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Thread: Can't login to App Store after updating to El Cap (also moved user folder/directory)

  1. #1
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    Default Can't login to App Store after updating to El Cap (also moved user folder/directory)

    Hi guys,

    I've updated to El Cap on my Mac Pro via a new hard drive (cloned Yosemite then updated the clone). I then moved the users folder to another internal drive, set the new path in Users & Groups>advanced, and made a symlink for the new Users folder and placed the symlink where it used to be on root. All is running fine except for one thing that has to do with the Apple ID login stuff.

    I tried to buy something on the Mac App store and got the message: An unexpected error occurred while singing in. AMD-Action:authenticate:SP

    ---

    From Google, several sources said that having the Users on another drive was culprit and by moving it back to root, problem was solved. Another consensus was that the terms and agreements needed to be approved but I cannot get that window to appear where I can approve it.

    Here are various messages I've gotten during my sleuthing:

    An unexpected error occurred while singing in. AMD-Action:authenticate:SP
    This action could not be completed. Try again.

    Another perhaps more pertinent comment said that El Capitan needs to have the Shared folder at the root in order for the App Store to work. However this Shared folder is inside the Users folder which I have physically moved to the new hard drive and set its new path in Advanced. So if this is the case, how would I handle Shared?

    I have no problem logging into iTunes or iCloud (although I do not want to use it. I don't have stuff checked there to use, but can see my account and make edits to things such as payment, etc).

    Is there anything else I need to do with the moved users directory or Shared folder to make El Cap happy -- anything else I'm overlooking? The path redirect in advanced does end with users/name. However the symlink (if I still need one in El Cap) is just users (not my name). Firewall settings? etc??

    I know this is a long post (for info), but I'd really appreciate your help! Thank you.
    Last edited by macmac; 04-18-2016 at 09:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    That is all too deep in the muck for me to help you out with, but I do have a strategy that might help. I have found that even with my Applecare expired that one can get some assistance. They might threaten to charge for the help, but if it's so you can purchase something in their App Store . . . I'll bet they'd be glad to help. Never hurts to try. Good Luck!

  3. #3
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    Well, after more searching, trying, making a new user account, etc. to fix this issue of not being able to log in to the App Store, I ended up copying [just the] the Shared folder back to the root (in a Users folder) and BAM! now I can log in, see my purchases and launch the apps that I bought there. I guess there's just no way around having Shared elsewhere—symlink or not—and have it work. Whatever. It seems El Cap wants what it wants.

    I still have the Users directory relocated in Users and Groups (which still has Shared in it there too), so we'll see what goes on with anything else. I'll look at modification dates and see which Shared the rest of my apps use, since it is relocated according to Users and Groups.

  4. #4
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    Good on you for figuring it out.

    I have never moved the Users folder, only individual user home directories from inside the Users folder.

    Mostly cuz it is part of the OS, a default protected directory....and I was afraid it could get messy.

    Turns out it can.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  5. #5
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    Wow.

    You are brilliant.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #6
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    As it turns out...... I am having this exact same problem. I've been reading up on this, and everyone seems to say the same thing (that it's having the Shared folder on another volume that's the problem). However, I must admit to being a little confused. How can I have a symlink of my Users folder on my boot drive AND also have a Users folder on my boot drive with the Shared folder inside of it?

    I found another article where the author suggested doing some minor work with Terminal/Command Line, but wow, I've never been comfortable doing that.

    Sorry to be a luddite, but..... in an earlier thread, I posted about how my copy of Preview broke when I upgraded to 10.11. So I can't view any JPEGs on my computer anymore. I found a replacement in the app store, but of course can't download anything, because I have the same problem.

    My boot volume is a SSD with 38 GB on it (out 60 GB), and my Users volume is a traditional HDD with some 2 TB on it (out of 4). Fortunately, the Shared folder is only like 11 MB or something, so it can fit on the boot volume.

