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Two users share the same user folder
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Uncle Skeleton
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Dec 6, 2011, 07:14 PM
 
I need guidance. I have this OS X install (10.4) where there are 2 users, both named (for the purpose of this thread) Uncle Skeleton. One of the users is an admin, with the short name "uncle". The other user is a non-admin with the short name "Uncle". The two names are the same except for a capital letter. There is only one folder in /Users and it is called "Uncle". Best I can tell, both users are using this folder as their home, somehow.

I only want the admin user, and the existence of the non-admin user is a nuisance. But I am afraid to delete the non-admin user for fear that it will damage the admin user's account.

I don't know how this situation came to be. This is a lab computer, and it was like this when I got here (except it was running 10.3; I upgraded it with fingers crossed). I am sort of the de facto IT person here, though I have no training or credentials, and about 10 people use this computer for srs bizness, so I am not in a position to nuke and pave. There are data back-ups, but I'm not confident enough that everyone has kept their stuff working properly, and any accidents would be a moderately big deal.

What do I do?
     
King Bob On The Cob
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Dec 7, 2011, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I need guidance. I have this OS X install (10.4) where there are 2 users, both named (for the purpose of this thread) Uncle Skeleton. One of the users is an admin, with the short name "uncle". The other user is a non-admin with the short name "Uncle". The two names are the same except for a capital letter. There is only one folder in /Users and it is called "Uncle". Best I can tell, both users are using this folder as their home, somehow.

I only want the admin user, and the existence of the non-admin user is a nuisance. But I am afraid to delete the non-admin user for fear that it will damage the admin user's account.

I don't know how this situation came to be. This is a lab computer, and it was like this when I got here (except it was running 10.3; I upgraded it with fingers crossed). I am sort of the de facto IT person here, though I have no training or credentials, and about 10 people use this computer for srs bizness, so I am not in a position to nuke and pave. There are data back-ups, but I'm not confident enough that everyone has kept their stuff working properly, and any accidents would be a moderately big deal.

What do I do?
You can remove them from the local cache via NetInfo Manager.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 7, 2011, 11:25 AM
 
I suspect the following has happened: by default, the default filesystem of OS X, HFS+, is only case-preserving, but not case-sensitive, meaning the directories named Uncle and uncle are one and the same, but it remembers if you type Uncle or uncle as a path name.*

Hence, these two users share the same user folder and if you delete uncle's user directory, you will inadvertently delete Uncle's home folder.


* The reason for that was initially to maintain compatibility with both *nix and classical MacOS. Even though it's totally outdated, some pieces of software such as the great Norton Internet Security suite do not work properly on case-sensitive HFS+ volumes.
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Waragainstsleep
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Dec 7, 2011, 12:13 PM
 
The other way is to create a new admin user with a different name altogether, backup the user folder in question (might be quicker/better to move it elsewhere on the disk. Still never hurts to have another copy.), delete both versions of the user from system prefs, check the folder is gone from /users, copy/move it back and then recreate the user. It will ask if you want to use the existing folder, just tell it yes, then log back in as that rebuilt user and delete the new admin account.

You might find moving the user folder about is easier if you target mode the machine in question. If you do, make sure it isn't going to try and auto log in to a user account with no home folder present.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Uncle Skeleton  (op)
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Dec 8, 2011, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by King Bob On The Cob View Post
You can remove them from the local cache via NetInfo Manager.
I found them in NetInfo Manager, but I don't know what to do next. How do I remove them from the local cache, and what does this mean? Thanks




@Wara: I am hesitant to try this if the new user would not be the owner of all the old user's files. Would the new user get a new user id (or whatever "501" is called)?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Dec 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I found them in NetInfo Manager, but I don't know what to do next. How do I remove them from the local cache, and what does this mean? Thanks




@Wara: I am hesitant to try this if the new user would not be the owner of all the old user's files. Would the new user get a new user id (or whatever "501" is called)?
If the user's files are all in the user's folder, I've never had a problem doing this. If you have millions of small text files scattered across the drive then maybe. Again, if we are talking documents and pictures, music and videos and not much else, the remedy would be quite simple if required at all. I suspect it wouldn't be required at all.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Uncle Skeleton  (op)
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Dec 8, 2011, 01:45 PM
 
So you've done it.... did the new user get 501 or a different id number? I guess I'll have to test it out. I am not willing to do anything that results in a different id number at the end. There are 10 other computers that need to share files with this one, and making other people change their permissions going forward would be worse than doing nothing.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Dec 8, 2011, 03:52 PM
 
You can change the UID of a user from the Netinfo manager.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Big Mac
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Dec 9, 2011, 12:53 AM
 
Ah Netinfo Manager. That brings back some fond memories.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
   
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