Missing ALL accounts after migration asst put OLD files (sbin,usr,private)

Jeph Bennett

Ready for a conundrum? Here we go...

Problem: After fresh install of Leopard, migration assistant seems to have brought over many old (ppc? os9?) files onto my internal HD, which are locked with a previous mac's password, which lead to discovering the user account setting in sys prefs is now BLANK. wtf?

Background: 2006 MBP 2.33ghz running Leopard (10.5.8) with 3GB ram for many happy months til I changed hardrives and messed up my frameworks deleting hungup files during carbon copy clone transfer process.
Decided to fresh install

1. Saved all my Mac's apps, libraries, systems, user files, etc (every folder in the main HD) onto external drive (time machine backup was 6 months old and taking WAY too long)

2. Booted up from OS on ext drive, then erased and reformatted internal drive with disk utility.

3. Re-booted from install disk, did fresh 10.5.6 install. NOTE: Leopard installed is ~15.6 GB

4. Used migration asst to restore apps and "other files" from my old storage drive. I thought i would be prompted to select the folders to migrate, but instead it brought a ton of CRAP. I now had many old type files on my HD, like "bin, sbin, private, usr", which look to me like OS9 or ppc or ? If they were just the Leopard's hidden files made visible, I could just hide them. But they are huge useless files. The fresh Leopard install was 15GBs. Now I'm at 55GB, NOT INCLUDING APPS. I have 40GB of dead weight, so I decide to delete them.

5. The "old" files I want to delete are locked, with an "unknown" acct name, and no password works. I bring up the sys pref's account settings, and ...nothing. BLANK. as in , not even a spot to enter a field.

QUESTION: Can anyone help me fix this mess without reinstalling from scratch? I just spent 3 days juggling drives (copying, erasing, reformatting, installing) and I just spent 6 hours DLing and installing a huge critical program, which I do NOT want to lose by starting over.

Fix attempts: disk repair, repair permissions (disk util) and used "maintenance" app to clean sys cache and rebuild "launch services" and "display of folders content".

Thanks for reading all this, and I appreciate any advice from EXPERTS or those that have fixed this issue before.


I think it's likely that the only way that you can get out of this, is if your backup (or your old hard drive) is still unmodified from when you backed up.
Even then, it sounds like you have been your own worst enemy.
From your #4: the various folders (usr , bin, sbin, private, several others) are not some leftovers from a really old system. They are the system files (mostly Unix stuff), which are normally in hidden folders. When you copy or clone your hard drive - making a complete backup, for example - those various folders will appear during that process. They will normally become hidden again when the clone process is complete.
So, what do you do with all those weirdly named folders? Nothing - your system knows what they are, and when your clone process is complete, they should also disappear from view.

If your original hard drive is still untouched/unmodified - then the process is pretty simple:
Install that old drive in an external case, which you connect to your MBPro.

Boot to your Leopard installer.
Run Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.
Erase your new internal hard drive.
Click the Restore tab.
Drag your external drive (that's your old hard drive in the external case) to the Source line
Drag your new hard drive (the one you just erased) to the Destination line.
Click the Restore button at the bottom right of that window in Disk Utility.
Patiently wait until that completes - which may be several hours. Find something else to do, just monitor occasionally
That will eventually complete (assuming your old hard drive is in working order)
Quit Disk Utility, and Quit the installer (which will ask you to choose the boot drive - - Select your new internal, and restart)
That should do it...

Jeph Bennett

Thanks for replying.

My "original drive" wasn't swapped out for fun, it had died and required replacement, so reverting to that isn't an option. The original frameworks issue arose from problems restoring from my backup files.

Sounds like you're saying "start over", which is what I figured I would do if all else failed. But if what you're saying is accurate, and these files are just normal Leopard hidden files that are accidentally "visible", then why was the working fresh install (before they appeared) only 15GB total size HD, and now, not counting the apps, the HD is 55GB? Do the files suddenly take up 40GB less space when hidden? Doesn't make sense to me. Or , are they "hidden" files that were transferred over from my old drive by migration, which are now redundant (and visible) on my new system?

Anyone else? lol


I was thinking that you already have an "all else failed" :D

Your OS X system would take up something like 12 to 15 GB, as a fresh install. Leopard is pretty large, as it includes code for both PPC and Intel Macs. Those "hidden" folders are ALREADY there after a fresh install of OS X - but they are hidden.
In fact, there's no reason to manually copy those folders, when you already have them as a result of the OS X install.
Just let your new system migrate your old stuff from your back up, and you should be fine.
The hidden folders do not take up less space, they are just hidden. They will be part of that 15GB that you have initially installed.
If you have used some utility or terminal command to make those folders visible, then you only need to make them invisible again, and all is good.

40 GB is a nice amount of files, apps, music, your additional apps, etc.

Your will find out that most of that space is used by the main user account.

Others can be a large amount of space taken up by Caches folders.

Also, in the event of system problems, the Log folders can sometimes show enormous files.

Almost always, Log folders (especially after a backup and restore like you are doing) can be trashed, and Caches folders can also be trashed. I have seen that give back 10 or 15 GB, although usually only 2 or 3 GB, or less.