Updated: Major bug in Snow Leopard deletes all user data

Reports have been cropping up on the Apple Support forums that users have been losing all their data due to a nasty bug in Snow Leopard, Apple's latest Operating System. Many users are reporting that all settings are being reset and most data is gone, according to iTWire.

The problem, can easily be reproduced when a user logs into the 'guest' account, either on purpose or by accident, and when they log back out of the account and back into their normal one, they find that their account has been fully reset with all data wiped and lost - the account is like a brand new one. The home directory still exists under "/Users/username" but is completely empty.

Users are reporting that the data is unrecoverable and cannot be found anywhere on the hard drive, and the only way to restore it is if the user has been performing backups on a separate hard-drive. Apparently the problem has been present since a few days after launch, as the forum post dates back to 12th September, but as of yet, Apple has been silent.

It seems the only work around at this stage is to disable the Guest account, or at least disable it and then re-enabling it so that it's a native Snow Leopard account. Another suggestion is to create a new account and enforce parental controls, if you really need a temporary account.

It's not clear how many users are affected, but it seems like any user who had Leopard before the upgrade, and had the guest account enabled are affected and are at risk.

Update: CNet has published a method to restore the files from a Time Machine backup to a new, identical user profile. If you have lost files due to this problem, and have an intact backup please follow the steps found here - the restore process may take over two hours to complete.

Update #2: Apple has acknowledged the problem to CNet in a prepared statement late yesterday announcing:

"We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix," an Apple representative said in a prepared statement Monday."

Update #3: For those who are concerned that they could be affected, our recommendation is to disable the guest account fully. If you require it though, make sure you make a complete backup of your hard disk before you try the account again if you upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard, just to be safe.

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I restarted my computer after a System Update did its thing, logged in, system hung once the dock appeared. Forced a reboot, same thing, then rebooted a third time and the default dock appeared and on further inspection my home folder has been wiped clean.

Riva said,
this is a huge comment list of loling apple I havent seen any apple nerds coming over to defend their glorious platform yet.
Well let me do my part but i have nothing good really; Apple sucked before, apple sucks now and apple will continue sucking big time. Most of all their users.
Oh wait I got one: Who needs an antivirus? apple has backup!

I am utterly shocked! Where are the Apple Militant Defenders? I can't believe they haven't taken over this thread....shouting everyone down like an "average joe" concerned about Health Care during a local town hall meeting. Guess they are speechless or perhaps on the phone with apple trying to figure out a way to get their data back. Maybe I should be patient! LOL

I guess it has only happened to less than one hundred people. I looked at the Apple message board and it seems like it is hard to replicate. You can get your stuff back too. So, it is not that big of a deal.

Good thing I am using Windows Vista, it is way more awesomer. I can't wait to get 7, it will be even way sweeter! I have used Windows since Windows ME and I think it is so much better than any other operating system. I have wanted to try others, but WHY?

WINDOWS ROCKS!

This is seriously bad PR for Apple... the worst kind really. I would so love for Microsoft to do one quick "Mac vs PC" spoof on this

Granted, not many people use GUEST, but Apple should be more complete with their testing. Lots of people like to tinker around and check out new things with their system...and lots of people DO NOT backup their data. So all it takes is one person who doesnt backup and messes with the guest account.

Apple ads rag on MS for having viruses and malware. At least Windows doesnt wipe your data just by logging in to the system. I am willing to bet there are a TON of issues with OSX...they just havnt been discovered because most use Windows.

I am just curious on how long it takes Apple to patch this....

Microsoft should beat this to death. New ad campaign, "Windows 7: Not deleting all your user data just because you log in to a guest account." :P

"We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix,"

extremely rare cases? doesnt that depend on the users and whether or not they use a guest account? or is this bug not reproducible every time?

aero9 said,
"We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix,"

extremely rare cases? doesnt that depend on the users and whether or not they use a guest account? or is this bug not reproducible every time?


Unsure, I haven't actually been able to find someone who's been willing to sacrifice their mac in the name of science yet.

aero9 said,
"We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix,"

extremely rare cases? doesnt that depend on the users and whether or not they use a guest account? or is this bug not reproducible every time?


The repro steps require you have the Guest account enabled in Leopard, upgrade to Snow Leopard, and not do anything with the Guest account settings. I'm not sure if there is anything more specific you need to have, but that's from what I gathered.

