Fanbois howl over data-munching Snow Leopard bug
Guests not welcome
More than month after reports of a home-directory-eating Snow Leopard bug first surfaced, Apple fanbois continue to howl that the new Mac operating system is munching their personal data.
CNet's MacFixIt site first reported the alleged bug on September 8, after noticing a few posts on Apple's support forums, and now, as ITWire detailed over the weekend, the forums are brimming with such complaints (here, here, here, here, and here).
Apparently, Snow Leopard (aka Mac OS X 10.6) has a habit of wiping out "home directories" when a user logs in to a Guest account following an upgrade from Apple's previous operating system: just Leopard (aka Mac OS X 10.5). Typically carrying the name of the user, the home directory includes all the standard user file folders, including Documents, Downloads, Music, Picture, and more.
"I had the Guest account enabled on my MacBook Pro," one user wrote on September 3, just after the release of Snow Leopard. "I accidentally clicked on that when I went to log in. It took a few minutes to log in, then after I had logged out of that account and back into mine, my [entire] home directory had been wiped. All of doc, music, etc. gone."
Another user was hit just this weekend. "Nooooo!!! This morning I had access to Guest Account and than all my data were lost!!!" he wrote. "I had 250GB of data without backup and I lost everything: years and years of documents, pictures, video, music!!! Is it possible to recover something? Please help me!!!!"
According to other posters who've experienced the problem, they've had difficulty reproducing the problem. "The randomness is what's most creepy," says one, "[I] agree that someone's got to be able to reliably reproduce the error or this may be a long fight."
Some indicate the problem occurs only if a Guest account was active under (just) Leopard prior to the upgrade. It would seem that bug does not occur when the Guest account is set to "sharing only," the default setting.
Users who had Apple's Time Machine backup service running say they were able to restore their lost data. ®
Apple does not send such things to The Reg, but it has tossed a statement at Cnet acknowledging Snow Leopard's data loss bug. "We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix," the statement reads.
This story has also been updated to say say that apparently, the bug does not occur when the Guest account is set to "sharing only."
Sean Timarco Baggaley
"Are you seriously claiming that everyone on Earth now understands what every IT-related TLA means now?"
Of course not. Who said they did? Just because WE type HDD doesn't mean the average Joe doesn't understand the words "external hard disk".
Oh dear, you deal with stupid gamers who don't know the name of their OS. How is that representative of how aware Apple users are of Time Machine? Apple have made a big noise about TM since before Leopard was released. Keynotes, big notices on the Apple front page, asking you to pick a backup disk when you install, adding a TM icon to the doc by default, and so forth. So, like I said, you would have to be a completely blind Apple user to not know about backing up with Time Machine.
Backup a Mac without the OS
This is not hard and all you need is an external drive the same size as the drive you intend to copy.
Boot your Mac from a bootable Linux CD/DVD distro, there are a number of them. Plug in second drive and learn to use the shell command dd. You then have an exact copy of the drive. Mac volumes may also be mounted on most Linux distros without adding any software if you need to inspect the data.
I run a demo centre have done this often over the last ten years on many different machines and architectures.
@Michael C & Magnetik
You have heard of the Darwin Awards, right? Bugger "Climate Change": wilful ignorance is a far greater threat to humanity than a very slow rise in sea levels.
This is a technology news website. Its readers are, by definition, not representative of the general public, who couldn't give a shit how the magic box works. The only reason the people *you* know might be aware of what the acronym "HDD" even means is precisely *because* YOU know them... and have therefore, presumably, *taught* them.
Are you seriously claiming that everyone on Earth now understands what every IT-related TLA means now?
I handle support for a small computer games developer and am STILL getting requests from people who want to know if their operating system of choice—"Microsoft Word 2003", according to their answer to: "Which operating system are you using?"—will run one of our games. And these are *gamers*, for f*ck's sake!
I'll believe we're all IT-savvy when I see it. I have yet to see any evidence of it in these comment threads, let alone in the real world.