Guest Account Deletes User Data After Snow Leopard Upgrade

October 14, 2009

512FinderLeopard_Full.jpgAn ugly bug has surfaced in Snow Leopard that has resulted in users ending up loosing the contents of their home directories. It appears that a users home directory can be deleted if a users logs in to the Guest Account in Snow Leopard. This behavior has been confirmed by users on Apple’s discussion board, as well as in blogs like MacFixIt.

Apple has reportedly acknowledged the bug and is working to resolve the issue. It is important to note that this is only affecting users who have upgraded from Leopard (10.5) to Snow Leopard (10.6). Clean installs of Snow Leopard appear to be unaffected.

Until this bug is resolved it is highly recommended that the Guest Account be disabled on any systems that have been upgraded from 10.5, since accidently logging in to the Guest Account could potentially delete user data. To disable the Guest account follow the instructions below:

1. Open System Preferences.
2. Click Accounts.
3. Select Guest Account from the list of users & uncheck the box beside “Allow guests to log into this computer” (You may need to enter your password to do this).

If you require a guest account at your location, you can create a standard user account & enable Parental Controls to replicate the limitations of the Guest Account. Please be aware that the account will not be deleted when the user logs out, however.

If you have not yet upgraded to Snow Leopard, it is recommended that the Guest Account be disabled before upgrading your OS. You can then safely re-enable the Guest account once Snow Leopard has been installed without worry about data loss.

Unfortunately, the only way to retrieve data lost because of this bug is by restoring from a backup. If you need to restore your data & you have a recent backup, MacFixIt has an excellent article on how to restore a lost home folder.

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