SOS: My iBook's Files and Personal Settings Missin



I've been using computers for about 14 years now and never had anything like that happen to me. Please help...

All my personal files, application preferences and settings were completely missing after I logged into my laptop. The only personal file remaining, other than all my applications and operating system, was iMatt.sparseimage. iMatt is my one and only administrative account. I also have an iMac and a hard drive hooked up to the laptop. The iMac was perfectly fine (nothing missing; it had been shut down during the two hour period I was gone). The external hard drive appears to be ok.

What essentially happened is that I'd left my laptop on screensaver while I went shopping. Two hours later, I couldn't do anything but restart the laptop. Then, I logged in (with a username and password), and everything personal was missing... Essentially, there are five possibilities:

1. Somebody came into my house and used my startup OS disk to log in and delete everything. Why would my username and password be still in, though?

2. Somebody hacked in thru the DSL Ethernet connection and practically destroyed everything... I looked thru my computer logs and it seems that the system was pretty inactive in that period of time.

3. I have a virus that apparently did all the damage. Possible, but unlikely. I have Virex's latest update for OS 9, which I ran on the iMac and it didn't have any viruses. Also, my external hard drive appears to be OK -- all files seem to be there. However, in favor of this scenario is the fact that MS Entourage 2001 in the OS 9.2 emulation was acting up just an hour before i left the laptop... I don't know what the cause was.

4. The account information and the encrypting software might have somehow been mixed up, so that now when i log into the account, it still doesn't recognize me as the real user... So, in fact, I see what another administrative account might see, and i wouldn't have access to that file (which is 4 Gb and matches the size of my files; and which has a creation date of about an hour after i left my place, which is also in congruence with the encryption settings i had given osx -- to log my account out within 60 minutes of inactivity).

(i followed instructions on how to verify and repair a home directory image in file vault -- document n25695. i did it twice and it said it couldn't repair this file.)

5. My disk is somehow corrupt or damaged. I ran disk utility and everything appears to be ok.

If anyone knows anything about what might have caused this, i'd highly appreaciate your help. Also, if you know how i can solve this... it'd be nice.

FYI: I do have backup of all files, however, if this is some sort of a persistent problem or some sort of an issue with the system, then it'd be nice to resolve it -- to avoid more surprises... afterall, who'd trust a laptop that all of a sudden denies one access to one's own files!?!?


PS: This is my first post in a board like this. I hope i didn't annoy too many people...


Sorry to hear about your problem. n25695 mentions that in order to fix users FileVault protected home directory, you should log in as a different user from the one being repaired. You indicated iMatt is the one and only administrative account. You might want to try creating another admin account and use the new account to repair iMatt.sparseimage. That's the only thing that I could think of. Hope you can restore your files.

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