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Thread: help ! no more users at start up

  1. #1
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    hi, i can't boot os X anymore since absolutely no users list appears after the splash screen.
    no picture, no name, nothing.
    i can't login anymore.
    i'm under os9 for now.
    what can i do to fix this ?
    tia.

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    b?©hel
    holott.org

  2. #2
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    boot with shift key down. That's called "Safe Mode" and should appear on your screen. hold down shift key from right after you power on until you see the words on the screen. See KB #107392

    Also, try booting from the Jag CD and run Disk Utility and Repair Permissions if that doesnt' help.

    Do you have more than one disk drive? Is ~/Users set to another volume, and the drive/volume isn't mounting?

    Have you tried booting into Single User mode (Command + S) on startup, and then run "fsck -y" until it clears errors? Follow and keep running until "okay" and then issue "reboot" and try.

    In OS 9, run Disk First Aid, and then Disk Warrior (you have to be booted from a CD or another volume - zip, firewire, something).

    What Mac? What drives? Does the OS X volume show up now under OS 9?

    [This message has been edited by Gregory (edited 15 March 2003).]

  3. #3
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    thanks 4 ur reply gregory.

    well, i've tried all that, unfortunately absolutely nothing works.
    i've even reinstalled jaguar "archive-install-keep users".
    same thing.
    is there anyway to edit the accounts manager or prefs or something from outside osX ?
    or else i'd have to trash the whole stuff and reinstall without keeping the users, i guess.
    what a pain in the ass !
    and i also have a lot of irritating issues.
    for example, i can't boot on jag cd (prohibitory sign) unless i first reboot under os9, then let the cd mount, then go to startupdiskX then choose the jag cd then restart.
    damn, i was so easy with os7, 8 or 9.
    since this unix nigthmare came out, i feel more like a pc user.
    i always have something to fix.

    ur questions, gregory :

    Do you have more than one disk drive?
    one drive 120 go, 4 partitions
    8 go os 10.2.4
    12 go os 922
    50 go mixed files
    50 go dedicated to audio stuff

    Is ~/Users set to another volume
    no.

    What Mac?
    beige g3 minitower 266.
    powerlogix zif g4 500
    radeon 7000
    sonnet tempo trio
    10.2.4
    9.2.2
    512 ram

    What drives?
    ibm ata 100 120 go

    Does the OS X volume show up now under OS 9?
    yes.

    thanks for your patience.

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    b?©hel
    holott.org

  4. #4
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    ¬?Sorry to hear you are having troubles. My first take on this is to run Disk Warrior on the drives. I would also do several PRAM resets to make sure you aren't running on some sort of messed up setting.

    ¬?From 10.2 CD can you run Disk Utility and run Repair Permissions on your 10.2 volume?

    ¬?We'll also give jazzbo a call and see if he has an idear.

    Rick

    Batsignal invoked to jazzbo!

  5. #5
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    OK, this is funny:

    So I read your question bl, and because you did not specify *exactly* what you are seeing, I wondered if you are geting the blank user name and pasword boxes instead of the user list with pics....

    Some may not know that there are options in the Accounts System Preference panel, and I can't remember exactly where/what they are (if memory serves, these have evolved with OS X). Check box/es about what to display on the login screen, right?

    So just to see what is exactly where, before I post and ask you if this is what you are seeing, I open System Preferences.

    Except the Accounts pref is gone. Not there. Oops, I think; logged in as a user, not admin. Log in as admin (log in is fine - users and pics). Still Gone. What the...

    Reboot, still gone. Reboot in safe mode, still gone. Reboot to SU and run fsck -y; no problems reported. Reboot, still gone. Repair permissions, still gone. Ran Disk Utily, nothing.

    Ran DiskWarrior, this is what is reported:

    "The Boot Blocks are damaged and will be repaired after replacing the directory."

    Ok, that's a new one for me...I click replace, finish up and reboot back to X.

    Guess what? When the login screen appears, NO USER NAMES OR PICS! And still no Accounts prefernce... ARRGGH! What did you do to my computer bl!?

  6. #6
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    So while digging around a bit I notice that if I open System/Library/PreferencePanes, and click on any of the folders, the System Preferences window opens. Except clicking on the Accounts.prefPane folder launches System Preferences, but does not open the window like the rest do...

    I am gonna go out on a limb and say somethings broke.

    Everything else seems to be fine though. This is on:

    Rev1 BW/with G4 550
    Radeon 7000
    SIIG 133 ATA with 2 drives
    OS 10.2.3 on two volumes

    Hey bl, almost forgot to ask my original question - do you get the user/password boxes at the login screen?

  7. #7
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    ok.
    i've ended up re-installing jag without keeping my users.
    no, there was nothing on the screen.
    no users list, no icons, absolutely nothing.
    disk warrior did not cure the problem.
    repair permissions did not.
    fsck did not.
    safe mode did not.
    pram resets did not.
    just had to re-install the whole stuff.