I can't repro this issue on machine that I did a clean install of Snow Leopard. I'll try it on the machine that I upgraded from Leopard when I get home, but I didn't have the Guest account enabled so I'm guessing it won't repro there either.

owensd said,

The repro steps require you have the Guest account enabled in Leopard, upgrade to Snow Leopard, and not do anything with the Guest account settings. I'm not sure if there is anything more specific you need to have, but that's from what I gathered.

I can't repro this issue on machine that I did a clean install of Snow Leopard. I'll try it on the machine that I upgraded from Leopard when I get home, but I didn't have the Guest account enabled so I'm guessing it won't repro there either.


Yeah, it doesn't seem that "rare" seeing as most people would have upgraded in the first place

There could be another explanation. Remember how Apple said Snow Leopard would save xGB of your hard drive space, this is how they go about it!

this is a huge comment list of loling apple I havent seen any apple nerds coming over to defend their glorious platform yet.
Well let me do my part but i have nothing good really; Apple sucked before, apple sucks now and apple will continue sucking big time. Most of all their users.
Oh wait I got one: Who needs an antivirus? apple has backup!

Although Apple says it's extremely rare, from what I've read it effects anyone who has upgraded rather than doing a fresh install. So I'd imagine a lot of people have the problem, how many ever log on as Guest is another matter.

The people debating whether the use of the guest account is likely are missing the point. In this case, it would seem the fundamental *nix security model was compromised. Who cares if data loss is likely or not, an account was able to write to files to which it did not have permissions. This is a major failure up for a BSD-based OS.
Unless some daemon running as root wiped the directory, or the log-in screen.

I was wondering about the same when I read this:

bug in SL allowing you to bypass the login password.

"Find an account with no password (using the guest account results in data loss).

Now go to the login screen and click the account with no password, then quickly click on the account that HAS a password. Do this fast enough and you can login to your account without typing your password."

Apple: We have releases the time machine app as a solution for this bug! Get yours today! Available at all major stores and apple website. Small price to pay for the data we deleted off your computer!

sibot said,
Apple: We have releases the time machine app as a solution for this bug! Get yours today! Available at all major stores and apple website. Small price to pay for the data we deleted off your computer!

Lol

Wtf, the people defending Apple on this issue is ridiculous.

Just because people do not use Guest accounts often does not mean that this bug is fine LOL

This is bad, Apple should've picked this out. But all the PC people masturbating over a flaw with an Apple Operating System? A fair bit worse. The amount of times I read something bad about Windows and think, that must be bad for the users, but don't write a comment about how Windows must obviously be a steaming pile of turd based on this one thing; and then in this instance, your all up in your own balls, drooling over the prospect of being given an opening to have a go at ripping.
Yuck.

Brendando said,
This is bad, Apple should've picked this out. But all the PC people masturbating over a flaw with an Apple Operating System? A fair bit worse. The amount of times I read something bad about Windows and think, that must be bad for the users, but don't write a comment about how Windows must obviously be a steaming pile of turd based on this one thing; and then in this instance, your all up in your own balls, drooling over the prospect of being given an opening to have a go at ripping.
Yuck.

Yeh but Microsoft doesn't claim their OS to be invincible, Apple does. And anyways a bug like this is as bad as it gets.

Brendando said,
This is bad, Apple should've picked this out. But all the PC people masturbating over a flaw with an Apple Operating System? A fair bit worse. The amount of times I read something bad about Windows and think, that must be bad for the users, but don't write a comment about how Windows must obviously be a steaming pile of turd based on this one thing; and then in this instance, your all up in your own balls, drooling over the prospect of being given an opening to have a go at ripping.
Yuck.


Sorry dude... But this IS NOT the only flaw they've had. Snow Leopard has been riddled with problems.

Most people posting in here probably wouldn't understand, but you know, with Snow Leopard Apple have completely dropped support for their previous architecture, you think that's ever going to be smooth? **** knows how this bug was left in, shame on Apple for not testing it, ick!

So, dropping support causes these sort of issues .... and here I am thinking that adding support for hardware causes issues!!!!!!

Wow, that's truly horrific... But they've known about this since September? I would have though a fix would have been released by now...

That's scary...

But as usual "Apple has yet to make an official acknowledgement of the problem", don't think I remember them owning up to any problem other than minor things like Mobile Me performance. Not saying they never fix reported problems just they never own up to them.

Just read about another neat bug in SL allowing you to bypass the login password.

"Find an account with no password (using the guest account results in data loss).

Now go to the login screen and click the account with no password, then quickly click on the account that HAS a password. Do this fast enough and you can login to your account without typing your password."

