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Mac 'Snow Leopard' bug eats user files

Mac 'Snow Leopard' bug eats user files

Logging in as the guest account in Mac OS X Snow Leopard - even once - can result in the loss of all your personal data.

A pretty serious bug in Apple's latest Mac OS release - Snow Leopard - is seeing users lose all their personal files and settings.

As reported over on Neowin.net, users are stating that all their settings are being lost and the bulk of their personal data is disappearing - and the bug isn't exactly difficult to trigger.

It would appear that the issue is triggered by logging in under the 'guest' account built-in to the system and designed - somewhat ironically - to protect your personal data when allowing third parties temporary access to your system. If you log on as this account, there is a chance that when you log back in as yourself you'll find all data stored under /Users/username erased - permanently.

Indeed, users on the Apple forums are reporting that the data is permanently gone, beyond even the reach of specialist data recovery and unerase utilities. Once the bug is triggered, the only way to recover the data is to restore from a backup - and if you haven't got a backup, you're fresh out of luck.

It appears that users with the greatest chance of encountering this issue are those which performed an upgrade from Mac OS X Leopard to Snow Leopard, with users who bought their systems with Snow Leopard pre-installed far less likely to suffer data loss.

Users have been reporting the issue since the OS launched, but it's taken the news hitting the mainstream for Apple to acknowledge the problem: in a statement to CNet the company claims it is "aware of the issue, which only occurs in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix."

For now, the only way to ensure that your data is safe appears to be to disable the guest account completely - thus preventing anyone from logging in under those credentials and triggering the bug.

Are you surprised that a major issue like this got past Apple's QA, or does it confirm everything you've ever suspected about the company's priorities? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

31 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
proxess 13th October 2009, 11:30 Quote
Ouch. I feel sorry for those who suffered this. It's almost as bad as when my iPod Video got stollen, and all the data in it with it.
p3n 13th October 2009, 11:41 Quote
Might upgrade next month, just aswell time machine is fool-proof :)
l3v1ck 13th October 2009, 11:44 Quote
So much for the urban myth that MS makes flawed rubbish while Apple makes perfect products.
proxess 13th October 2009, 11:47 Quote
They always have these weird problems with each release.
sc.uk^cRoSsFir3 13th October 2009, 11:53 Quote
Thats got to hurt if you haven't got a backup. Still, as mentioned in the article, it's funny that the account which is supposed to safe guard your data eats it.
adam_bagpuss 13th October 2009, 12:02 Quote
Hi im a MAC and delete myself. EPIC FAIL for apple
Threefiguremini 13th October 2009, 12:06 Quote
I thought they 'just worked'
hrp8600 13th October 2009, 12:13 Quote
like any good American agent it eats the files rather than let them fall into enemy hands.
is Mac now a branch of the CIA ?
Kyocera 13th October 2009, 12:18 Quote
There is nothing better and more luxurious than Steve Apple.
Dreaming 13th October 2009, 12:35 Quote
You know Mac's own time machine feature? I wonder if this would erase your backups there as well? That would suck so hard.
EvilRusk 13th October 2009, 12:39 Quote
Hey that's quite a neat feature! I bet MS couldn't make something to delete your files that well!
AshT 13th October 2009, 14:03 Quote
<soapbox> ... fkkkk ... </endsoapbox>
Woodspoon 13th October 2009, 14:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
So much for the urban myth that MS makes flawed rubbish while Apple makes perfect products.

+1
Scootiep 13th October 2009, 14:44 Quote
My guess is that they could still get something off their drives using Phoenix Data recovery software. I've used that a couple of times and it pulls stuff up that have been long gone. Only way it doesn't is if I run DBAM or Eraser with multiple passes of psudorandom data.
pizan 13th October 2009, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
They always have these weird problems with each release.
Well yeah, the first go with each release is their beta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
So much for the urban myth that MS makes flawed rubbish while Apple makes perfect products.

