Snow Leopard Bug Responsible for Loss of User Data Gaining Notice

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by fpbecker, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. fpbecker macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Major bug in Snow Leopard deletes all user data

    Reports have been cropping up on the Apple Support forums that users have been losing all their data due to a nasty bug in Snow Leopard, Apple's latest Operating System. Many users are reporting that all settings are being reset and most data is gone, according to iTWire.

    The problem, can easily be reproduced when a user logs into the 'guest' account, either on purpose or by accident, and when they log back out of the account and back into their normal one, they find that their account has been fully reset with all data wiped and lost - the account is like a brand new one. The home directory still exists under "/Users/username" but is completely empty.

    Users are reporting that the data is unrecoverable and cannot be found anywhere on the hard drive, and the only way to restore it is if the user has been performing backups on a separate hard-drive. Apparently the problem has been present since a few days after launch, as the forum post dates back to 12th September, but as of yet, Apple has been silent.

    It seems the only work around at this stage is to disable the Guest account, or at least disable it and then re-enabling it so that it's a native Snow Leopard account. Another suggestion is to create a new account and enforce parental controls, if you really need a temporary account.

    It's not clear how many users are affected, but it seems like any user who had Leopard before the upgrade, and had the guest account enabled are affected and are at risk.

    News source:

    How did that bug slip past Apple's QA, and why hasn't it been fixed yet?
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    tested on my own machine (10.6.1). Files are still in tact.
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    *********. That's not good :eek:

    There's no reason for anyone to go any where near a guest account on my system, but I'm gonna make sure it's disabled anyway.

    Can you imagine the outcry if Windows was doing this?
  4. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I'm sorry I'm going to have to call BS on this one, or else extremely isolated. Not only can I not reproduce the problem on either snow leopard machine I have in front of me but I'm sure we would have seen something on engadget or macrumors much earlier.
  5. teekayess macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2009
    Raleigh, NC; Dhaka, Bangladesh
    applications gone missing in snow leopard

    Machine: 17" MacBook Pro - first model introduced with Intel
    • I installed Snow Leopard and my hard drive icon disappeared off the desktop.
    • Then I noticed degradation of performance of routine tasks (click and drag, opening files)
    • next programs started to lock up; machine turned to molasses
    • text entry for anything (email, Word, etc.) limited to 6-8 characters then lockup for 15-30 seconds, sometimes longer
    • searched for applications folder and it was missing
    • went into time machine: apps folder missing
    • went back as far as I could (11 months) and found only original apps file, but could not restore them by any means, starting with simple Time Machine restoration
    • AFter three failed attempts at Time Machine restoration, I blanked the drive and reinstalled Leopard 10.5.8 and restored some of my programs, but now my iPhoto has gone missing.
    • reinstalled twice, same result
    • basic functions of other programs and operating system okay, but with iPhoto disappearing, I'm more than a little uneasy.

    Question: what now?
  6. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Just a feature. If you'd have taken a look around, you'd have noticed you simply have to turn that back on from the Finder's preferences.

    The rest of that sounds like a failing hard drive, though it doesn't explain the backups not being there (assuming they really weren't there and that you weren't just not finding them). It would make sense with the failed restore from backups as well.

  7. teekayess macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2009
    Raleigh, NC; Dhaka, Bangladesh
    Snow Leopard deletes apps files

    Thanks for the tip on the "feature" . . . but if the apps were there, then clicking the icon for something, say a Word file, would still produce the program, yes? Five days ago the apps file was visible, as was my hard drive icon (though not after second Snow Leopard installation).

    But the degradation got to the point where nothing would even mount.

    All I got was a string of question marks in my dock, no apps file, and nothing would work. When I would click on a Word document or photoshop document, I would get a message saying: No application designated for this action (or something along those lines), so I would search, and no applications were available. After Time Machine restore at three different dates (one ten days ago, one three months ago, and one from the beginning eleven months ago--in that order) no apps, nothing would work.

    DAta files, however, seem to be intact (unlike those of several friends who have lost everything). Except of course for iPhoto files which have disappeared.

    Any other suggestions?

    As you can see I"m a user, not a tech person, and I am sitting in Bangladesh, several thousand miles from able technicians in Singapore (in spite of the "authorized Apple reseller" here in Dhaka).

    17" MacBook Pro, 2.16 GHz, 2 GB 6p67 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, etc.
  8. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
  9. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    As always, users should be backing up their data. If it's not important enough to backup, it's okay for it to be deleted.
  10. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Thanks, this is great to know. Just disabled guest account though it has never been used and I did a clean install and have two backups but it would be another few hours if my data will get deleted
  11. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Did you read my post? Your hard drive is failing (most likely). You'll need to get it repaired. If you can't fix it yourself (sounds like you're not interested in that), then you'll have to find someone who you can take it to. If you're in warranty, Apple will replace that drive. If you didn't have a backup, though, then figure on your data being lost (though sounds like you've got everything but pictures). If you haven't yet, back up everything you can, and then get that to someone who can fix it for you.


