Locked out of iMac

willywarbucks

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 2, 2019
5
0
Hi there, here's my problem:

iMac, 27" Late 2015, running Mojave

Was getting unresponsive today and got worse until every few seconds I'd get spinning beach balls etc. Programs wouldnt load. Folders wouldnt open. Mouse wouldn't freeze tho, so it's not like the system totally crashed.

Apple help suggested a few things like various resets, but I'd tried those procedures already.

iMac acted the same way in Safe Mode too.

They suggested reinstalling the OS. I did that and it got to 100% on the progress bar and stopped there. I waited 30 mins then gave up. I forced the iMac to shutdown and tried installing the OS again as advised by customer support.

This time the OS seemed to complete installation. But I was met with a login screen with no users on it. I only have 1 user. 'william'. aka me. But I was nowhere to be seen.

I've started up in single user mode to list the files on my computer and they're all still there. Including the folder 'william' in the Users folder.

But somehow, the OS isn't linking that up/recognising 'william' as a user.

Terminal via Recovery Mode shows users as daemon, nobody and root.

At this point I'd be quite happy to do a full fresh reinstall of the OS. I have my work on an ext HD. and my home folder is backed up online (Backblaze).

But obviously this still scares me. I'm sure there's some files I'm not thinking of. My fonts folder in the user's system folder is one that isn't backed up. Professional Graphic Designer by trade, idiot by nature.

Is there any way of accessing any files or backing them up in any way shape or form?

Thanks so much,
-Will
 

jerwin

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2015
2,453
4,448
I've started up in single user mode to list the files on my computer and they're all still there. Including the folder 'william' in the Users folder.

But somehow, the OS isn't linking that up/recognising 'william' as a user.
Macos has a place to put william's files, if it knew of a user known as william. Apparently, it doesn't.

This supoort document might prove useful, if somewhat dangerous.
Change the name of your macOS user account and home folder
 

willywarbucks

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 2, 2019
5
0
Hm I would re-run the setup assistant, make a new admin account, and see if yours is in /Users/

http://www.theinstructional.com/guides/how-to-re-run-the-os-x-setup-assistant
I got freaked out by work deadlines, realised that I actually do have backups of most things and wasn't patient enough to try this. I tried to clean install a new OS but have messed that up somehow. I've posted a new thread as things have moved on from here. https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/fusion-drive-is-split-up.2188412/
 

Ruggy

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2017
246
153
Is there any way of accessing any files or backing them up in any way shape or form?

Well if you have an external hard disk available then it's possible to install a copy of the OS and boot from that over USB.
It can be very sluggish or very sprightly depending on the speed of the HD and the connection but a good SSD over USB, will give you access to you files quickly- otherwise a big transfer would take hours.

If the disk is encrypted, however i fear you will be out of luck.

As to the 'william' user. Are you sure you've set it up with exactly the same name? You didn't have 'William' before and you've set it up as 'william' now.
I only say because I did pretty much that. You think you know something because you look at it every day but actually, that's the sort of thing you are likely to forget because you don't really look at it.
But changing the user name can make it very hard to extract files in my experience, even from a time machine back up.
Good luck.
Afterthought: it should be possible to mount it as a drive from another computer too. Mac would be best because Windows probably can't read the file format.
 
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