Hard Drive Rename Tragedy: Help!


Year 2002 Mac PowerPC MDD (pre Intel) desktop 1.25 MHz with OS Leopard: After reading several postings, threads and articles in the web about changing the name of a hard drive I thought it would be safe to do so. I was wrong. Now the screen is like the pristine out-of-the-box screen. My whole user account is buried inside somewhere. I've been doing due diligence to find a posted solution.
How can I undo this and not lose my account?
Changing your hard drive name is really unlikely to do much of anything bad - except for certain apps that might rely on the full path name - or changing your hard drive name when restoring from a back up.
Even then, your account settings would not change.
So, it sounds like you did not, in fact, change the name of your hard drive, but you did change the name of your own USER folder (the home folder). That would result in your user returning to defaults, unless you do careful planning, and change it with a good method (BUT -There really isn't a good method, however, to rename your user folder)

If you actually just changed the name of your user folder, then that's fairly simple to change back.
Boot up your PowerMac. Open the hard drive, then go to the Users folder. If you did what I suspect, you will see both your normal user name on one of the user folders, and also the name that you used to rename the user. THAT new user name doesn't exist yet, so when you restarted after changing it, then a NEW user folder, with the old name, was created. That would leave you with a booting system that is at fresh defaults.
Are you confused, yet? (so is your system, when you changed the name of your user folder, without actually changing that user name in your system)
Check in your System Preferences/Accounts pane, for the name of the user that is the current user. That name is the active name.
The simplest way back is to NOW rename the user folder that has the old/active name. Change THAT to something else (add an x to the beginning of the name). Rename the user folder that you previously renamed to the OLD/active user name.
Immediately restart. That should fix it.
I need to back up and start this post over by providing the correct equipment data. We have 2 computers and I gave you info on the wrong one. Result of being very distraught, I guess:
Mac pre-Intel year 2001 PowerPC Digital Audio 733 MHz with OS Tiger. 80GB factory hard drive, 20GB retrofit hard drive added inside, 300 GB bootable firewire external Free Agent Drive.
3 years ago I bought this computer used from a friend who prepared it for me with a baker's dozen of useful apps and he named it Jerry Echosyn's computer, short name jerryechosyn which shows under the desktop icon for the 80 GB hard drive. 20GB is labeled simply "backup". 300 GB is labeled Free Agent drive. These 3 are always at top right of desktop page.
I decided to change the name of the 80 GB to Master so I clicked once to highlight it, clicked File, clicked Get Info and changed the name to Master. Then I looked at cordless phones at amazon and shut down. Later my wife turned on the computer and i heard a blood curdling scream because the computer came on with a pristine factory desktop after she logged in as Bonnie. This is her computer and there is only one user account "Bonnie" with admin privilege.
Sys Pref user account name has not changed from Bonnie. I tried changing 80GB name back to jerryechosyn with restart but that has no effect on restoring her folder.
No additional user folder has showed up.
BTW- I am 65 yo, have just 4 years experience with Macs and no formal computer training and I do not associate with Microsoft.
Ah, OK!
I think you are booting to the "backup" drive, which may be one that you haven't booted to for a long time. That one might be just an old backup of the original system, which should explain why there's nothing familiar about that.

Try this:
Open System Preferences, then Startup Disk.
You may see that there's TWO bootable drives that you can select (maybe more?)
And, you may see that the wrong drive is selected (or none at all)
Look for your new hard drive name (Master?), and click on Master to select it.
AND - restart.
That should then boot to Master, and you should be OK.
3 days ago I booted to the backup FreeAgent drive to check it and it was a functional duplicate of 80 GB Master so I switched back and all was normal until I messed with the 80GB by changing the name at desktop from jerryechosyn (short name) to Master. Nothing improved when i changed the name back to jerryechosyn. Just now at your suggestion I booted from FreeAgent and it too brings up the new computer desktop instead of the Bonnie account/folder with the baker's dozen of added apps.
I added the 20 GB internal and 300GB external firewire drives after acquiring this computer. It came second hand with several additional apps beyond the original 12. Using Disk Utility I duplicated the whole OS into the FreeAgent 300 GB so that I could boot it up for maintenance of the original 80 GB drive.
The sole user account is Bonnie (admin), shortname is jerryechosyn. Does this predicament indicate a need to go into root? That scares me.
On Bonnie's Mac - Open System Preferences, then Startup Disk.
What are the choices for other startup systems, in your Startup Disk pref pane?