    EDIT: and just in case you can't figure out what I'm saying, your problem has absolutely nothing to do with Snow Leopard. This is a hardware problem.
  12. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    Snow Leopard Bug Responsible for Loss of User Data Gaining Notice


    Late last week, 9 to 5 Mac noted that a number of users have reported a Mac OS X Snow Leopard bug apparently related to Guest accounts that is resulting in a complete loss of user data. The problem appears to manifest itself on machines which had the Guest account option enabled under Leopard and were subsequently upgraded to Snow Leopard. Users booting their machines have reported that upon start-up, they have been logged into the Guest account. Upon switching to their regular account, the affected users have been finding all of their user data missing and unrecoverable except from a backup.

    Further investigation revealed initial reports of the problem in early September, soon after Snow Leopard's launch.
    One suggestion for preventing data deletion is for users who had Guest accounts enabled under Leopard and then upgraded to Snow Leopard to disable the Guest account and then reenable it. This results in fresh Guest account settings created under Snow Leopard, reportedly eliminating the problem.

    Several threads on the issue have popped up on Apple's support forums, but Apple has yet to make an official acknowledgement of the problem.

    Article Link: Snow Leopard Bug Responsible for Loss of User Data Gaining Notice
  13. macintologist macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    I had a guest account in Leopard, I upgraded to Snow Leopard and now I just realized I can't access the Account settings in System Preferences! I wonder if this is related to this story.
  14. SimonTheSoundMa macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2006
    Birmingham, UK
    Or you could just be a Sidekick user and enjoy Microsoft/Danger loosing all your data.

    Just think if Apple lost data to do with .Mac/MobileMe.
  15. kupua macrumors member

    May 19, 2005
    This is not the only data loss, SL is also causing data loss by means of USB and FireWire External drives. What I don't understand is why this is taking apple so long to address this issue. ITS a BIG DEAL
  16. Macminiintel macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2007
    I just installed Snow Leopard on 28 iMacs at my college, they run on the Guest & student accounts, no one has reported data loss to the head of the media department, I just help out, because I know a fair bit about Macs and the main I.T techs at my college don't really. I'll ask tomorrow though

    I haven't had any issues either with any of my Macs at home. My MacBook running snow leopard is backing up fine to my RAID, as are my 3 Mac minis to there external hard drives
  17. madrag macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2007
    that's something I didn't expect with the OS so far away from the start line :(

    I'm glad I don't use guest accounts and that I haven't upgraded to SL.

    Backup seems to be the word of the day.
  18. iRez macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2004
    stupid crap, this happened to me and to top it off my time machine backup is all of a sudden not recognizable with ANY machine i plug it in. I thought snow leopard was to alleviate issues, not ruin my life with them. Good thing I saved my home folder on another drive and managed to save my music and photos and vids but there go all my fonts, my design work from the last month and a half, and all else that i wish i had but don't anymore. CCC never gave me the issues i've had time and time and time again with time machine (on three different external drives). APPLE YOU HAVE TONS OF MONEY SAVED, PLEASE INVEST MORE INTO YOUR OPERATING SYSTEMS AND COMPUTERS. YES, WE ALL LOVE OUR IPODS AND IPHONES AND APPLE TVS AND WHAT NOT BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR COMPUTERS!?!?!?!
  19. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    It must be happening fairly infrequently. Nevertheless, any kind of data loss is very, very serious.
  20. ghostface147 macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2008
    No problems here whatsoever. Time Machine works great, no data issues.
  21. Oshawapilot macrumors newbie


    Jan 25, 2007
    Courtice Ontario Canada
    Don't get me wrong, it's a serious bug and it's potentially a PITA for anyone who encounters it, but an era of <$100 1TB external hard drives and the utter simplicity of Time Machine, the amount of pity I feel for people who don't backup anymore is dropping exponentially by the month.
  22. Vulpinemac macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2007
    Care to detail your allegations? I personally use a USB drive as an emergency boot drive and I haven't seen any issues like you describe. I also have two different Firewire drives attached (500GB FW400 and 1TB FW800) with no data losses. If any place, the corruption I'm finding is in the SATA internal drive.
  23. ChocoboLee macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Yeah, but if you couple the Snow Leopard guest account data loss with a 18 month old dead Time Machine, you've got yourself a very pissed off customer.
  24. Morky macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2002

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