All in all some really crap testing went in to SL. Makes you wonder what other major nasties are lurking.

m.keeley said,
Just read about another neat bug in SL allowing you to bypass the login password.

"Find an account with no password (using the guest account results in data loss).

Now go to the login screen and click the account with no password, then quickly click on the account that HAS a password. Do this fast enough and you can login to your account without typing your password."

All in all some really crap testing went in to SL. Makes you wonder what other major nasties are lurking.


There's a security flaw that if you press APPLE+S and type the right commands you can get an administrator account anyway

Owenw said,

There's a security flaw that if you press APPLE+S and type the right commands you can get an administrator account anyway

Single user mode gives root access. It's not a security flaw as that is its main design.

I'm sure you're aware that pretty much any operating system has the ability to reset an administrator password, given that you have physical access to the machine.

m.keeley said,
Just read about another neat bug in SL allowing you to bypass the login password.

"Find an account with no password (using the guest account results in data loss).

Now go to the login screen and click the account with no password, then quickly click on the account that HAS a password. Do this fast enough and you can login to your account without typing your password."

All in all some really crap testing went in to SL. Makes you wonder what other major nasties are lurking.


This issue by LoginWindowUI came about in 10.6.1. It is fixed in 10.6.2.

m.keeley said,
Just read about another neat bug in SL allowing you to bypass the login password.

"Find an account with no password (using the guest account results in data loss).

Now go to the login screen and click the account with no password, then quickly click on the account that HAS a password. Do this fast enough and you can login to your account without typing your password."

All in all some really crap testing went in to SL. Makes you wonder what other major nasties are lurking.

Wow! Such thing would never be possible in NT line of Windows. Many Features (like EFS) will never be able to work if the system doesn't have your password hash.
Windows 9x was not truly multi-user. They just had user profiles.

"Hello I'm a PC, and I'm a Mac. Hey Mac, I heard of this nasty bug you got that deletes all user data if they log into a guest account, log out and log back into the normal user account that it deletes all the data so it is unrecoverable.."

I can just see it now..

:rotfl:

kInG aLeXo said,
Imagine if that was a bug in Windows !

You don't need to imagine it, it happened twice already in Windows. WHS corrupted files, something much harder to detect. And even the Windows 7 Beta decided to trim music files as it pleased.

This isn't any different, it's also not easily reproducible as so far no one in this forum could, upgrade or not.

Ricardo Gil said,
You don't need to imagine it, it happened twice already in Windows. WHS corrupted files, something much harder to detect. And even the Windows 7 Beta decided to trim music files as it pleased.

This isn't any different, it's also not easily reproducible as so far no one in this forum could, upgrade or not.


Ohh yes, that makes sense..compare a beta product to a retail version.

Unfortunately .0 releases of OSX are often more like beta than retail versions, you can be certain that .1 and .2 will arrive shortly after.

But you're correct it's unfair to compare retail SL with MS betas.

m.keeley said,
Unfortunately .0 releases of OSX are often more like beta than retail versions, you can be certain that .1 and .2 will arrive shortly after.

But you're correct it's unfair to compare retail SL with MS betas.

All retail versions are Final. There's nothing "more" or "less" "like a beta" if it is sold to the public at a price.

Master1 said,
but who used WHS anyways compared to the snow leopard user population out there ??

That is the same excuse being used by the Mac fanboys to justify the latest bug.

Jebadiah said,

All retail versions are Final. There's nothing "more" or "less" "like a beta" if it is sold to the public at a price.

That is the same excuse being used by the Mac fanboys to justify the latest bug.

well i mean windows home server is a server operating system whereas snow leopard is a consumer operating system

Ricardo Gil said,
Maybe you missed the part where the H stands for Home. WHS is a consumer OS.

yes its supposed to be a home server but how many everyday computers that people use shipped with windows home server actually

Ricardo Gil said,
You don't need to imagine it, it happened twice already in Windows. WHS corrupted files, something much harder to detect. And even the Windows 7 Beta decided to trim music files as it pleased.

This isn't any different, it's also not easily reproducible as so far no one in this forum could, upgrade or not.


This has NEVER happened in Windows... Get it straight.

It clearly states on the dialog box that enables the Guest Account...

"When a guest user logs out, all information and files in the guest account's home folder are deleted."

This is by design, like an account on a Kiosk or Internet Terminal, where a user needs to save their data on a USB Key or external HDD.

(snipped)

diman1971 said,
It clearly states on the dialog box that enables the Guest Account...

"When a guest user logs out, all information and files in the guest account's home folder are deleted."

