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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

iMac Lion Total System Failure


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PocoSimon

 
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I started a new thread for this because this seems outrageous to me (see also: iMac Lion Lost Everything).

My 3.5 month old iMac 27" just booted up like it came from the factory.

Everything was fine. I haven't installed anything or made any changes in weeks. Today I noticed I couldn't see any files in my sent mail, so I restarted and now it is Tabula Rasa - like it came out of the box. ALL OF MY DOCUMENTS ARE GONE!

I guess I'll try my time machine/ time capsule, but I'd love to get the MAC boys input on this without having to pay $170 just to help them with a seriouse OS bug!

To be continued! (working now from my old Dell Laptop... OMG)

Symptoms:
All Data GOne
All Downloads Gone
Boot up screen is original out of the box with no applicaiton icons.
User Installed Applications are correctly listed but launch as if for the first time. All registration and license info is gone.
Mail won't launch.
Safari forgot all my favorites, links etc. and is defaulting to the apple page.
Finder is not showing anything but applications and airdrop and allmyfiles (empty allmyfiles).
Time Capsule andPrinter are still connected (printer connected to time capsule wifi).

I'm paying the $169 to find out what happened before I pull the trigger on Time Machine and maybe make things worse.
I call, wait 5 minutes, pay $169, wait another 10 minutes, describe symptoms to tech who never heard of this, wait while he passes me up to senior tech - holding for senior tech... 20 minutes ..Still holding... :-)

Got the senior tech - tried booting with the shift key down but now System preferences won't launch so we are restoring the entire OS and Data from Time Capsule (boot with Option key down) - I'll post again when that's done several hours from now.. OMG....

The senior tech had no idea why this may have happened and assured me that it could be anything from a software update to 3rd party software that caused some kind of system corruption. Well, short of a hard disk failure (which this is not) I never saw anything like this in 27 years on teh PC side of the world. I'm just saying...

I don't remember reading this in the brochure. OS X Lion is Exciting, like russian roulette. One day it will wipe allyour data, mail and apps and if you didn't happen to spring for $500 worth of backup hardware you are SOL. AND, if you do have a backup you'll only lose a day or so of business. How often can I expect the pleasure of booting up to never never land? Nice Operating System! Seriously?

At least the display looks nice... This restore better work or I really am out of business, literally.
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Mini_mi

 
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Hi PocoSimon,
Can't understand why that would happen if you didn't make any changes to your system. I've got 5 Macs and haven't experienced anything like that. That being said, you should be able to restore everything from a TM backup with no issues. Just enter TM and select the day before this happened and restore. Since your docs and setting appear to be gone, it's not like TM could do any damage by restoring from a backup. Hope this works out for you. Personally I would have died the TM restore before shelling any money out for support.
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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've heard a story like this. I can't imagine how that could happen at all - not 'accidentally'. I'll be very very curious to see what the answer turns out to be. Do you have multiple accounts? Are you sure all the files are 'gone'???

TM - will certainly fix you back up - but I'm just mystified that something like this could happen. Please let us know how this turns out.
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PocoSimon

 
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Trust me when I tell you that I have all due respect for the OS, configuration files etc..
I have not tampered with my iMac In the least, and have not installed anything other than he most main stream applications. That is precisely why I'm so freaked out.
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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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I believe you - I saw you posted in the one other instance I can recall of something similar. I'd love to know what Apple says.
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PocoSimon

 
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Well, here I am breathing a sigh of relief after Time Machine has successfully restored my iMac to an earlier point in time.

I am pleased that Apple support got me to this point, but VERY disappointed with Apple support for not taking a LOT more interest in my particular configuration, applications and recent activities, given the severity and uniqueness of the failure. They were blahse, like this happens "dude", just get over it, whatever. Perhaps they assumed I was lying to them.

Having proceeded with the full system restore under Apple senior tech support direction, will never know what Actually happened. There will be no forensic report, just my whisper in the wind... beware my virtual brothers - this COULD happen to YOU!

There is one other thread on this forum from ChipMac - "iMac Lion Lost Everything" - which sounds like exactly the same kind of event. He also had an iMac. Beyond that I can only speculate that there MUST be serious fundamental shortcomings with Lion. How can any operating system fail so catastrophically? Are there no backup configuration files? Finder showed NOTHING, where there was previously several Gigibytes of data. Mail accounts, messages, Internet settings, System Preferences, Software configurations & licensing... ALL Gone.

I'm not sure where I go from here, having fled the PC world in search of sanctuary from this kind of carp.