    Can someone do a little hand-holding with me and tell me how I can solve this (I mean, yes, I understand that how to solve the problem was posted above, just not sure how I go about implementing that is all).

  7. #7
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    Okay..... maybe I'm just being dense. Let me see if I understand this.....

    So..... apparently what I need to do is:

    1) create a new Users folder on the boot volume
    2) physically move the Shared folder to the boot volume and put it inside the new Users folder.
    3) Make a symlink of my actual User account that's on the Users volume, and put the symlink of my User account inside the new Users folder I just created on the boot volume.
    4) Do that same thing with any other User accounts.
    5) Restart.

    Did I get a gold star for the day?

  8. #8
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    UPDATE: Here is a nice write up, perhaps more clear, with shiny pictures.

    If it were me, I would keep it simple:

    Relocate a user directory (user home folder), and point the corresponding user account to it. Would not mess with /Users folder. Because other user accounts need it, etc.

    Best way I know, assuming a default setup:
    1. Log in from a second admin account (not the one you want to relocate the user directory for).

    2. Navigate to /Users folder, and copy the user home directory you want to relocate, to the external drive. Be sure you have a drive name, folder name, and folder structure you like, so you don't need to change things later. Keep it simple; something like: External HD/Users/user name

    3. Once the user directory has been copied to it's new location, Open System Preferences/Users & Groups

    4. Right click on the user that you want to redirect to the new (copied...new location) user directory. Click Advanced Options...

    5. In the box that opens, Find the Home directory field. Note that it points at the default path: /Users/user name

    6. Click the Choose... button, and navigate to the new location that you moved the copy to: External HD/Users/user directory

    7. Reboot and log into the account that has just had the home directory moved. Test making/saving/modifying files, and opening apps that have lots of prefs, to see if there are any issues or permissions problems, etc.

    8. After tested successfully, you can delete the original user directory from the original location to regain space....as it is just laying dormant. No use for it, except as a backup.



    Important notes:

    I have not done this with 10.11 or newer, but it should work the same as older OSes. You must have a second admin account to do this...and to troubleshoot anything, or revert if there are any issues. As always, it is very wise to make a full bootable clone/backup before big tweaks.
    Last edited by unclemac; 10-18-2016 at 11:36 PM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  9. #9
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    Thanks Uncle Mac, I really appreciate the detailed info.

    I guess my problem is that, following the instructions posted here at the MacGurus many years ago, I moved my Users folder to a separate volume eons ago. So, my home Users folder ('Boyd') is already on an external drive.

    All I have on the boot volume is just a symlink pointing to the external volume.

    I think based on the error message I'm getting from the app store (AMD-Action:authenticate:SP), my reading in other forums, and the info shared in this thread, that I somehow need to have my Users/shared folder on the boot drive, while still having some kind of symlink that points to my Users volume ('Boyd') on my external HDD.

    I will read over your instructions again and I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out.

    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Yeah....Apple keeps locking down the OS. Although admirable in the world as it is today, it makes customizing harder and harder.


    One thought:

    You could do a System Recovery, which drives a fresh OS under your existing one, but without trashing your data, apps, or settings. Fixes broke or missing OS stuff. Wonder if it would but the /Users and /Users/Shared back where they belong?

    Or, you might try creating a new empty /Users and /Users/Shared folder manually in their default locations. The OS may not let you due to ACL limitations. Might work logged in as Root user. You will have to enable root first though.

    If you can get the two created and happy, I would expect you can use the steps above to point to your existing user folder where it is....without need of copying anything.

    As always clone first so you can get back to where you are now should things go sideways.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  11. #11
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    Right. Fortunately, I enabled the root user many years ago. And, since I have 3 different backups of my former OS 10.6 (not that I'm paranoid or anything! LOL), I can reboot with one of those, and make the necessary changes on the OS 10.11 volume and the Users volume.