This is by design, like an account on a Kiosk or Internet Terminal, where a user needs to save their data on a USB Key or external HDD.years!


and when they log back out of the account and back into their normal one, they find that their account has been fully reset with all data wiped and lost


Now, the question is... who is dumb

diman1971 said,
This is by design, like an account on a Kiosk or Internet Terminal, where a user needs to save their data on a USB Key or external HDD.

Apparently you didn't read the article. Not only does it wipe the guest account clean, it also wipes the main account clean, as well.

iamwhoiam said,
Apparently you didn't read the article. Not only does it wipe the guest account clean, it also wipes the main account clean, as well.

I like the phrase "by design" What does it mean? Is it a good thing?

That's weird - I use an account upgraded from Leopard, have a guest account, and haven't run into this bug despite others using the guest account several times this last week. Is it only if you Fast User Switch to a guest account?

(I've only used switch-to-guest-account-from-locked-screen)

Jobs @ a Mac conference:
1. Login to Guest account, logoff
2. Login to your account..
3. Boom..all your datas are gone!
4. Its amazing ;-)

This is terrible, after complaining that Windows 7 RC had deleted 6GB of documents and jpegs during (during drag and drop, screen went milky white for about ten seconds; the folders still existed but were empty; only a tenth of the files were retrievable with a raft of expensive rescue programs and most of those unreadable, despite shutting down the computer immediately after to prevent the lost data being overwritten; worst computer week of my life; never ever use 'Release Candidate' software as your primary operating system), and that I was looking at Snow Leopard, I don't know where to turn, now? Damn it. I'm not sure how you accidentally log into a guest account, how is that even possible, but still... What now, Linux? What's its track record like? Or do I go back to Windows XP on my PCs and stick with Leopard on my Mac?

Please dont take this the wrong way , but using a release candidate as your main OS is rather fool hardy be it Mac , Windows or a *Nix distro.

Maybe trying a full "RTM" type product would be a better solution as your main OS....just an idea, always works for me.

Both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are great OSes that are ready for prime time. Windows 7 has had its major bugs ironed out already. This bug in Snow Leopard is apparently not easy to reproduce, and will not even work on a clean install. So if you were planning on buying a new Mac, this wouldn't even affect you. Linux, for the most part is as stable as you'd be able to make it; the more knowledge you have, the better it will work for you.

detoxa said,
Please dont take this the wrong way , but using a release candidate as your main OS is rather fool hardy be it Mac , Windows or a *Nix distro.

Maybe trying a full "RTM" type product would be a better solution as your main OS....just an idea, always works for me.

I know, I put my neck on the block by relating my experience as a warning to others, but I agree and said as much in my post.

I additionally was unable to install the RC of Windows 7 on a Asus P5VD2-MX motherboard with a Geforce 7300GS graphics card; a couple of users reported that in order to get it to work you had to hack files from the previous beta release, which works, into the RC but that thread, unhelpful to the RC program, was understandably closed down; the assumption has been that the RTM will work. Hope so. I just read that the Snow Leopard bug doesn't occur on machines with a clean install. It does sound to me, though, that Apple tried to get the jump on Microsoft by releasing Snow Leopard a little too early; the next update contains features that should have made the RTM; anyone know if Snow Leopard can be slip streamed?

The steps to reproduce this bug are either poorly detailed and or it simply is not the case. I am not able to reproduce this bug across our QA test area at my job where we have multiple machines running 10.6.1 and multiple dummy accounts. Typical Neowin to blow this out of proportion.

AaronMT said,
The steps to reproduce this bug are either poorly detailed and or it simply is not the case. I am not able to reproduce this bug across our QA test area at my job where we have multiple machines running 10.6.1 and multiple dummy accounts. Typical Neowin to blow this out of proportion.

Is your 10.6.1 install a fresh install or a update?

Only happens on update.

Typical Windows users. Read about ONE fault elsewhere and somehow they feel it forgives Windows for the countless problems with itself.

The article mentions a thread that contains 45 posts, most of which aren't from people with this problem, who claim an occasional issue with something that only occurs in a particular method, sometimes but not always. It's not like Windows where such things happen all the time and for months and years.

I'm writing this from an office where the entire place has their Windows computers infected by some virus and I have to wait till the IT guy gets free for our meeting.

drhowarddrfine said,
Typical Windows users. Read about ONE fault elsewhere and somehow they feel it forgives Windows for the countless problems with itself.

The article mentions a thread that contains 45 posts, most of which aren't from people with this problem, who claim an occasional issue with something that only occurs in a particular method, sometimes but not always. It's not like Windows where such things happen all the time and for months and years.