More important - go to your Accounts pane.
What are the names of the user accounts listed there? (all of them! - according to you, there should be only ONE.

Finally, if there is only the one user account in the pref pane, go to the Finder. Open your hard drive (now named Master, I suppose), then open the Users folder. What do you see? There should be two folders inside Users, one named bonnie, and one "Shared". What is the name on any extra folder, and what is inside that extra folder?
About an hour ago I changed it back to jerryechosyn in the Get Info pane since other places show that. In Sys Pref the Startup Drive pane shows jerryechosyn and FreeAgent Drive.
Sys Pref Accounts has only Bonnie (Admin)
Finder shows only jerryechosyn with the house icon beside it. No word Users. No Shared. I turned off all Sharing during first setup.
When I click on Applications it shows all of the contained apps, etc.
When I click on jerryechosyn it shows only Desktop, Documents and Library.
The name Bonnie is only in Sys Pref Accounts.
On the left of the Finder window below the drives it shows the words Desktop. jerryechosyn and Applications
I can't say if this is helpful, but I went into Spotlight and can bring up things from the original Bonnie account. Not her mail and bookmarks in the browsers or saved items from the original desktop.
jerryechosyn is the name of your user folder, not your hard drive.

Click on the Apple face in your dock, which will bring up a finder folder.
Go to the Finder menu. Click on Preferences, under the Finder menu.
UNCHECK Hard Drives, under "Show these items on the Desktop", then RE-CHECK the same box. You should see the icon for your hard drive appear on the desktop - probably in the top right corner.
Double-click your hard drive.
NOW - you will see a variety of folders. You WILL see Applications, Library, System, and Users. You may see others, but those 4 will ALWAYS be at the root level of a drive that has the OS X system installed.
Double-click the Users folder.
What do you see there?

I predict that you will see more than just two folders there: Bonnie, Shared, and now probably some others.

If you restart - I also predict that you won't see the name jerryechosyn then in the finder sidebar, instead, you'll see bonnie after the restart.

(reason is: you still have that user account, and haven't yet made another with a different name. Until you do that, you'll still continue to be confused :D )

Let me explain something: Apple has a set procedure, which is a safe one to use for changing the account name. It is 40 steps! (really)

Sorry, it used to be 40. Now, I see it's 43 steps. Check for yourself... http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1428

Let me know what you find in your Users folder.

I suggest that you DON'T follow Apple's support article, until you fix the user folder names FIRST. But, first I need to know what you find in the Users folder.
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Earlier today I found the 40+ steps @ Apple Support and got the willies.
When I login Finder is always open at desktop. I did the uncheck and recheck in Finder pref.. It does not change after reappearing.
Left column of finder window shows at top Network, backup, FreeAgent Drive. Below the line are Desktop, jerryechosyn with thumbnail of a house and Applications. When I highlight the jerryechosyn drive name at the top left of the window it shows all of the apps, system folders, utilities, documents etc. and at at the bottom is Master (alias) and jerryechosyn with 14 numbered jerryechosyn duplicates. Below those is the Shared folder that when open shows Faxes, Infected and Library. Nothing changed when I restarted.
BTW: We each use Sophos AV and run it weekly. It is set to auto-update and run in the background. We kill power to modem, router and printer when computers are not in use.
Time is 11:50 AM. I started Sophos AV in full scan at 5:30 AM and it is now at 75% done. A few minutes before doing that I saw in the users folder in Finder that there were 15 copies of the original jerryechosyn folder. It produced the 15th almost before my eyes. ??
What are the dates those folders were created?
All today, during the time you had Sophos AV running?
Did some (or all) of the extras disappear when Sophos finished the full scan? Not likely that Sophos would CREATE copies of a folder, but could simply be an artifact of how Sophos scans, and the additions will disappear when the scan is complete. That's what I would expect, anyway. I could be wrong.
After the Sophos scan completes - I want you to restart the Mac, then go back into the Users folder.
Find the original folder. It should be easy to decide: it will have a LOT more files, and will have files in the Music, and Pictures folders (assuming your wife uses either iTunes for music, or iPhoto to store pictures). The Library in that folder will also have a lot of folders that probably won't exist in the other folders in your Users folder. And, the folders will have much older dates. Look for the named folder that has the oldest folders and files. That will be the original one.
Let me know what you find out...
Sophos finished at 1:35PM and showed no threats.

