Apple Admits Existence of Data-Eating Bug

Before reading this article, start backing up your computers…no matter the operating system, no matter how cool you are.

Secondly, if you are on a Mac with 10.6 Snow Leopard system, be aware:

  • don’t switch between guest and main accounts on Snow Leopard systems, or trust T-Mobile’s Sidekick systems until this is fixed
  • back up, early and often.

Article begins:

The ‘rare’ glitch affects users of Apple’s new Snow Leopard operating system

Apple has admitted that its latest operating system harbours a bug that can accidentally delete data belonging to the computer’s owner.

The glitch occurs when some users who upgraded to the Snow Leopard – which was released at the end of August – log into a “guest” account on their machines. When they log back in under their own name, all of the files in their home directory – such as documents, music and videos – have been deleted.

Read the full article at:

Apple admits existence of data-eating bug, Tuesday 13 October 2009 02.04 BST
Bobbie Johnson, San Francisco

(Other links at the end of this excerpt)

Reports of the problem first surfaced more than a month ago, but it was only on Monday that Apple finally responded …

“We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, …

Although some users have been able to restore their data after being hit by the bug, many others …erased…

“When logging in to my regular account, everything was gone,” said one user …

“After I had logged out of that account and back into mine my enter home directory had been wiped…

Some reported only minor data loss, however.

“I accidentally logged into the guest account and then logged out and noticed that my background picture was different, and folders that were on the desktop were gone,” said another user. “I was mad, but nothing hurt me too much.”

As well as concerns over, the episode also highlights the importance of properly backing up your data – a hot topic in recent days, given a massive failure to [sic] by Microsoft.

Apple’s admission comes just days after its rival admitted that a problem with its own backup systems had left tens of thousands of American mobile phone customers stranded without access to their data.

Customers who had subscribed to use T-Mobile’s Sidekick handset, which uses software produced by Microsoft … would not be able to recover any of their personal information – … after the company failed to properly back up user information.

… there were no adequate backups to replace the data that had been lost.

“Personal information stored on your device… that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost … © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
Apple acknowledges Snow Leopard data loss issue | Circuit Breaker – CNET News

AppleInsider | Snow Leopard guest account bug deletes user data [u]

Snow Leopard wiping home directory after guest log-in? | MacFixIt – CNET Review

This article suggests that:
If you need guest account functionality and do not trust the built-in account because of this problem, for now just create a new non-administrator account (call it “Visitor” if you need a semi-decent alternative name) for use as a guest, and customize restrictions for it with parental controls. In most instances this will work just fine, since the only real difference in behavior for guest accounts is that data and settings are reset upon logout.

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