I'm writing this from an office where the entire place has their Windows computers infected by some virus and I have to wait till the IT guy gets free for our meeting.

But this causes data lost. I also ask you to define Window's fault because AFAIK It doesnt have any for me.

The viruses in your office arent Window's fault, they are the IT admin's fault for not putting a decent antivirus and configuring the computer correctly.


Please dont catch feelings; It is just a OS.

drhowarddrfine said,
I'm writing this from an office where the entire place has their Windows computers infected by some virus and I have to wait till the IT guy gets free for our meeting.

You have pretty stupid people working at your office. The entire place has infected Windows PC's? That's brutal. At least they aren't losing their data though.

I suspect the office us full of Apple users who install everything and anything as apple fanboys do.
The issue is IT gave you admin rights when clearly your staff cant handle it.

Because, as Roadwarrior mentioned, using the Guest account is very rare. Not defending it in anyway, but, you would be hard pressed to find someone doing beta testing on such an account. I'm inclined to believe that whatever was changed in the code for that function was believed insignificant, so it wasn't thoroughly tested. I have three Macs and haven't been affected by any of these major bugs. I definitely feel for those that have, though.

Sad to see that so many others are creaming at their loins over the misfortune of others just over their hatred for all things Apple.

Once again another story that proves what i tell every friend that somehow got their data mysteriously erased.

Backup your ****!

It seems the only work around at this stage is to disable the Guest account, or at least disable it and then re-enabling it so that it's a native Snow Leopard account

Sounds like this only occurs if you upgrade to SL. A fresh install might be ok. Bad bug all the same.

Shouldn't this news item be pinned to the top of the front page? It's a pretty severe bug, yet not many sites are reporting it.

Mephistopheles said,
Shouldn't this news item be pinned to the top of the front page? It's a pretty severe bug, yet not many sites are reporting it.

Its Apple. If it was Microsoft, it would be pinned at top, the news passed to CNN/BBC/etc, forums going crazy, etc.
But since its Apple....Its still cool.

Not defending Apple at all in this case, but honestly, what percentage of people actually enable the guest account on their OS (ANY OS????). In all my years of using computers (I'm 38, and have had a computer since I was 12), I don't think I've ever enabled it, not on Windows, not on the old Mac OS, not on OS X, and not on Linux. I've just never seen the need. If I want to allow someone else to be able to access the computer, I create a user account for them. It's usually actually quicker and easier than trying to figure out how to enable the Guest account (depening on the OS).

roadwarrior said,
Not defending Apple at all in this case, but honestly, what percentage of people actually enable the guest account on their OS (ANY OS????). In all my years of using computers (I'm 38, and have had a computer since I was 12), I don't think I've ever enabled it, not on Windows, not on the old Mac OS, not on OS X, and not on Linux. I've just never seen the need. If I want to allow someone else to be able to access the computer, I create a user account for them. It's usually actually quicker and easier than trying to figure out how to enable the Guest account (depening on the OS).

And that's not the point. The point is there's a bug in a feature that is offered by the OS.

roadwarrior said,
Not defending Apple at all in this case, but honestly, what percentage of people actually enable the guest account on their OS (ANY OS????). In all my years of using computers (I'm 38, and have had a computer since I was 12), I don't think I've ever enabled it, not on Windows, not on the old Mac OS, not on OS X, and not on Linux. I've just never seen the need. If I want to allow someone else to be able to access the computer, I create a user account for them. It's usually actually quicker and easier than trying to figure out how to enable the Guest account (depening on the OS).

When I have Guests over and they wish to use my PC, I enable the Guess account.

On my Windows 7 which doesnt delete data I might add :P

I use the Guest account when Charter comes to work on my internet connection. I would be quite upset if my user account was blown away because of that. As upset as if my Window Home Server deleted everything I copied onto it. :P

Master1 said,
that's apple fanboys for you !

hmm somehow I vaguely remember something similar now. Who needs and FM tuner on his Ipod?

But it is only good if you store your info on a backup drive. I wonder how many people who purchased new macs with the latest version of the OS also purchased an exteranal backup source or how many users who upgraded to the latest have a external backup source.

.Neo said,
Apple ships Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard with Time Machine for a reason you know...

They ship Time Machine because their OS is buggy and will delete your data? Good to know I guess, lol.

