Lost System Preferences


I recently got a used ibook (System OS X 10.3.2)
I changed the user name to my own name (from my mothers name-I have all the passwords) This seemed to work just fine. I then networked the computer (Airport network via a router) to my iMac to copy some files. Files copied OK. Then Mail wouldn't quit and I had to Force Quit (this has happened before when it couldn't check one of my mail accounts and wouldn't stop trying)

The next time I started the computer all of the system preferences were gone. This includes all the addresses in the address book, all iTunes music, the Dock has been reset to factory settings, mail preferences (all my e-mails are gone as well) and just about every preference for applications.

I tried renaming the user name back to what it was even though it worked just fine when I changed it to my name and that did not help, I tried repairing permissions, also didn't help.

What else?? (Or should I re-install system and start from scratch with all my preferences!)


Changing a different user account to your own usually does lead to little problems here and there, which can grow into bigger problems later on down the road.

My advice would be to fresh install and use your own, original user account.
changing whats known as the "short name", which is what you've done, effectively deletes that accounts preferences and creates new ones. it's a very deep-level system thing, based around the whole computer revolving around the epicentre of that short name. in the same way that the top level of windows is the desktop, then My Computer, then the disks, on a mac, the very top level is You. you have modified this using the back door. (the front door being creating a new account in the Accounts preference panel, and deleting the old one) it's very misleading that you can change the name so easily without it warning you of the consequences.

the consequences are:

as you can see, a reset desktop. the dock is reset, all window preferences are reset, expose settings, colour schemes etc

itunes is usually reset, so that means re-importing all your music. a painful side-effect is lost playlists. grrr.

iphoto may need reimporting also.

other than that, all is fine. no documents should have been lost.

don't do it again :p