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Lost all codes, bookmarks, addresses and preference settings in Panther.

Posted on 2004-10-23
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I use Panther on laptop(wireless) and last night I tried to set up file sharing with my (9.2) tower with Airport base. I have tried this before and was not successful. Anyway..next thing I know...I had lost all my preference settings in all apps and Mail, even desktop appearance and keyboard settings. I had no mailboxes to import into Mail, and have to retrain my Junk Filter. I rebooted and am in the process of rebuilding all my settings.  I fortunately had the codes for all the apps I have bought, had to call cable to help me set up Mail...lost my bookmarks and addresses. It was like everything was back to day one. Every setting was gone. I lost a project I was working on in Still Life. When I rebooted it..it said it was a demo until I registered. Same with other apps I ran. I ran Disk Utility and nothing unusual was there. Itunes EQ settings gone. Nothing in the trash. Is this a feature or a bug? Perhaps in certain situations..could be helpful, but not amusing and not very Mac-like not ask.."are you sure you want to delete every preference ever made...this action can not be reversed"...:(((( Any ideas ..oh gurus of EE.
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Question by:coolmom
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23 Comments
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12392149
A couple of quick questions:

Have you renamed your user account or home folder?
Have you turned FileVault on?

Sounds to me like a user switching problem. I'd say all your settings are still somewhere, it's just that the ~/Library/Application Support files are not being read from the correct directory. It would take a little time to erase the contents of App Support, so your computer would have had noticable disk activity when doing so.

Let me know if any of the above are true and we might be able to narrow down the problem.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12393877
I was in my own user account, didn't restart until I noticed odd things. I rarely turn off my laptop, usually it goes into sleep mode. I did reboot after I ran Disk Utility and noticed it brought up another desktop and the original Dock at the bottom with no apps/folders added. Like brand new. Also it did not ask for my admin pw. I am the administrator..nobody else uses my laptop. I don't use FileVault.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ClassicMac
ID: 12397394
First look in the System Preferences application in the Accounts preference pane.  See what users are listed in there.  If there is more than one user in there try logging in as one of the other users to see if you were using another users profile.  If there are no other users look in /Users and see what folders are in there.  See if any of the folders contain your files.  Let us know the results after you try these suggestions.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12401349
I have another user that I had set up for emergencys. I logged into that one. It was in it's original state as I have never made any changes to it..never used any of my apps as that user, nor set up any accounts like Mail, Itunes. I checked by launching..they are brand new.

In Users..my alter id...myself(admin) and the Shared file. Alter id has "minus" marks by folders contained there meaning I have no access to them when I am in my main id. Nothing is in either public folders.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12401483
Are you sure you are logged in as yourself? You should have access to your folders if you are logged in as you. You might want to check whether fast user switching is enabled in System Preferences > Accounts. You can then click the name at the top right in the menu bar, then select "Login Screen". This will allow you to definitely select yourself, so you are sure of which user you are selecting.

If all else fails, you might want to try using Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Select your hard disk, choose the First Aid tab and click "Repair Disk Permissions".
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12401503
Sorry, correction, you said you didn't have access to the other user's folders. That makes sense if you are logged in as your main ID. Try switching out and then back in using the login screen first, then maybe have a go at disk permissions repair.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12406250
my alter id...folders have a "minus" by them..does that mean I can't get into them..I opened and found nothing in them. I ran Disk Utility and it didn't come up with anything. I still had to re-establish my preferences.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12407654
By default, a user does not have access to any folder in another user's home except read only on the Public folder and write only on the Drop Box.

I must say, I'm a little baffled as to how ALL your prefs got wiped from one moment to the next. Assuming you have not left your computer alone for someone else to mess with it or play with the accounts, this is very strange behavior indeed.

I do know that if you delete a user, the contents of their home folder is moved to the Deleted Users folder, but if there is no way you have created or deleted users, then this is somewhat inexplicable.

Another suggestion is to do a search on ALL DISKS for files you know your main identity has used. E.G: search for mbox to see where any existing mail boxes are on your computer. Select each one when found, and the bottom pane of the Finder will tell you the path to that file.

I'll have to shrug my shoulders for the moment until something else comes to me.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:idarmadi
ID: 12407765
Mom,

Is the "alter id" the account you use for emergency?  If so, then it's perfectly natural to have a "minus" sign on it, especially if you login from "myself".  "myself" can only access folders and files belong to "myself", not the ones belong to "alter id".

Did you lost your documents?  Let's find it.  Better login using your 'emergency' account.

Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

type 'sudo /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb'

It will ask you for your 'root' password.  Enter the password for it.  (If it won't allow you, it might be that root had not been activated yet.)

It will took a while for it to run 'locate.updatedb'. After it finished, it will display the prompt again, and you type in 'locate STILL'. It means that you want to find a file with the name that contain word 'STILL'.  It will show you where the location of this file, if it still exist in your hard disk.

Another possibility, (please don't panic) that you might have been infected by a nasty virus (yes, they do have virus for OSX).  http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/macos.mw2004.trojan.html
What it does is that it removes all the files within your user directory (including all your documents, preferences, etc.... everything in your user directory).
Does "Microsoft Word 2004 OSX Web Install" sound familiar to you? and did you run it?

Good luck, and stay cool.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12410210
Thanks for responses...cracky/idarmadi...I like to say..it's the journey not the destination....lol...sheesh.

OK..baby steps. I did the find for mbox and found my mailboxes in the library of the music folder. I imported them back into Mail. Now can I move that mailbox back to the Library (which contains the new Mail folder I recently made)?...or trash it as I have imported them into my new Mail?  I recall I did backup my ITunes music to external drive before all this happened..was a basic manuver I thought. It went smooth. Anyway I didn't know mailboxes are called mbox. Now...how about Addresses? Is there a way to locate them also?