Things like this and the fact that every major OSX release isn't really ready until 10.x.2 or sometimes later (and they seem to be getting worse with each release, not better excluding 10.0.0 which was beta quality) shows that Apple's choice of secrecy and only limited beta testers just doesn't work. They should release public betas, as MS do, which provides a massive amount of testing (many, many man years worth), of course it means more work to administer/monitor all the feedback but it's not as though they're a 1 man band.

Although I have a Mac Pro with Windows 7 being as good as it is I'm tempted to set my startup disk to my bootcamp partition and only use OSX when I feel the need to, which at this rate won't be often.

m.keeley said,
Although I have a Mac Pro with Windows 7 being as good as it is I'm tempted to set my startup disk to my bootcamp partition and only use OSX when I feel the need to, which at this rate won't be often.

Why on earth did you buy a Mac Pro then? The only reason I can think of is running software like Logic Pro or Final Cut. You could have built a lot cheaper computer with the same specs if you don't need to use OSX so often, and get a cheap mac mini for the rare occasions you feel like running it. :P

Because I like OSX, however you do get fed up of all the half baked releases. Snow Leopard is the latest in a long line of versions that has been released too early, they're already seeding .2 with about 100 bug fixes on top of what was fixed in .1 Just not good enough.

Yes I'd miss things like Aperture but Light Room is fine and in some ways better.

For the price I paid for the Mac Pro, which was second hand, I couldn't have built a dual quad core xeon system with 12GB ram and 4TB storage for less.

As for Mac Mini's they're overpriced junk, had one, painfully slow. I could have turned my other desktop in to a Hackintosh if I wanted to go that way, did for a short time to make sure everything worked 100% but then saw the Mac Pro for sale.

But I thought Macs just work...

I am so disillusioned now.

Seriously though. I expect Apple will hold off for the immediate time on showing their insipid ads. Those things are an insult to the intelligence of most any knowledgeable computer user.

krasch said,
But I thought Macs just work...

I like to compare a Mac to the London Underground. When it's working it's a little piece of heaven that no man can live without. But when it's not, boy oh boy, you better believe it doesn't do it by halves.

Want to lose all your data? There's an app for that!

(I know I know, it's not an iPhone)

The next Mac/PC guys ad has Justin Long talking and then just going silent with a blank stare that freaks out John Hodgman...

Indeed. The tough part here is that when you beta an OS you don't do production work on it, so you don't often save many files you want to keep, etc. etc.

In fact you keep things VERY bare since you know you'll have to wipe it as soon as the next beta comes your way.

In this case, it is possible the bug was simply never seen since the beta testers might not have noticed any missing data where there wasn't any before.

I think this is a feature way back in leopard. It's turned ON by default for guest accounts, more like the "deep freeze" feat by some apps in the Windows World.

If only Microsoft would take this incident and blow it all out of proportion (not that deleting ALL of your data can be made into a bigger deal). If the shoe were on the other foot we would be seeing Apple commercials with Justin Long talking about how Mac's "just work" and PC's lose all of your data. Damn it Microsoft! Stop taking the high road. Let's see you sling some crud! Put those Apple fanboy's and their beloved Apple in its place for once!

Tim Dawg said,
If only Microsoft would take this incident and blow it all out of proportion (not that deleting ALL of your data can be made into a bigger deal). If the shoe were on the other foot we would be seeing Apple commercials with Justin Long talking about how Mac's "just work" and PC's lose all of your data. Damn it Microsoft! Stop taking the high road. Let's see you sling some crud! Put those Apple fanboy's and their beloved Apple in its place for once!

I think MS should be above that.

Tim Dawg said,
If only Microsoft would take this incident and blow it all out of proportion (not that deleting ALL of your data can be made into a bigger deal). If the shoe were on the other foot we would be seeing Apple commercials with Justin Long talking about how Mac's "just work" and PC's lose all of your data. Damn it Microsoft! Stop taking the high road. Let's see you sling some crud! Put those Apple fanboy's and their beloved Apple in its place for once!

With Microsoft having over 90% of the desktop market, they don't need to sling crud.

testman said,
With Microsoft having over 90% of the desktop market, they don't need to sling crud.


They have that high percentage because the average Joe on the street is too stupid to know that there is anything else.

roadwarrior said,
They have that high percentage because the average Joe on the street is too stupid to know that there is anything else.


Yet not stupid enough to buy an overpriced iAppliance that will delete all our data?

roadwarrior said,
They have that high percentage because the average Joe on the street is too stupid to know that there is anything else.


I would say not throwing money at a company to feel part of a "community" that worships overpriced PCs, is pretty damn smart. Ok, back to playing games. Wanna lan?

roadwarrior said,
They have that high percentage because the average Joe on the street is too stupid to know that there is anything else.

