All Preferences Mysteriously Vanished

Zonkerharris

Registered
What the heck?! I left my computer for twenty minutes -- it may have gone into sleep mode, as it does frequently; it may not have. Anyway, when I went back to it, I noticed that it would not check for new mail using Mac Mail. I restarted Mac Mail -- now it wants to start me from scratch with a brand new account. I reboot, and now none of my applicatons have any memory that I have ever used this computer. Worst of all, my iPhoto library is no longer linked to iPhoto (It's still there, but iPhoto thinks this is the first time I've used the program).

Anybody have any idea what's going on, or how I can fix this?
I'd also be grateful for a specific fix for the iPhoto problem, even if there's no way to recover my preferences. But I'd love to know how this could have happened so suddenly.
 

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
i have a very strong supsicion that at some point in the last few days, you renamed your Home folder?

repeat this, and rename it exactly how it was (you can check by going into your home folder from the finder, and seeing both your old and new folders), and then logging out and back in again.


The name of your Home folder is not like the name of any other folder, it is the name of your Account. Change it, and the computer gets very confused, and when you restart or log in, it creates a new user with the new name, and resets all the preferences for this 'new' user. which is what you are seeing. all of your old preferences are still in the archived folder. changingthe name back again attaches the old folder back up again.

the 'Shortname' is not easily changed properly, so don't mess with it, basically.
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
Thanks for the reply. You may very well be right about the re-naming, although I definitely did not rename it myself. I know that no additional "users" are listed in the user listings when I log in. However, it appears that the name of the computer may have changed (to the name of a second laptop we also have -- ???). Do you have any idea how I would determine what the original name was? And sorry for the dumb question, but what do I do to rename it?
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
Well, like I said, I didn't change the name. I just returned to the computer and all my preferences were gone. I'm going on the assumption that something changed the name to perhaps the name of my wife's computer, but I honestly have no recollection of what the name of my computer was. It is not a piece of information I have ever needed. Did I name it my full name? My first name? A possessive ("Zonker's Computer"). It's bee over a year since I bought this thing, and I haven't the faintest clue.
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
OK, I admit I didn't read the original response as closely as I ought to have, but I still don't understand. It says "You can check by going into your home folder from the finder and seeing both the old and new folders". So I went to my home folder -- the name of which, by the way, has not changed -- and inside are about a dozen folders (Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Library, etc). So what does it mean, "seeing both the old and new folders" Should there be a folder in there called ARCHIVE or something?
Also, I noticed that the Documents, Pictures, Desktop, and Library folders all say they were modified on the day that this event occurred. I have no idea if this is significant, but thought I'd mention it.
And finally, if it winds up being impossible to recover my existing account, does anyone know how I can relink my iPhoto library to my "new" one?
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
.
Sites
Public
Library
Halftime.doc
g;
CXG)}9
/Library
Desktop
Music
Documents
Pictures


The dot is in fact a folder. It contains nothing, but it has a yellow-and-black circle symbol on the folder icon that looks like a nuclear fallout shelter symbol.
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
Ok, sorry

Click the User folder and list the folders in there.
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
Is it possible that my kid accidentally renamed my library folder (by randomly banging on the keyboard) to /Library and the computer then created a new library folder for me? Just throwing out wild notions, here, but she does love to "type".
 

Satcomer

In Geostationary Orbit
Is it possible that my kid accidentally renamed my library folder (by randomly banging on the keyboard) to /Library and the computer then created a new library folder for me? Just throwing out wild notions, here, but she does love to "type".
Very possible. That is why you password protect your machine while you are away. Those folder names are just a little messed up.
 

Flying Meat

Registered
Oooo. That folder called "." is a bad sign.
In unix, "." is a pointer to the current folder. If it's in your home folder, then that may be why some of your prefs are not accessible.

launch the /Utilities/Terminal.app and type the following:
ls -al ~/

Post the results here.
 

Flying Meat

Registered
Oooo. That folder called "." is a bad sign.
In unix, "." is a pointer to the current folder. If it's in your home folder, and you don't have access, then that may be why some of your prefs are not accessible.

launch the /Utilities/Terminal.app and type the following:
ls -al ~/

Post the results here.