Happy St Patricks Day! Glug

Cheers All, and thank you for your replies!
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Hornhonker

 
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Your Lion appears to have reset to factory settings which I don't think installed lion can do....

I'm wondering if some how the Proms in your hardware could have triggers a virgin software install download from apple ? If a HD fails and you install a new one your box auto downloads lion and reinstalls. Could this happen with no user intervention ???
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dtravis7

 
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Is there any chance you renamed your user account of User folder??
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PocoSimon

 
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I don't think there could have been any virgin OS download/ install. I was working normally with a variety of applications and mail all morning and did a restart to see if that would bring my sent mail back, and Bang - blank slate. Also, I shut the iMac down when I'm not using it, so if it ever decided to download something on it's own I would have been there to notice it (me-thinks).

As to user accounts and folders, I never mess with any of that stuff (don't even know where it is), and it was prompting and responding to my usual credentials. I am the only one who uses this computer.

This iMac 27" came with Lion installed. Its initial boot up/ configuration was done at the Mac store before I brought it home. I have 16GB of top shelf Samsung factory type RAM in it and I'm running regular Mac Mail with two accounts (ATT and GoDaddy), MS Office 11 (Mac) Word and Excel only, Acrobat X Pro, Presonus Studio One (midi), Presonus Capture, Cubase, Canon Utilities, Flip4Mac, Google Earth, Aperture, Firefox (occationally), Parallels 7 just to run Autodesk Revit (occasionally). Parallels was not running prior to my fatal restart.

None of this gear was turned on at the time, but I've got a Roland Fantom G6 connected via USB, and a Yamaha Motif-Rack XS, Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 connected by
Firewire.

The last thing I installed was the Time Machine Scheduler, about a week earlier, but as I say, I wasn't experiencing any problems, and the iMac had been shut down and restarted every day since without issue.

What else...
It doesn't like to come out of sleep mode, and once or twice (more than 6 weeks ago) I had to hold the power button down and cold boot to get it back. Also, the original Ram that shipped with the iMac was the wrong speed (see my post: Wrong RAM from the Factory).

OK - sorry to be so wordy

Enjoy!
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Stretch

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Is there any chance you renamed your user account of User folder??
I was kind of thinking this too. I've seen this happen before, in fact I've done this before and the machine looks exactly like a factory fresh machine.

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Currently running OS X 10.10
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chas_m

 
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Yep. I'm betting on that theory being the real problem.

Thus, not a bug in "Lion" at all.
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dtravis7

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Yep. I'm betting on that theory being the real problem.

Thus, not a bug in "Lion" at all.
I ABUSE my systems. Run 20 things at once, reboot into other OS's constantly, cats hit power strips turning off power (Solved that with covers on all UPS's and Surge protectors) yet Lion here on 3 systems never has done that to me. Neither has any other OSX version. The only way I have seen that happen is renaming the account the incorrect way or messing with the user folder.

In fact Lion has saved my neck and work 100's of times now do to the power going off in the middle of my work. Reboot and everything is right where I left it to even the last word in my documents. That is why I love Lion so much over even Snow Leopard. Other friends have seen that feature and almost wept as if they only had that on their OS at where they work it would have saved them hours redoing their work.

What I am getting at is this is not a general Lion issue. If your machine truly did that without anything I mentioned above being done, it will be a first in all my dealings with Lion and forums and helping users.
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PocoSimon

 
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I here what you're saying about this being a one in a billion event (suggesting user error), so how exactly might I have renamed my account or user folder accidentally?

I'm looking for them in Finder and Path Finder and System Preferences. Is the User folder the one with my name on it with a house icon next to it? If you drag the somewhere would that blow things up?

Wouldn't there be a direct and immediate cause and effect, such that the symptoms would have appeared immediately? And wouldn't there be a problem logging on after a restart (which there wasn't)?

Would renaming the user account or folder cause System Preferences and Mail not to launch?
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PocoSimon

 
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...those were real questions, not smarmy sarcasm (sarcasm?)...when it comes to Macstuff, I am (obviously) a newbie.

Thanks again all.
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PocoSimon

 
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OK - It's embarrassing to accept, but I guess must have been me. I will never know what I did - inadvertent click/ dragging in Path Finder via oversensitive track pad I imagine...

I've been running super smooth ever since "the incident" despite several local power outages with all apps running.

I have witnessed, and hereby testify to the robustness described by dtravis7, and now wish to withdraw my lame, newbie, panic reaction with appologies to all contributors and readers alike.

My only excuse (back peddling) is the Apple technicians statement that "anything could have corrupted the system at any time", which is actually not true in the least, but did serve to shorten the time spent on the call.
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