Yeah, they're "stupid" because they didn't buy an overpriced status symbol. I think I hear an Apple fan crying.

Tim Dawg said,
If only Microsoft would take this incident and blow it all out of proportion (not that deleting ALL of your data can be made into a bigger deal). If the shoe were on the other foot we would be seeing Apple commercials with Justin Long talking about how Mac's "just work" and PC's lose all of your data. Damn it Microsoft! Stop taking the high road. Let's see you sling some crud! Put those Apple fanboy's and their beloved Apple in its place for once!


Microsoft has way too much class for that.

roadwarrior said,
They have that high percentage because the average Joe on the street is too stupid to know that there is anything else.

wow, just called most of the people on this site stupid huh? Way to make friends....

Oh the brilliant irony of advertisements, right now there are "Clean My Mac" ads all over this page :P . "Enjoy Your Clean Mac with a few clicks only!"

Uhh. Ok. It's easy to say everything you want when it didn't happen to you. I'm a total Windows user, but I feel the pain of even Mac users and feel justified that i'm speaking for everyone when I say "Data loss sucks".

Let me add this to the list of snow leopard bugs *licks finger and turns to page two, three..ahh here we go...four*

Steeley said,
Let me add this to the list of snow leopard bugs *licks finger and turns to page two, three..ahh here we go...four*

4 bugs in 4 pages? What a waste of papers.

Apple being fashionably late to the T-Mobile, Danger, Microsoft, Hitachi delete fest/party.
del *.* /s /q
format c: /q
fdisk /mbr

Happy as a clam Windows user here, but it shouldn't be forgotten that very early on, Vista had a problem where deleting something in the file pane might accidentally delete the entire folder. This got some degree of attention, though it doesn't seem nearly as bad as losing all of your information just for using a basic feature that shouldn't have anything to do with file removal in the first place.

Guest user accounts do have something to do with file removal - they are designed to remove all files used upon logging out. I believe this fault makes the normal account think it is a guest account and so proceeds to delete everything.

Einlander said,
Apple being fashionably late to the T-Mobile, Danger, Microsoft, Hitachi delete fest/party.
del *.* /s /q
format c: /q
fdisk /mbr

How is intentionally deleting files or formatting your hard drive even remotely related to this? If you type in a command to delete all the files on your drive and don't expect to lose your files, I'm sorry but you're just stupid. There's a huge difference between typing in cryptic commands and simply logging into your guest account.

TRC said,


How is intentionally deleting files or formatting your hard drive even remotely related to this? If you type in a command to delete all the files on your drive and don't expect to lose your files, I'm sorry but you're just stupid. There's a huge difference between typing in cryptic commands and simply logging into your guest account.


Some one got told.

whats wrongwith having my own delete party? I cant get windows to willingly delete it for me so i have to do it myself. shift+delete enter

FrostyIsland said,
apple lucky..sadly if windows came out if the same problem..it'll be all over cnn.

if that was true, they would need to devote a weekly 2 hour program. Or what do you think happens on patch Tuesdays, new themes and icons?

Hold Apple liable! They trumpet OS X as the most stable and secure computing platform yet they deliver total crap like this. If Microsoft pulled a stunt like this, the FTC and trial lawyers would be all over it like flies on s***. This is one of the most clear cut cases of diceptive advertising ever.

they should be held liable, yes. But advertising really has nothing to do with it, it's advertising.

I can see it ticking off a home user, who let's their kids use the computer and then bam their files are gone. Who get's blamed? The kid of course.

rafter109 said,
Hold Apple liable!

Sadly Apple probably isn't liable.
In most western nations (and any country with consumer protection laws) there is an 'implied warranty of merchantability'. The idea is that anything you sell comes with an implied guarantee that it suitable for the purpose for which the product or service is sold. For example: If I sell you a hammer it's implied that it's suitable for driving nails. If the hammer shatters when you try to pound a screw into sheetrock then I may be found at fault and you could be entitled to some form of restitution (or if my product shatters and severs your arm: I could be responsible for the harm and in sever cases subject to negligence charges).


The implied warranty does not require that a product be suitable for all purposes for which an item may be used. For example if my hammer worked fine for driving nails but you decided to use it as a garden tool and it rusted: I'm not responsible for that and even if you were injured you wouldn't be entitled to compensation.

