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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.3 - Panther user login problem

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Member Since: May 29, 2008
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rationalisst is on a distinguished road

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A client of mine has an eMac that has multiple user accounts. One of the users - a non-admin user - is experiencing a strange problem upon login. After inputting name and password the desktop appears blank (there should be multiple icons and files showing). The top menu bar and the dock both appear, but neither are functional. I can hear the hard drive spinning, and the menu bar and dock will periodically disappear for a moment, then reappear. Also, during this process the cursor is mostly a "spinning wheel." This continues, and the desktop icons never appear, nor can I open any programs, nor use any menu/dock items. This user login is essentially rendered unusable. As far as I can tell there isn't even a way to log out - I pretty much have to power down to escape this user.

The other users on this machine, including my own admin login, work just fine. The messed-up user, which I'll refer to here as "staff," has stored most data on the desktop, which is where the problem seems to reside. When I access the "staff" user across a network it appears to make the connection, but when I attempt to even view the files on the "staff" desktop the network connection severs itself. I've also booted up using a firewire drive with the same OS that has a username and password that match the "staff" user on the internal drive, and then tried to copy the data from the "staff" user's desktop to the firewire drive. I get an error message saying that "a file is busy" and the copy aborts. I can access, copy, etc. other folders and files in the under the "staff" user folder. The desktop folder seems to be the only problematic folder.

I've tried other standard fixes - verify/repair disk, fixing disk permissions, rebuild disk using DiskWarrior, but nothing has solved this problem. At this point I have a user login with about 10gb of data that I cannot access, even to back up. Any suggestions would be welcome.

The machine is a 1Ghz eMac with 512mb RAM, and Panther 10.3.9.
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You may have to enable the root user on that machine from your admin account

I think root should give you all privileges and allow you to copy everything

I would try that first

Otherwise there may be a terminal command to use sudo and force copy the folder
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