+1
+1
frojoe 13th October 2009, 15:20 Quote
More reason to always back up... always.
eternum 13th October 2009, 20:21 Quote
Just... classic.

Hey Mac, you might want to adjust your smug - it seems to be slipping.
Rkiver 13th October 2009, 20:25 Quote
Always backup. That's the lesson here. Whatever your OS it doesn't matter.

It is a nice little jab in the guts for the "Mac, it just works" fanboys. Nothing ever "just works".
sheninat0r 13th October 2009, 21:20 Quote
This is how Snow Leopard reclaims 6-7GB of your hard drive space.
Dave Lister 13th October 2009, 22:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheninat0r
This is how Snow Leopard reclaims 6-7GB of your hard drive space.

Ha ha ha ha !
Jetfire 13th October 2009, 22:26 Quote
That's what you get for taking a perfect OS and screwing with it trying to make it your own to sell with your overpriced, over-hyped products.
HourBeforeDawn 13th October 2009, 22:52 Quote
ha awesome lol
ryall 14th October 2009, 02:29 Quote
Delete the project you've been working on for the last 3 months? There's an app for that.
ryall 14th October 2009, 02:31 Quote
Delete the last 10 years of your family's photographs? There's an app for that.
livesabitch 14th October 2009, 03:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryall
Delete the project you've been working on for the last 3 months? There's an app for that.

thats F*****G funny! hahahaha, im in stitches right now!

+1 for that!
dark_avenger 14th October 2009, 08:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryall
Delete the last 10 years of your family's photographs? There's an app for that.

:):)
Bauul 14th October 2009, 10:53 Quote
I wonder what's the trigger for the bug. I thought all Macs were supposed to be pretty similar hardware and software wise, so if it's only affecting a few hundred, those hundred must have done something pretty unique to their machines.
Sheiken 14th October 2009, 11:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyocera
There is nothing better and more luxurious than Steve Apple.

Who is Steve Apple?
dragontail 14th October 2009, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
So much for the urban myth that MS makes flawed rubbish while Apple makes perfect products.
Well, this is exactly why it's an urban myth - Apple makes crap once in a while like everyone else. It's the Apple fanboys that claim they don't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetfire
That's what you get for taking a perfect OS and screwing with it trying to make it your own to sell with your overpriced, over-hyped products.
Okay, I take it that you mean Apple took the "perfect" OpenBSD kernel and built OS X on it? I don't understand how "[the bug in question is] what [Apple] would get" for using it, as the bug in question has little to do with the OpenBSD kernel itself. Also, I like to point out a lot of features they 'screwed with' by putting in OS X are actually useful and functional. Of course, you shouldn't take my word, so I suggest using OS X for a substantial period first before making your comments. If you already have, then your post was written in such a way it sounded like you haven't (just saying). So in short, you are an idiot. Please troll somewhere else. :(
chocolateraisins 14th October 2009, 13:28 Quote
Does Apple charge more for this iGuest account option?
Jetfire 17th October 2009, 02:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragontail
Okay, I take it that you mean Apple took the "perfect" OpenBSD kernel and built OS X on it? I don't understand how "[the bug in question is] what [Apple] would get" for using it, as the bug in question has little to do with the OpenBSD kernel itself. Also, I like to point out a lot of features they 'screwed with' by putting in OS X are actually useful and functional. Of course, you shouldn't take my word, so I suggest using OS X for a substantial period first before making your comments. If you already have, then your post was written in such a way it sounded like you haven't (just saying). So in short, you are an idiot. Please troll somewhere else. :(

Well I'm not here to prove to you or anybody else what I have or haven't done. I'll admit though, I haven't used it for an extensive amount of time but I have used and seen enough to warrant my opinion.

It was just a personal opinion about Apple and their products; maybe it was an inappropriate thing to say about the topic at hand. I like to express my opinions but I can't guarantee that everybody will agree with me; such is life.

;)
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