deleted "USERS" folder. Can't reinstall from CD because HD too full

Discussion in 'Apple' started by RCR, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. RCR

    RCR Guest

    My friend thinks he accidentally deleted his USERS folder (for all the
    users, not one specific users folder). When he reboots (running OS
    10.3), it brings up a gray screen with a power button icon and
    "restart" in several languages. He tried to reinstall from the CD, but
    couldn't because it indicates he needs more HD space than he has (the
    original reason his folder got deleted is because he was going through
    and clearing out files and did one of those one in a million mouse/key
    combos that put focus on the USER folder and trashed it, or at least
    that's what he guesses because it happened so fast he's not sure). I
    tried to create a startup disk from my mac for him, but I'm not sure
    how, without a bigger dvd or an external HD that I can take over there
    to help him.

    Any help?

    RCR, Jan 22, 2007
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  2. RCR

    J.J. O'Shea Guest

    four methods:

    method 1:
    1 get an external hard drive

    2 install OS X on the external drive

    3 boot from the external drive

    4 install a data recovery product such as Data Rescue on the external drive,
    use the product to recover the deleted User folder to the external drive.
    Copy items he wants to keep from the internal drive to the external drive

    5 delete excess stuff from internal drive, including old System files

    6 install OS X on internal drive.

    7 restore items he wants to keep to the internal drive.

    method 2:
    1 verify that he has all his installers for his installed software

    2 do an erase install of the OS

    3 reinstall his apps

    Note that doing this will mean that he never, ever, gets the contents of the
    User folder back. It's gone, man.

    method 3, the easy way:
    1 reformat the hard drive

    2 reinstall from his backup.

    Note that doing this will mean that any file added or changed since the last
    backup is gone forever.

    method 4, the really easy way:
    1 boot from the bootable clone of his hard drive which was created by
    software such as SuperDuper! (cheap) or Carbon Copy Cloner (free) and which
    is updated automatically on a regular basis.

    Note that I have an external hard drive attached to each of my Macs which is
    used for exactly that. SuperDuper! updates those drives every night at 00:30;
    the most I could lose would be one day's work.

    He _does_ have a clone disk, doesn't he? Nope? He has a full backup, even an
    old one? Nope? He has the installers for his apps? Nope? He has an external
    hard drive? Nope? Guess he's SOL, then. Buy a drive, use method 1. Then use
    that drive for either a backup or a clone drive so that this never happens
    J.J. O'Shea, Jan 22, 2007
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  3. RCR

    J.J. O'Shea Guest

    $5 says he doesn't have a backup. Any takers?
    J.J. O'Shea, Jan 22, 2007
  4. RCR

    historystamp Guest

    He could start up the machine in single user mode. Do, press:

    command s

    just after powering on the machine. See:

    Maybe his stuff found it's way into one of the trash folders. Look in:


    # His trash folder would be /Users/his-user-id/.Trash



    See the section Emptying the Trash in

    historystamp, Jan 22, 2007
  5. RCR

    historystamp Guest

    You can try the find command from the console: Do

    sudo find / -iname 'users'

    historystamp, Jan 22, 2007
  6. RCR

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    It may not yet be deleted, if it has multiple users he would almost
    certainly have had to enter his administrator username and password to
    complete the delete process. It could just still be in the trash. If he
    can just boot from something else, he might just be able to drag the
    user folder out of the trash.

    I'm not too sure, but he might be able to browse the drive using the
    original installer CD.

    The grey screen with the multi-language dialogue is a Kernel panic.
    Andy Hewitt, Jan 22, 2007
  7. RCR Guest

    "accidentally deleted"??? never would happen on a Windows machine.
, Jan 22, 2007
  8. Exactly. All my windows collegues intentionally delete
    their own files on a regular basis.
    Daniel Packman, Jan 22, 2007
  9. RCR Guest

    I didn't use the word "intentionally". The word was "accidentially".

    It's a lot easier to accidentally delete files on a mac. Only a single
    click, without a dialogue box asking the silly question,"do you really want
    to do it". Not so silly upon reflection, is it?

    Keep spinning.
, Jan 22, 2007
  10. The OS would do it for you before you had the chance to do it yourself.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 22, 2007
  11. You don't know what the **** you're talking about. For one thing, the
    OS won't let you put the Users folder into the trash. For another,
    unless you deliberately disable the warning, you get that dialog
    whenever you try to empty the trash.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 22, 2007
  12. I'm willing to wager that the Users folder is not in the trash at all.
    Dragging that folder to the trash results in a -122 error, and the
    folder remains where it is.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 22, 2007
  13. I find it unusual to accidentally delete files on macos, windows
    and straight unix shells as root. Others seem to have an issue with this.
    The hundred or so users I support also rarely delete files accidentally
    from any OS. Certainly, the user interface on MacOSX is no more conducive
    to this than others.
    Daniel Packman, Jan 22, 2007
  14. RCR Guest

    Wow!!! You got me all tied up in knots, Butch. You're a real legend - in
    your own mind.
, Jan 22, 2007
  15. RCR

    Tim McNamara Guest

    Well, lots of palaver and a few flames but not much help.

    The OS doesn't want to let you delete the Users folder. From the GUI
    it's very difficult; less difficult from Terminal but still would take
    some doing. Not really something that tends to happen accidentally.

    What you are describing is a "kernel panic" on booting. This may
    indicate a hardware problem or a software problem, the latter usually a
    severe hard drive formatting error, a damaged .kext (kernel extension)
    or a damaged directory, library or something else belonging to the core

    What he should do is boot from the Install disk. Then he should run
    Disk Utility (the Installer will appear, he'll have to answer a couple
    of questions, and then he can find "Disk Utility" in one of the menus).
    Select "Repair Disk." If it can, it will repair any disk problems.

    If that doesn't fix the problem, get back to us. If he was smart enough
    to buy AppleCare and is still in the three year window, he can download
    TechTool on another computer, burn a rescue disk, and check the computer
    with TechTool. That would be the next step. Those two steps would
    identify most hardware problems. After that we can consider walking him
    through a safe boot and using fsck, etc.
    Tim McNamara, Jan 22, 2007
  16. RCR Guest

    Probably a non existant virus.
, Jan 23, 2007
  17. Whatever it was, it was not a virus.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 23, 2007
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