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    b?©hel
    holott.org

  8. #8
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    So now backup your good clean system to another drive. If you did around the web, like on www.osxfaq.com there is a tip on how to archive the user account so that the system will create a new set set of prefs. You can even add accounts from the command line. Depending on how comfortable you are, there are some good general books, some that are more technical.

    And there are new books coming out all the time. Amazon, OReilly, like "OS X Missing Manual" or "Disaster Relief."

    Knowing up front what Mac and hardware installed (PCI cards, types of disk drives) helps.

    The trouble with the reinstall, while it works, nothing is learned to prevent it, or knowing why. Crashes, freezes, hard restarts, bad cable, RAM even, weak battery. The Beige systems seem to present problems for some, but not others, or not the same.

    Running a cache cleaner, moving the home directory to another volume (so if you do erase/reinstall you don't lose those files). But you should have been able to move your ~/Users/userid/Library to another drive.

  9. #9
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    in fact, it seems to be fairly difficult to back up a working osX on a beige g3.
    so far, i once tried carbon copy cloner with no luck.
    i also tried bootX in order to have 10.2.4 on a rescue cd, but it does not work with toast.
    will only work if you burn with image disk, which is not possible with the beige.
    i will certainly try ccc again in the days coming.

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    b?©hel
    holott.org

  10. #10
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    CCC has an item under File menu "Old World Support" you might want to try, and make sure to look in the support forum for CCC "announcements" for a later version (2.14) than what is posted on the main CCC page.

    Native IDE works, or ATA on PCI IDE. Much more trouble using SCSI controllers. I use my beige just for testing and as a backup system when needed.

  11. #11
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    i'll check that.
    i have ata on pci, so maybe i can do something.
    thanks gregory.

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    b?©hel
    holott.org

  12. #12
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    good to hear you are up and running, but like G stated, too bad you could not find the source of the problem and save your setup....

    As for me, I tried my most current system backup (I LOVE CCC!), but the problem was there as well. Have not played with Accounts in months on this box, so who knows how long it has been this way.

    On a whim I logged in as root, and the Accounts panel/icon was there. So I copied the Accounts.prefPane while in as root, with the idea that I would replace the existing admin pref. that is acting wonky and see if anything changes (yeah, I know that all users use the same one, but why can only root see it? Not a permissions issue). As soon as I logged in as admin, Accounts was back. Interesting...

    Tried the process again on my backup system to see if just logging in as root was enough to do the trick. Nope; seems that duplicating the pref while root is the key. I did not even have to replace, but I did have to duplicate.

    I would like to be able to say why, but not the foggiest idea. Maybe duplicating in root writes a new preference somewhere?


    [This message has been edited by newbie (edited 17 March 2003).]

  13. #13
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    i bet this problem came with the 10.2.4 upgrade.

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    b?©hel
    holott.org

    [This message has been edited by bl (edited 17 March 2003).]

  14. #14
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    Woof, you guys have been busy while I was outta town.

    I'm not sure I understand what "duplicating the Accounts.prefPane" means. How did you carry that action out?

    There are two lists of users for a standalone OS X host (ie. not in an hierarchical network of NetInfo domains).

    The first is the disk file, /etc/passwd, which is read only during the boot-up process until the lookupd ('d' for daemon, an automatic service process) starts. In Single-user mode (boot with Command-S down), I believe you get a terminal window (called the Console) before the lookupd gets launched, so you can do maintenance when the NetInfo databases are messed up. The /etc/passwd file only contains default, service sorts of accounts that are needed in the early stages of the boot process, through the end of Single-user mode.

    Once the system boot process runs past startup of the lookupd, the simple /etc/passwd file is no longer referenced, and all user identification is done via the NetInfo passwd table, which is just like the /etc/passwd disk file except that (a) there are a couple more fields in each entry and (b) the actual users of the system (your user accounts) are included.

    Again, on a standalone OS X host, the only NetInfo "domain" being served is called the "local domain". If the NetInfo database passwd table is damaged or missing, that would lead to having no accounts available for login, not even root, as authentication (user name/password checking) won't find a matching record.

    Since Single-user mode reads from the plain /etc/passwd file rather than from the NetInfo database, you should be able to get Console access (in terminal mode) by booting in Single-user mode (Command-S). Unfortunately, I don't know whether one can inspect or repair the local-domain's passwd table using the command-line NetInfo commands (nidump, niload, nicl) before the lookupd is running. I'll see if I can't test it out this evening, but while I'm conversant with these commands, I am not terribly skilled with them.

    One recommendation I have is that everyone hop into Terminal and assign a password to your root account, if you haven't already. You can do this by entering sudo passwd root from an Admin-capable account. Unless you've recently used the sudo command, you'll be presented with a warning message, then a prompt for your login password, followed by two successive prompts for your root password, the second of which to confirm accurate typing as what you type in answer to these password prompts won't appear on the Terminal.