Referring to the 80 GB original drive: On 3-26 at 8:57 PM at desktop I changed the name of the 80GB drive to Master in the manner I previously described. On 3-26 at 11:28 PM I changed it back to jerryechosyn and the first duplicate was created. Afterward each time I open Finder another duplicate is created during that operation. Now there are 18. The most recent was today at 1:39 PM. ALL of the jerryechosyn folders in 80 GB are empty.
In Finder I switched to FreeAgent 300GB backup and found the original account intact with ALL files and desktop items. There are no copies of jerryechosyn there.
In Sys Pref I switched to FreeAgent drive and restarted. Up came the pristine desktop just like in the 80GB. I open finder and see the column of items that had been accessible and on Desktop.
Now what?
I found an article: http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/renamehomerecovery.html but I wont do anything rash. Looking back into jerryechosyn >Finder> Users> Master I see my complete home folder is in there. Yahoo! Earlier at Apple Knowledge Base I saw a tutorial about this recovery, but that constant duplication bothers me so I wont do anything until I know I do the right measures.
Could you try (again), to look in the Users folder?

I suspect that your friend (that set up your PowerMac originally) might have split up your home folder, so either the home folder, or maybe just some folders, are not on the same hard drive.

You need to verify where your Mac is using the home folder: In the finder, click on the Home icon in the sidebar. The user name (short name) should be on the title bar at the top edge of the window - so, Command-click on the window name, which will then show a list of folders (the true file path to that window), so click on Users from that list.
That same list will ALSO show you exactly which hard drive that Users folder is located.
After clicking on Users, you will see exactly what folders are in that Users folder.
It SHOULD also show you the REAL user folder (the one with all your real files, etc)

Now - most important - you need to drag all the empty folders, except the one that shows the home icon on the folder.
That should leave you with three folders: the home folder, your REAL folder, and also one named Shared.

Go to your System Preferences/Accounts - and note the name of your user account, whatever that is. That is the name that your REAL user folder needs to be changed to.
SO - rename the folder that has the home icon, to something else (maybe just replace the first character with an X)
NOW - change the name of the folder that has your REAL stuff, to read exactly as your Account name.
And - next step - Restart your Mac.
Both hard drives, original (80GB) and backup (300GB) have the real home folder tucked in them. Working from original now. the hard drive and home folder have the same short name: jerryechosyn. Why did he do that! Computer is named Jerry Echosyn's G4. Empty duplications of jerryechosyn home folder occurred only in original.
80GB home folder is in Users>alias Master folder below empty jerryechosyn folder with Home icon. Below that is Shared folder. I trashed all the empty folders without the Home icon then it began again to make more duplicates like a runaway machine like it has been doing.
Per your instruction I verified location: Users>jerryechosyn>Jerry Echosyn's Power Mac G4. In Sys Pref Accounts: one user: Bonnie Shortname: jerryechosyn
In Finder>Users the folder under the Home jerryechosyn folder with the "real stuff" has the alias Master that I unwittingly applied the new name Master to. I cannot change, undo or trash that alias because it says I do not have privilege.
At jerryechosyn folder with home icon I changed it to xerryechosyn. Immediately upon clicking to the side it moved the "new" folder down below Application Support in Shared and put a new empty jerryechosyn in its place above. Also it made a new x folder above the xerryechosyn folder. I can do nothing with the Master folder.
Still at square one. Boggles the brain.
It's back! In 80GB original: Finder>Users>Master>Get Info>Name I changed the name from Master back to jerryechosyn then did restart. Home folder came up and Firefox went to Copper Mail like it oughta. Didn't work yesterday. Now I will see if Silver Keeper does corrections before I go into 300 GB backup.
Thank you, Delta Mac, for your support and guidance through this mind boggling event. It might be good to spread the warning to never apply one name to both computer and user.
There's really no problem with naming both the user, and the computer with the same name.
In fact, that's the normal default for a new Mac, that the name provided by the first user, is the default name of the first user, and also part of the the default name of the computer.
However, there will be differences, such as the user will be just the name (ellen), the computer will be something like "Ellen's MacBook"
You don't normally see the opportunity to change the computer's name - but it's easy to do in your Sharing pref pane.
And, having th

But then, you didn't actually change your computer's name - and you THOUGHT that you changed the hard drive's name, but you didn't do THAT either (as far as I can tell). Anyway, neither of those two actions would have had very much effect in normal use. You did the (potentially much more hazardous) change, where you changed the name of your user folder. That, as you have discovered, results in a lot of confusion, and ended up making your situation worse, quite quickly.

I'm glad that you are now back to normal (if normal actually exists :D )