Truly screwed up User folders

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dellavoce, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. dellavoce macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    #1
    So, I got married, which is great, and I changed my name, which is a pain. So, I wanted to change my name in my MacBook as well. I changed my user name in System Preferences pretty easily. When I log on, it has the right name, but if you go into finder and look in the Users folder, it had my old name (the one in all lower case letters no spaces). Naturally, I wanted to change that. I found instructions that said I should allow root user and sign in as that and change the name. So, I signed in as root user and instead of there being a home folder with my old name, there was just a regular folder, so I changed the name of the folder. Now, when I signed in as myself, all of my files were gone. In Finder, there are two user folders now, a home folder with my old name and a regular folder with my new name. The regular folder with my new name has all of my files, but they don't show up anywhere: the wallpaper is the default, no files in my iTunes, etc. So, now that you understand how I screwed up my computer, can anyone out there help?

    1. How do I actually rename the home folder?
    2. How do I get all my stuff back in the home folder?
     
  2. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    #3
    It is not enough to simply rename the home directory. You must maintain the user account to point to the renamed directory.

    Log back into the root user account, open up System Preferences and navigate to Users & Group. Click the lock (if it isn't unlocked) and then right click on your user in the left sidebar. Select "Advanced Options...". Change the entry under "Home directory:" to be the folder that you renamed that still has all of your stuff in it. Do not mess with anything else on this screen, or you could cause yourself more headaces!
     
  3. dellavoce thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    #4
    Afraid I really screwed up my MacBook Pro

    I posted about this one time before, and while I might have made progress, things are still not where they should be.

    Long story short, I wanted to change my user name and the name of my home folder. The user name was easily changed through System Preferences, but the home folder was a problem. I signed in as a root user, found the user folder with the name I wanted to change and changed it. When I logged back in, the home folder had the new name, but none of my files, settings, etc. were there. Everything was in another folder with the old name. Eventually, I was able to fix this, my files and settings were restored and I thought all was right.

    Fast forward a few days: I was converting a video file with HandBrake and it was supposed to save to the Desktop as always. It never showed up on the Desktop. Eventually, by using Spotlight, I found the file in a folder named Desktop but of course not "the" Desktop. Upon doing some research, I have found multiple Desktop folders, multiple Documents folders, etc. Any idea how to fix this? I got a new drive to start making Time Machine backups (after this debacle, I didn't want to take any risks!) but I can't get the back up to finish the first one. My husband's MacBook is backing up just fine, so I assume the problem is on my computer.

    Any ideas?
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    How did you fix the issue?

    I'd say create a new admin account, and start using that to see if any of the issues crop up. If not then you know its related to a corrupted user account.

    Putting on my Mod hat, I merged your threads as it is more confusing if you don't use your existing thread.
     
  5. dellavoce thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    #6
    Thank you.

    I used the method described above by ElectricSheep.

    I think I may be in over my head here. I don't know how to set up a new Administrator account, and I wouldn't know how to proceed from there. I'm feeling like I'm either going to have to go to the Geek Squad for help or back up my files and restore the computer to new condition. I'm thinking if I copy my User folder to an external, I could restore the computer and copy the contents of the User folder to the new restored home folder. That would work, wouldn't it?
     
  6. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #7
    You would have to be a very advanced OS X user to pull that off and maintain it through OS X upgrades.

    You could move two large files systems to connected externals or High Speed NAS. One thing is moving your iTunes Media Folder described the blog post How to move an iTunes library to an external drive. Another way is if you take a large group of pictures is to use the suggestion in the blog post Move the iPhoto Library to an External Hard Drive.

    Just make sure if you do this you have to keep a backup of this media external.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    Its very easy - easier then what you did with ElectricSheep's recommendation

    1. Click on the system preferences on the dock
    2. Click on the User & Groups icon
    System Preferences1.png

    3. Make sure the little padlock on the left is open, if not click on it and enter your password
    4.Click on the plus sign on the left pane to create a new user.
    User_groups.png

    5. Fill in the information and make sure the drop down box shows administrator. I recommend a completely different name so you don't get confused
    New User.png


    Use the computer to see if the issues are present, if not use that admin account and use the Finder to copy your data from the old account to the new account
     
  8. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    #9
    What happened when you first tried to change the name of your home folder is that as soon as you logged back in the system could not find what it thought was your home folder (because you renamed it). So, it created a brand new one that appeared empty. Now, at this point, there are two User folders that both belong to your user account. You have full access to both of them.

    When you followed my original instructions to correctly change which folder would be used as your home folder when logging in, the other home folder still existed, and you still had full access to it as your own. This means that there are two Desktops, two Documents, two Libraries, etc.

    Really, all you have to do is merge the contents of both folders into your current home folder. In the finder Hit command-shift-H to go straight to your current home folder. Then, hit command-uparrow to move up one level to the /Users/ folder. You will see your home folder (with a house icon), and you will see the other user folder that belongs to your account as a regular folder. You need to go into that regular-looking user folder and move any files you created there to your current home.

    After that is all and said and done, just delete the other User folder.

    The challenge with trying to go about creating a brand new account is that it will be assigned a new, unique user and group ID which will not match the user and group ID that is on all of your stuff! All of the permissions of your files and folders will have to be changed, and if you do not do this correctly you can remove special permission configurations.
     

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