Also, there is no way you should have a folder in your home folder named "/Library"
In the terminal output from the command above, it will probably be listed as ":Library", but that is just a guess on my part...
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
jon-bines-powerbook-g4-12:~ jonbines$ ls -al ~/
total 176
drwxr-xr-x 2 jonbines jonbines 68 Feb 4 10:19 . .fpbf
drwxr-xr-x 25 jonbines jonbines 850 Mar 28 15:19 .
drwxrwxr-t 8 root admin 272 Mar 30 14:02 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 jonbines jonbines 3 Nov 4 2003 .CFUserTextEncoding
-rw-r--r-- 1 jonbines jonbines 15364 Mar 30 17:09 .DS_Store
-rw-r--r-- 1 jonbines jonbines 32768 Jul 14 2004 .FBCIndex
drwxr-xr-x 3 jonbines jonbines 102 Jul 14 2004 .FBCLockFolder
-rw-r--r-- 1 jonbines jonbines 0 Jun 17 2004 .FrtIndex
drwxrwxrwt 3 jonbines jonbines 102 Jul 28 2005 .TemporaryItems
drwx------ 4 jonbines jonbines 136 Mar 21 10:32 .Trash
drwxr-xr-x 2 jonbines jonbines 68 Jan 7 2006 .hpimageprint
drwxr-xr-x 2 jonbines jonbines 68 Oct 24 2004 .java
-rw-r--r-- 1 jonbines jonbines 40 Jul 27 2005 .lpoptions
drwxr-xr-x 6 jonbines jonbines 204 May 24 2005 .moneydance
drwx------ 39 jonbines jonbines 1326 Mar 16 2006 :Library
drwx------ 252 jonbines jonbines 8568 Jan 19 23:13 CXG)}9
drwx------ 20 jonbines jonbines 680 Mar 28 14:55 Desktop
drwx------ 36 jonbines jonbines 1224 Mar 29 21:06 Documents
-rw-r--r-- 1 jonbines jonbines 26112 Feb 3 2006 Halftime.doc
drwx------ 15 jonbines jonbines 510 Mar 30 09:27 Library
drwx------ 7 jonbines jonbines 238 Jan 19 23:00 Music
drwxr-xr-x 3 jonbines jonbines 102 Mar 28 15:19 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 4 jonbines jonbines 136 Nov 4 2003 Public
drwxr-xr-x 5 jonbines jonbines 170 Nov 4 2003 Sites
drwx------ 7 jonbines jonbines 238 Jan 19 22:51 g;
jon-bines-powerbook-g4-12:~ jonbines$
 

Flying Meat

Registered
yup.

Yer gonna wanna make sure "require password to wake from sleep" is enabled in the security tab.
Then set the lower left corner of the display to be the "sleep now" corner (set it in the Screensaver preference pane).

When you leave your machine, move the cursor to the lower left corner of the display.


To fix your machine, though, check what is in the alternate Library folder ("/Library" in your home folder) and the current Library folder.

Odds are pretty good, you can move the new Library folder to the trash and rename the alternate Library folder to just "Library".

Log out, then log back in to see if it's fixed.
The "." folder is probably the ". .fpbf" folder. You may have to delete that folder from the command line...
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
OK, I renamed the new library folder, then renamed /Library to "Library", and as predicted, my preferences, history, etc. are all back & everything seems back to normal. However, when I launch iphoto, it says "Loading photos" but then no pictures appear. The "Library" icon has a little carat, and when I expand it, it shows a list of photos by year, with little blue check boxes next to them, but still no photos.
I clicked on preferences, and it asked me to logon in order to update my keychain. I provided the password, and updated the keychain, but still no photos.
Thanks for all the help so far. But any thoughts on this last problem?
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
I'm guessing this is my fault for launching iPhoto before logging out and logging back in.

Also, do you guys recommend I try to get rid of that . file in my user folder? Or should I just forget it?
 

barhar

Registered
Referring to 'The "." folder is probably the ". .fpbf" folder. You may have to delete that folder from the command line...' - please, do not do anything to either the '.' or '..' directories; as well as, any other directory and / or file whose name is preceded by a '.'. They are supposed to be there - regardless of what one may incorrectly state and / or recommend.

'.' is the current directory.
'..' is the parent directory.

Yes, quit all applications, trash the current users' 'Library' folder, rename the '/Library' titled folder - as 'Library', log out, log in, empty the trash ... and enjoy.
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
Yes, I did it, and as I said, everything works great except iPhoto, which shows no photos (and says "no photos" on the bottom). Not sure why this would be true, except that I started it up after swapping the library folders but before logging out and logging back in. Any help on this final problem would be greatly appreciated.
 

Zonkerharris

Registered
Hold on. I think I have a clue. I was looking through a few of the oddly-named folders in my home folder, and one of them, called CXG((9 or something, contains a huge number of exported photographs, plus a folder called iPhoto Library. So I'm guessing that this folder was once called something else, and got renamed by my key-smashing daughter as well!
 
Top