    I recommend that you make the root password hard for others to guess and different from your regular password. Some good choices in structure are to take two short words and punctuate between them, like "red,ball". Easy to remember and not fast to crack. Don't use the old game of using numbers that look like letters in a "dictionary" word -- that's an easy program attack target. Want to guess the name of the user whose password was 3ug3n3? The cracker program figured it out right out the gate.

    As-shipped, OS X tries to insulate users from the dangerous environs of becoming root -- blow it while you're root and, yes, Virginia, you can wipe anything out. However, in cases like this where the passwd table is damaged or missing in NetInfo, there are things you can do either via the Console in Single-user mode or, if you can get this far, by logging into the Desktop as the root user.

    To have that last available, you need to change your Login panel preferences in the Accounts prefPane (heh-heh: once you can launch it!) to "Present Login Window as: Name and password", rather than "List of users". If you get a Name&Password login panel and your root password's known to you, you can login to the Desktop as root even when you can't get in as any other user. If, as defaulted, the "List of users" mode is selected, root will not be presented in the selection list.

    Jazzbo

    [This message has been edited by Jazzbo (edited 17 March 2003).]

  15. #15
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    There's one small lexical thing I want to comment on, also, and that's the string "~/Users".

    In the Unix shells (almost all of them), the tilde character ~, when it starts a file reference, means "The home directory of".

    If there's either no character or a slash (/) immediately after it, it means "The home directory of ME". So:
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">ls ~ means "list the contents of my home directory"
    ls ~/pic1.jpg means "list the file pic1.jpg in my home directory"
    ls ~/Documents means "list the contents of my Documents directory"</pre>

    If what comes after the ~ are one-or-more non-slashes, then up to but not including the next slash is some username ("short" form) on the system:
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">ls ~jazzbo/Public means "list the contents of jazzbo's Public directory"
    sudo ls ~root means "list root's home directory"
    ls ~joe ~blow means "list the contents of joe's and blow's home directories</pre>
    et cetera und so weiter.

    So, "~/Users" literally refers to a file in "my home directory" named "Users". (Remember: a "directory" (folder) is just one specific type of file.)

    So, perhaps: Did you move home directories from /Users to another volume?

    Jazzbo, picky-picky pedantic

    [This message has been edited by Jazzbo (edited 17 March 2003).]

  16. #16
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    newbie, I finally figured out what you were talking about with copying the Accounts.prefPane directory (in Finder). Wasn't reading carefully enough.

    I'm really suspicious of permissions in the one that doesn't work. If you've still got both the runable and unrunable ones on-disk, you might compare permissions and contents in the two.

    In Terminal, in two side-by-side windows, cd /System/Library/PreferencePanes and then ls -laR Accounts.prefPane and the same with the copy. In the one that won't run: Are there any files that aren't owner=root, group=wheel? Any files that are writable by group or other?

    On the output of that ls command, you should see the file-mode string at the beginning of each entry as:

    "drwxr-xr-x" for all directories
    "-rwxr-xr-x" for "Accounts" in the Contents/MacOS directory
    "-rw-r--r--" for all other files

    We're most interested in differences in the two listings.

    Jazzbo

  17. #17
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    Oops!

    I nearly always have "home directory" relocated to another drive but have been misguiding people... ~/ is too cryptic and /Users/myaccount is probably more helpful and easy enough to understand.

    Jazzbo, we missed you're guidance!

  18. #18
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    It's amazing how easy it is to train the fingers to type the wrong thing. As a classical pianist by background, I'm with ya all the way! It "looks" ("sounds") right, so I keep typing (playing) it the same way, until all of a sudden....

    Rick sez, "Practice makes permanent." What a genius!

    Jazzbo

  19. #19
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    "I'm not sure I understand what "duplicating the Accounts.prefPane" means. How did you carry that action out?"

    I LOVE IT JAZZ!!


    Friggin' *duplicate*!


    It's like Einstein asking me how I tie my shoes! Hehehehe... (Laughing at myself here)

    Yes, I continue to pretend this is OS 9... I did (patting back vigorusly) check permissions via get info and they were identical.

    In case it was not clear - I did not actually do anything with the Accounts.prefPane that I duplicated. I simply duplicated and rebooted as admin. Poof - all is back to normal. I had intended to replace, but no need.

    Gotta run, will try your test as soon as I can. As always thanks for insight and support. And the comedy.

    [This message has been edited by newbie (edited 18 March 2003).]

    [This message has been edited by newbie (edited 18 March 2003).]

  20. #20
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    Just saw this at Versiontracker; thought I would post for anyone who has been following this... Have not tried it, but sounds promising - fast backup of user prefs:
    http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/17239

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