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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Snow Leopard - User account lost after logout


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st4lkr

 
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Hi. I'm a happy long time mac user. Never had a problem, never a serious trouble system. But a couple of weeks ago it happened something disturbing: I transferred some movies and various documents to an external HDD, I worked as usually, with the usual applications, lastly I logout the session. Well, just one second after the login screen appeared, I see my two user accounts (mine and my wife's) suddenly disappear! In place of them, there's one new account named "other…". It is inaccessible due the unknown password. At last I had to use the Snow Leopard install cd to recreate a root user, so I was able to log-in and recreate my user accounts and associate them with old user folders, still intact. At last all the thing seemed to come back at the right place, no file or setting lost. Anyway, to be prudent, I formatted and reinstalled Snow Leopard, put my documents and apps and upgraded the OS. After few days, I log-out from my session and… tadaa, my user account is lost again! On the login screen I see only the ****ed "Other…" user account! I googled and consulted several forums for an answer, but nothing. Is there anybody who can tell me more about this weird behavior? Many thanks.
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Buzzard2010

 
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It could be that your hdd is failing on you and developing what are known as "Black Spots" on the disks.
Try booting with the OSX dvd and going to Utilities > Disk Utility the click the First Aid tab and do a Verify & Repair on the HDD see if there is any problems it picks up on. You could also get Onyx (make sure you read the instructions though).

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st4lkr

 
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thanks for the reply. Anyway no, no error on the hdd. Same problem happened just after formatting hdd too.
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DB5L

 
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I'm having EXACTLY the same problem here.
Yesterday I moved my Mac Mini to my living room in order to watch a movie from my external HDD. Everything went just fine. Today I was in the same situation you're in.

My user, and my wife's as well, are gone. In their place just the OTHER... when pressed this option heads to two empty text fields for username and password and neither of my accounts work.
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DB5L

 
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I called Apple Care, explained the issue. The first advisor (I spoke with two of them) guided me thru trying to boot from my full installation DVD (Snow Leopard) to no vail. I had already tried it and the result was the same, a screen displaying the following message in several different languages: "You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button until it turns off, then press the Power button again."

Reading this message to him, he said, "oh, I think I know what it is --you have a HARDWARE problem that can be RAM or HDD".

Doing a Google search for the message I got I really found other reports that point to a hardware issue, so it may be a good a idea to take the mac back to the store to be checked.
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st4lkr

 
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I don't know if your problem was same as mine... No screen messages for me, no button to hold down... only my user account disappeared. But old user folders were still at their place, intact. So I simply created a root user (by booting system with SL install cd), entered into the system, recreated my old user account (with the same identical names of the older) and associated them with the existing user folders. Now, I doubt that mine was a RAM or HDD issue: I sress my mac everyday with large photoshop files, blender, rendering engines (i'm a graphic designer) and other heavy applications: never had a problem, exept that two episodes...
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Aptmunich

 
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A few possible ideas:
- Did you rename the user folders?
- Did you move the user folders?
- Did you change the login preferences (e.g. set it to not show you a list of users?)
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st4lkr

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aptmunich View Post
A few possible ideas:
- Did you rename the user folders?
- Did you move the user folders?
- Did you change the login preferences (e.g. set it to not show you a list of users?)
-no
-no
-no
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DB5L

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st4lkr View Post
I don't know if your problem was same as mine... No screen messages for me, no button to hold down... only my user account disappeared. But old user folders were still at their place, intact. So I simply created a root user (by booting system with SL install cd), entered into the system, recreated my old user account (with the same identical names of the older) and associated them with the existing user folders. Now, I doubt that mine was a RAM or HDD issue: I sress my mac everyday with large photoshop files, blender, rendering engines (i'm a graphic designer) and other heavy applications: never had a problem, exept that two episodes...
Our problems are the same up to the point of our accounts disappearance. The situation they disapeared (external HDD, etc) all the same. My problem gets worse than yours because I can't boot from install disc to recreate the root user/psw and repair my accs.

Anyway have you tried to contact Apple Care?
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chas_m

 
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This sounds very similar to a bug that appeared in the ORIGINAL release of Snow Leopard only. What version were you running?
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st4lkr

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DB5L View Post
Our problems are the same up to the point of our accounts disappearance. The situation they disapeared (external HDD, etc) all the same. My problem gets worse than yours because I can't boot from install disc to recreate the root user/psw and repair my accs.

Anyway have you tried to contact Apple Care?
If you can't boot from dvd is sure a hardware problem... maybe i'm going to say a banality but... did you pressed C key on boot??

I contacted Apple Care once. In vain: vague and unfounded answers, drastic solutions... something like "change your mac because is too old (3 years!)". Loose talk typical of who doesn't knows what you're talking about.

Chas_m, my version is 10.6.6
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DB5L

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st4lkr View Post
If you can't boot from dvd is sure a hardware problem... maybe i'm going to say a banality but... did you pressed C key on boot??
Haha, yeah sure thing. Not only with C pressed, I also tried in a different time with the Option key pressed. The boot process goes until a point where the Kernel Panic screen is displayed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by st4lkr View Post
Chas_m, my version is 10.6.6
Mine is an up to date Snow Leopard.
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mykelala01

 
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The same thing happen to me. I was transferring some file on my external HDD after it finish tranferring. I restart my computer unplug the external HDD. To my suprise my password does not work. I reset the password using the Mac OX disk I lost my regular account. This suck
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Scragglygoat

 
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I have had a similar problem, I'm hoping someone can help me avoid these problems in future.

Initial incident: Wife tried to log into my MBP - she knows the password and my account is the only one on it. Login failed twice with the jiggly screen, so I tried the third time. Failed again, and the account disappeared, just the user name and password fields, no known account login worked. I booted from the original install disk, enabled the admin account, logged in with that and found that my files were all still there, although the account was gone too from the System Preferences pane. After Googling I set up another account with exactly the same name, it asked whether to associate this with the existing files and voila - everything sorted.

Second incident: Logging out before leaving work, I had MagSafe power plugged in, Ethernet, external monitor, USB hub with external keyboard, mouse and printer, separately a USB Hard Drive with 2 partitions, one for Time Machine backups and one for Windows backups (I use Boot Camp) and an audio jack. I ejected the external HDD, logged out, then uplugged the cables and as I did so I saw my user account disappear from the login screen! I stopped, logged in as System Administrator via the "Other" icon, confirmed that it was again gone from the System Preferences pane as well, re-created my account as before, logged out and logged in to my account. To test, I ejected the HDD again, logged out, and then unplugged the cables one by one. The Audio jack was fine, but as I unplugged the HDD USB cable my user account disappeared from before my eyes again.

When I got home this evening I went through the process of re-creating my account again, but I am a bit nervous about all this. I have Time Machine backups, but reading elsewhere on the forums re-installing the OS doesn't seem to clear it up... I'm stumped. It is a repeatable problem (at least, earlier this evening it was repeatable!) I wondered whether the external HD is partitioned using the wrong partition system, but it hasn't had a problem before (and I can't remember how it is partitioned at the moment, I'm just searching for anything that might be causing the issue.) Can anyone help???
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cradom

 
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Just curious.... most of these accounts say "unplugged my HDD USB cable" or similar. You did unmount the drive first right? Pressing the Eject arrow in Finder or dragging it to the trash?
May or may not be relevant.
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