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Thread: Troubleshooting Reference/FAQ (2004)

  1. #1
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    Check out the old thread which got closed. Will try to keep this one updated with new tips and info for 2004.

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3.2: workaround; more on symbolic links and file deletion

    More on symbolic links and inadvertent file deletion Yesterday we reported that the Finder in Mac OS X 10.3 contains a problem (perhaps an intended feature) with respect to symbolic links which could lead to inadvertent data loss by users with administrative access.

    Now MacFixIt reader Don Miller reports that the problem also exists in Mac OS X 10.2.x (Jaguar), and also delivers a striking case example of why this system behavior can be responsible for major data loss.

    "The ability for an administrative user to delete files by force-deleting a symbolic link is not just a problem for Panther. [...] While troubleshooting a minor problem for one of my clients running (at that time) Mac OS X 10.2.6, I noticed that there was an "alias" of his boot drive (called SystemHD) located at the top folder level inside his SystemHD drive volume. I tried several times to delete the alias, but could not - even after adjusting permissions.

    "Being less than comfortable with my terminal application skills, I chose instead to download and utilize one of about a dozen various terminal script utilities that promise to let you delete files that cannot be deleted. I had used this particular utility (I don't want to mention its name, out of fairness to the author), on more than a dozen prior occasions, so I never suspected what might happen. It was the worst thing you can think of.

    "After running the script (specifically, by dragging and dropping the offending 'SystemHD alias' on to the script), and providing the necessary administrator password, I watched as the system erased every file not currently in use on the SystemHD volume, every file not currently in use on each of two other volumes (two partition s one a second internal drive), every file not currently in use on an 80GB external FireWire drive and - ready for this - every file on the company's Mac OS X Server. After discussing the incident with my local Mac OS X expert (who helped me restore all erased files from our various backups), we concluded that the "alias" I force-deleted was actually a symbolic link, and that deleting it caused the system to delete the original files, folders and even mounted volumes available.

    "It is also interesting to note the reaction of the Apple telephone support technician I spoke with the following day. He insisted that what I described was very much possible, but was not in any way a bug in the operating. 'It is exactly as it should be,' he said about a dozen times." [...]

    "One last thing - to this day, we have never figured out how the symbolic link was ever created in the first place. The skills needed were well beyond those of this particular user, so we can only assume the link was originally created by some other program or installer. Just something you should think of be forcing an alias to be deleted using the Terminal app."

    - www.macfixit.com <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

  3. #3
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Inconsistent "find" behavior

    For many troubleshooting procedures, searching for specific files in the "System" folder (for both visible and invisible files) is required.

    However, although you can navigate to the System, Extensions, /usr, and other critical system areas via the Finder, they are not inherently searchable using the "Find" function. In order to search these areas, the user will have to select the "Specific Places" option and specify the System folder. Otherwise, Mac OS X 10.3.x will ignore the area and yield no results from within.

    At first this seems like a security measure, so users will not casually meddle with critical system files. But since these areas can still be traversed in the Finder, some users lament the sacrifice of system-wide search capabilities.

    Workaround You can work around this issue (and perform system-wide searches) by selecting "Specific Places," then simply choosing both your entire Mac OS X startup volume (and other volumes if necessary) and, separately, the System folder.

    - www.macfixit.com <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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    I think Panther has corrected this problem, but using Jaguar:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> ... the Apple installer fails to detect CD read errors and obviously doesn't checksum <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> So you can't rely on a clean install being safe as well.

    [This message was edited by TZ on Thu January 15, 2004 PT at 11:51.]

  5. #5
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    Try this for some ideas troubleshooting Panther:

    www.macattorney.com/panther.html

    [This message was edited by TZ on Mon January 26, 2004 PT at 15:16.]

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