I didn't install anything new..also as Office already comes with OSX( I rarely use it). I thought about a virus as it came on so rapidly with the apps all starting in unregistered mode. I am chicken about going into the Terminal. I have used it once..very unnerving.

Thanks for all the hand holding...lol.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12410508
Hi coolmom.

I wonder how your mbox files made their way into the music folder, but at least you found them! Now that you have imported them, all your mboxes should be in:

Username > Library > Mail > Mailboxes.

Any other mbox files will either be orphans or a backup. Make sure you have all your mail intact before deleting any mbox files. I would back up all mbox files to CD or External Drive before deleting them from anywhere other than your Mailboxes folder.

Address Book data file is called AddressBook.data. There will always be one in your Library > Application Support > Address Book folder. If you find one elsewhere, then this might be your misplaced one.

MS Office X does not normally come with OS X, so either you picked one up with a bonus install or some one else installed it.

I would have to recommend that once you have found and backed up your vital data and your home folder, it would be wise to reinstall the OS from scratch. If there are gremlins in your comp that don't make sense, then best to start on a clean slate. I have never had to do this on a Mac System, but found it works to fix up a sick PC.

Let us know how you go.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Dave_Watkin
ID: 12411701
Just incidentally, and perhaps in no way helpful, I had the exact same thing happen to me, but in slightly different circumstances. O booted up in classic mode to get at a few bits and pieces - no problems, no errors. When I changed back to OSX I had an error on bootup - it reverted to classic mode and booted up OK. Next time I attempted OSX, it booted up fine - but hey presto all my settings had gone and I too found my mailbox in the music folder and yes, all my other settings had gone too - including all the keychains.

I still don't know what had happened, and to this day - still possessing the old G4 I try hard to recreate it, but no joy.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12417841
I found 2 of each of the following...AddressBook.data, AddressBook.data.beforesave...AddressBook.data.previous

One of each of these has the date of when I lost my prefs. The other is after.
Also..the data and beforesave, and previous files are in Music/Library/Application Support/AddressBook.

This looks odd to me. Should they be there? I tried to import data file into Address Book but failed.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12417870
They should definitely not be there, but I wouldn't hazard a guess as to why they are there.

Don't import the Address Book Data. Just copy the versions dated before your loss of info to your Library > Application Support > Address Book folder. Overwriting any existing files (assuming your current address book is empty).

Do this while Address Book is not open. Once you have copied the files, start Address Book. If these are your old files, then Address Book should show your old info.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:idarmadi
ID: 12418416
Coolmom,

Glad that you found your mailbox, and addressbook, and your music collection.  It's quite a strange thing that somehow it moved to Music folder and it happened to other ppl too (Dave).  :)
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12418428
That worked smooth. I got my addresses back and see them in Mail. Can I trash the Address Book located in Music/Library/Application Support/AddressBook? I think maybe something happen when I did the backup of ITunes Music to external drive. Confusing with so many different Library folders. I didn't have this trouble til I did that backup. Don't know why it got messed up.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12418449
It should be OK to trash the errant folders in Music, but only after you back them up. You sould put each set of data in a sub-folder named according to what it contains, so you can track where you are with the cleanup (labels are handy for this). To assign a label control-click and select a colour.

I would now check your Music folder to see what else is in there. It is entirely possible that you entire old Library is there (not sure how, but possible).

Good luck with your cleanup effort :)
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12421605
May I ask what should be in the Music folder..I think you are right. I see in mine..3 folders...ITunes..Library..Pictures. The Library looks like my old folder, more stuff in it than the new one I have set up. Pictures just has pictures but shouldn't be there. I moved it back to my home folder. Any consequences in doing the same to the Library folder (Labeling it)? Will it mess up how I access things? How do I intigrate them back together? Seems like it affected my "cookies"? I tried to go to my NY Times page and I had to log in again...whereas I never had to before.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12422035
If your whole Library folder is in your Music folder, then I would just move it back to your home folder, overwriting your existing one. Make sure you make a copy of your existing one first before you do. Be aware that in doing this, you are taking a minor risk if the old folder (the one in Music) is in some way corrupted. It is for this reason you should back up your existing working folder to another location on your drive first. If you have problems after moving the old one back, you should copy the new one back again. If you have any problem booting, you can start up from your OS CD / DVD and move it back.

Your Music folder should normally only contain Music files (usually iTunes). Of course, you can put anything you like in there, but it probably belongs somewhere else.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12422688
Can I do this without anything booted up? I backed up existing Library to external drive...then when I tried dragging back the old Library it says various apps/etc are in use. I quit them but not all since I think it will go through a lot..like last thing is WingDings...hmmm..font? is in use.Can I just drag certain items back into new Library folder?
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

by:
cracky earned 2000 total points
ID: 12422755
Yes you can.

Dig through the folder for files you recognise and restore them as you see fit. Of course, this is best done with no apps open. The only way to fully restore your settings is by replacing the whole folder, but if there are only a few vital settings you want to restore, then doing it folder by folder is OK.

If you want to replace the whole Library, you can boot from your OS CD / DVD and you won't get those errors.
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Author Comment

by:coolmom
ID: 12428486
Finally...I slowly put back all that was in the Library in my Music Folder. I rebooted and my old desktop is back as it was..like a old lost friend..:))) Thanks so much for walking me through this. It certainly was a learning experience. Your comments and suggestions were most helpful. I think also perhaps my settings for my touchpad could have gathered a folder that it shouldn't have as it sometimes acts like a "magnet" if I don't tap it back right. Thanks again for helping me.

coolmom
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:cracky
ID: 12429353
No problem. Glad you got it sorted :)
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