Big Problem - used Pathfinder "PLACES" to rename Home Folder

J. Wellman's Avatar

J. Wellman

03 May, 2012 04:17 AM

I have an iMac and MacBook Pro both running on Lion. On the initial set up screen I registered each of the Macs in my name, not realising that would then become the overall name of the Mac and its "Home folder".

I changed the name of each computer using: System Preferences/ Sharing/ Computer Name
Unfortunately, the user "home folder name" is still the same "jswell66"

When using Pathfinder's "Dual Pane" feature, it can get a little confusing when transferring files from the iMac to the MacBook Pro (each home name is the same "jswell66"). My big mistake happened while using Pathfinder, under "PLACES", I performed a "control / click" and chose option "Get Info"

In this window I went to the "Attributes" area and noticed that "jswell66" could be renamed - I typed "jswell66-imac"
I went back to my MacBook Pro Pathfinder window and did not see any home folder name changes for the iMac.

I performed a "Restart" on the iMac and was shocked to see my desktop gone - files and programs were replaced with a standard new computer desktop configuration. I have a backup saved on Time Capsule and another admin user account (on the iMac) that is still working properly.

Is there a way to find the home folder "jswell66-imac" and rename it back to its original name "jswell66"?
Suggestion, maybe Pathfinder 6.0 could be revised so the "PLACES" home folder cannot be changed in the Get Info Attributes window?
Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

  1. 1 Posted by glen on 03 May, 2012 05:24 AM

    glen's Avatar

    Hi J. Wellman,

    It sounds like you have (inadvertently) created a new user account.
    What do you see in System Preferences > Users And Groups?

    What do you see in Path Finder if you look under Devices > Macintosh HD > Users ?
    If you see only one account folder, are your documents in it?

    If the documents have disappeared, I guess you will need to restore from backup.

    If you have a folder with the old name and a folder with the new name, with documents in the old name, I would ask, do you have "automatic login" enabled? That is, do you enter a user name when you start your Mac?

    If you don't enter a user name, I recommend that you disable automatic login, and try entering the old name after a logout. System Preferences > Security > General (tab) > Disable automatic login. This information is correct for Snow Leopard, not sure about Lion.

    Beyond that, this Apple Support document may help, now or after a restore.
    OS X: How to change user account name or home directory name
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1428?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

  2. 2 Posted by J. Wellman on 03 May, 2012 06:09 AM

    J. Wellman's Avatar

    Question:
    What do you see in Path Finder if you look under Devices > Macintosh HD > Users ?
    If you see only one account folder, are your documents in it?

    Answer:
    I see two user names "jswell66" (with the home icon) and "jswell66-imac" (with a folder icon). The renamed "jswell66-imac" has all the files, while "jswell66" is a new empty user.

    In the System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Disable automatic login is checked
    In the System Preferences > Users & Groups> original user name appears to be unchanged.

    I tried to simply rename the "jswell66-imac" back to original "jswell66" but received a error message stating name already taken.

    Is any of the above information helpful?

  3. 3 Posted by J. Wellman on 03 May, 2012 06:44 AM

    J. Wellman's Avatar

    Thank you for providing the below link:
    OS X: How to change user account name or home directory name
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1428?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

    This was very helpful - I was able to enable the root user and assign a new user to this home folder. In process of deleting the old user account.

    The desk top settings restored - just need to find my iTunes library or perform a restore
    Thank you again for your help.

    Question:
    How was Path Finder able to rename such a critical function as the the root home folder?

  4. 4 Posted by glen on 03 May, 2012 07:19 AM

    glen's Avatar

    Update, I see you have pretty much done what I suggested, while I was writing it up. But here it is for reference...

    It sounds like the following are true:

    1. You are presently logged in as "jswell66" This is now a new user with only default data.
    2. A user folder "jswell66-imac" exists with all of your files and settings - but there is no "jswell66-imac" user account.

    Another problem is that all of your files, now in "jswell66-imac" have their owner permissions set for "jswell66".

    To fix this situation, you will need to get things back as they were and then follow the Apple Support document instructions to change the account names and permissions. These steps should get you back in operation as "jswell66".

