account and created some documents in it, thus creating a home folder I could identify. Then went back and hit - to delete this new test account and sure enough the dialog box asking what to do with the home folder appeared. I have now copied my main user folder to an external drive. If I delete my main user account can I create a new one using this saved folder? I can't afford to loose any of the data in my user folder.
     
  23. robert.rex macrumors newbie

    robert.rex

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    May 20, 2014
    Location:
    Glen Ellen, California
    #23
    I've decided to migrate data from my corrupted user account to a new clean account. I could find no fool proof solution to my issue as previously stated. Here is a good article on migrating the data: http://pondini.org/OSX/Transfer.html
     
  24. JudyJukebox macrumors newbie

    JudyJukebox

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    May 11, 2016
    #24
    enric0, I cannot thank you enough. I love you. I love you. I love you! I have been searching high and low for a solution to YouTube, Google images, and various sites not working for me since mid-2015 (but working fine from my kids' accounts on my MacBook). I have tried more 'solutions' that I care to think about. This, this was it. You have restored my peace and sanity. Thank you.
     
  25. enric0 macrumors newbie

    enric0

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    #25
    Thank you for your kind words Judy.
    I'm glad to help.
     

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