    I don't know.... maybe it's getting to the point that you don't need to separate the Users from the boot volume anymore..... but I do think there's a slight advantage in having a SSD for the boot. Just wish Apple would stop this whole approach of "making up stuff to do." Personally, I think they're just extremely bored over there in Cupertino and can't figure out WHAT they should be doing. Sigh.

  12. #12
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    Moving the User still has same validity and usefulness. And as a rule, doesn't matter where the User is, even a different computer. The fact it is on a different drive has no effect on its structure.

    Running a newer operating system and going backwards to an older backed up one does have issues on the User directory though. If you want to return to an older version of the operating system you will have to also return to a backup of the User Directory. That is unless you never opened any iApps. Mail, iPhoto, iTunes and so on all use databases that change with each OS update. Once you open any of them in a newer OS they cannot be migrated back to the older operating system. There are no migration tools to go backwards.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  13. #13
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    Cool

    Okay, so, I think I solved the problem.

    1) I booted into a back up of OS 10.6.8 using root.

    2) I deleted the symlink to the Users folder on the boot volume (i.e., the OS 10.11 boot volume).

    3) I created a new folder on the boot called Users.

    4) I Used "command-drag" (which, in theory anyway, moves an item rather than copies it), to move the _spotlight and the Shared folders to the OS 10.11 boot volume. There were also several "desktop" text edit files (one for each user account maybe?), and since all of that only took up a whopping 14 MB, I figured why not move it too.

    5) Meanwhile, back on my 4 TB "Users" volume, I created a symlink of my personal User account (i.e., /Users/Boyd), and I command-dragged that to the new Users folder on the boot volume (spoiler alert: not really even sure it was necessary to do that).

    6) I restarted back into OS 10.11 and held my breath.

    7) Everything appears fine. The computer found my User account, all my iTunes files are still there, all my photos are still there, and I was able to successfully log into the app store and download a free replacement app for Preview, so, it would appear, I have fixed the error message I'm getting trying to log into the app store.

    8) Checking the User Accounts in System Preferences, the computer can see and find all three User accounts (I have a guest one and then one for a friend who comes over to use my computer about once every 6 months). So, in the end..... I have a Users folder on my boot volume, and I still have the old Users folder on my Users HDD, and all appears well with the world.

    9) Pretty simple.

    10) Thanks Gurus. You guys rock

  14. #14
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    P.S. - As a bonus, Preview seems to work now too. Not sure what I did had anything to do with it, but, eh, you never know......

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up

    Nice.

    There are always ways...glad you found an easy one.

    Yes, the Move function is handy. With really big moves...I tend to copy and delete, only because on rare occasions, I have had a problem with a wonky drive or corrupt files, and am stuck not know what moved, what was lost, and how.

    Also, I tend to not use Finder, for large moves as it does not handle errors gracefully. Any number of sync tools (Get Backup, for example) do a great job telling you exactly what moved, and what (if anything) did not. To be fair, this is fairly rare problem....but a serious pain when it does occur.

    Good that you had no issues, and no need for a more serious move/copy/sync tool.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  16. #16
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    Yeah, it actually ended up being really a lot simpler than I thought. I was overthinking it, for sure.

    Remember in the "bad old days" of System 6..... when you had to use the Font/DA Mover utility to move Fonts and DA's back and forth into the System? LOL. Those were the days!

  17. #17
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    Yep. Still have my Mac Plus somewhere....

    Speaking of the old days, and moving large directories....I ran into a cool free tool that gave me flashbacks to pre-OS X days, we could simply drag an OS from one machine to another.

    Duplicate is a simple plug in that at first glance seems redundant to Finder. But it can copy and paste a full, bootable OS, like in days of old.

    I tested it (copy and paste): Copied a 10.10.5 Server full OS from VMware on an 2009 Xserve to a partition an external HD. I booted and ran with no issues a 2010 iMac from the copied volume on the external drive.

    Crazy!
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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