    1. Logout - Apple menu > logout "jswell66"
    2. Login as the "root" user - See the Apple Support document for details
    3. Using Path Finder, rename the "jswell66" folder as "jswell66-temp"
    4. Using Path Finder, rename the "jswell66-imac" folder as "jswell66"
    5. Logout, and then login as "jswell66"

    If you get through all that successfully, confirm that you are able to read email, edit and save existing files and any other tasks you do frequently.

    When you have confirmed that things are back to normal, follow the instructions in the Apple Support document referenced above, to rename the user account.

    Once you have things the way you want them, remove the "jswell66-temp" folder.

    If on the other hand, something does not work out as expected, write back with details.

  5. 5 Posted by glen on 03 May, 2012 07:23 AM

    glen's Avatar

    Question:
    How was Path Finder able to rename such a critical function as the the root home folder?

    The simple answer is that Path Finder operates as the root user. This is mostly beneficial, but as you just discovered, has it's dangers.

  6. 6 Posted by J. Wellman on 03 May, 2012 07:41 AM

    J. Wellman's Avatar

    Glen, I really appreciate your help.
    I have one more issue - My new user is set up as an Admin and I have given permissions for read & write to the other user accounts on the iMac.

    But PathFinder continues to say "do not have permission to view files"
    Also, even stranger my iTunes library (located in Shared folder) can not be seen
    only the Music folder is present

    But when I log into the other Admin user name - PathFinder can see the Shared > Music> iTunes folders and data

    Any idea on how to complete the security permission connections?

  7. 7 Posted by glen on 03 May, 2012 08:30 AM

    glen's Avatar

    This sounds like it's getting complicated...

    First did you follow the Apple Support document instructions to rename the "jswell66" user folder? and if so, did you get the prompt to keep the name of the new home folder?

    6. Click OK when "A folder in the Users folder already has the name 'account 
    name'. Would you like to use that folder as the Home folder for this user 
    account?" appears. Note: This will correct the ownership of all files in the 
    Home folder, and avoid permissions issues with the contents.
    

    If you did not get that prompt, or did not follow those instructions, you could try going through the rename process again following the Apple instructions. If that does not fix things, it may be best to restore from back up and start fresh.

    As for the iTunes problem I suspect it's because the new user account has not connected to the iTunes share, under that name.

    This Apple Support document has the details.
    iTunes: How to share music between different accounts on a single computer
    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1203

  8. 8 Posted by J. Wellman on 03 May, 2012 04:07 PM

    J. Wellman's Avatar

    Glen, thank you again for your help and patience

    Since I wanted to change the name of my iMac user home folder, I performed a slightly different procedure (read your procedure after completing mine)

    1. Logout - Apple menu > logout "jswell66"
    2. Login as the "root" user - See the Apple Support document for details
    3. Using Path Finder, rename the "jswell66-imac" folder as "jswell66imac"
      Did not change "jswell66" folder
    4. Logout, and then login as "jswell66imac"
    5. Setup new user and confirmed to use “jswell66imac” home folder.
    6. Then prompted this question: Do you want to delete the home folder “jswell66”
      Confirmed “yes”

    Logged back in and desktop + folders were restored.
    But could not find the iTunes folders.

    Prior to this PathFinder issue, I did set up iTunes in the Shared folder area per your recommnedation:
    iTunes: How to share music between different accounts on a single computer
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1203

    I also went to disk utility to perform a hard drive permissions fix.
    Some issues were identified and corrected.

    However, still having permission issues:
    For example: Sharing > Shared Folders> enable permissions for two other users
    But when I use PathFinder the files are still not accessible, “you do not have permission to access this folder”; And Not sure why files in the Shared folder are not accessible?

  9. 9 Posted by J. Wellman on 03 May, 2012 07:06 PM

    J. Wellman's Avatar

    Glen, I was able to set permissions for the shared folder using Finder
    Everything is working - thank you again for your assistance.

  10. Damazio closed this discussion on 14 May, 2012 01:00 PM.

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