I have done something which has caused me to lose my home folder and everything with it. I do not know how and have tried loads of things found in forum discussions to fix it but nothing works. I inherited my MacBook from my sister and I have no 10.4 disk to help. There is no Time Machine on it but I have got FireVault activated, not that I really understand what it does. I tried to upgrade from 10.4 to 10.6 but it told me I needed to partition my drive so I wanted to do a back up first. I reformatted a HP Personal Media external drive using Disk Utilities and tried to copy my Macintosh HD onto it. I got a message box telling me it was going to take 8 hours so I left it over night. When I checked on it the message now told me I did not have certain privileges so I cancelled. I shut the computer down thinking I would come back to it later to try again. When I logged in to my user I got a new message 'the home folder for user is not located in the usual place or cannot be accessed...' the desktop reverts back to a new user with no icons but the HD drive. I tried to find my user by going to Users/my user but I get a message 'the alias 'me' could not be opened, because the original item cannot be found.' I get the options 'delete alias' 'fix alias' 'OK'. Fix alias asks me to choose item I want the alias to open but nothing works and ok does nothing and I have not clicked delete. I have tried searching for my user, folders and files using spotlight but there is nothing. I have been to disk utility and repaired disk permissions and get the message 'The privileges have been verified or repaired on the selected volume' but nothing changes. I've tried a few commands, again I don't fully understand it all, and nothing. I have created a new user as an admin ad tried logging in and finding them that way, still nothing. I have lost my music, my portfolio, my documents and worst of all my photos. I have no back up and no OS X disk to load from. I have an appointment at an Apple store at the weekend but am hoping someone here can tell me what is going on.