Exactly how far merchantability laws go is unclear. Some companies err on the side of caution: that's why you see things like electric heaters "not to be used as a floatation device": the company is concerned that somebody, somewhere will try to use their heater in a pool, get electrocuted, and then file a complaint. Having the fine print would allow them to defend against claims. It's mostly motivated by American legal victories but the EU isn't totaly safe either.

In the case of EULAs there haven't been many tests of "fitness to the purpose". Some countries have found that a customer can't sign away their consumer rights in an EULA or otherwise (refunds on bundled copies of Windows is the case that comes to mind) but the last time I checked there were no firm findings that operating systems are required to be 'suitable for the purpose of running your computer' (ridiculous: right?)

Realistically this will play out exactly the same as every other data loss bug in the history of computing: an update will be released and everyone will forget.

They trumpet OS X as the most stable and secure computing platform yet they deliver total crap like this. If Microsoft pulled a stunt like this, the FTC and trial lawyers would be all over it like flies on s***. This is one of the most clear cut cases of diceptive advertising ever.

It happened last year in Windows Home Server: saving files (under certain circumstances) caused them to be erased or become corrupted beyond recovery. It was fixed a month or two after being reported and that was the end of that. This issue springs to mind because it hit my parents, whom I think were the only people on earth to ever buy one of those boxes. I vividly remember getting the call: I was face down, naked, hungover, and laying in a puddle of water at the cabinâ€Â¦the phone rang "The computer lost Coronation Street, how do we get it back?!"

evn. said,
The implied warranty does not require that a product be suitable for all purposes for which an item may be used. For example if my hammer worked fine for driving nails but you decided to use it as a garden tool and it rusted: I'm not responsible for that and even if you were injured you wouldn't be entitled to compensation.


How is using the guest account (which Apple provides) not a reasonable senario?

Chrono951 said,
How is using the guest account (which Apple provides) not a reasonable senario?

You might also ask how moving files to a Windows Home Server box (which is bullet point #1 on the box) or simply plugging in a firewire drive (which is pretty much the only thing you an do with one) not a reasonable scenario?


The point is: there is a long history of data-loss issues caused by software where the consumer is ultimately left holding the bag. If you don't agree with that write a letter to your local consumer protection agency, minister of industry, and member of parliament/senator. This is something everybody needs to do because even if Apple or Microsoft were to be held to responsible for this sort of thing in one country (ie: England) that wouldn't apply to people living in the Americas or Asia.


In the case of Apple specifically - they have this to say about the implied warranty of merchantability:

Your exclusive remedy under this Section shall be, at Apple̢۪s option, a refund of the purchase price of the product containing the Apple Software or replacement of the Apple Software which is returned to Apple or an Apple authorized representative with a copy of the receipt. THIS LIMITED WARRANTY AND ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES ON THE MEDIA INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, AND OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, ARE LIMITED IN DURATION TO NINETY (90) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ORIGINAL RETAIL PURCHASE. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON HOW LONG AN IMPLIED WARRANTY LASTS, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

wrt. to EULA enforcability, there are two possible outcomes:

  • EULAs are unenforceable. The only conditions where onerous EULA conditions were found to be unlawful were cases of click-through agreements. In those cases Microsoft/Dell (possibly others) had EULAs that were said to be 'accepted' immediately upon turning on a computer and/or opening a sealed package (in both cases you couldn't read the EULA before accepting it). One of the conditions of the license in question said the user lost the ability to return the software for a refund. The courts rejected that specific portion of the EULA. They also held that EULAs were binding provided they could be read prior to accepting the terms of the license (Apple includes a paper version in every box and allows you to read it electronically on all of their systems before you agree to it). If any part of a modern EULA is going to be rendered unenforceable it won't be because a user was unable to enter into the contract knowingly.
  • The specific disclaimer wrt. merchantability will be rendered unenforceable. In the past courts have ruled certain portions of an EULA is unenforceable even if the customer 'knowingly' accepted the conditions. I couldn't write an EULA that says "by agreeing to this license you are my slave": it would be struck down.

    Specific to software: the courts have ruled that licenses that signing-away first-sale rights in the USA are not valid (see Autodesk v. Vernor). In the EU extended consumer protections (like buyers remorse protections) have been ruled to take precedence over EULA limitations. You'll often see lines like the "if your nation doesn't allow time limits on warranties to be set then this bit doesn't apply". Provided a contract was entered in good faith courts will strike down individual provisions, not the entire contract.

In order for a successful suit to be launched against any developer you would have to prove several things:

  • A bug exists, it causes data loss (0)
  • That implied merchantability warranty is valid wrt. computer software is valid (1)
  • That any disclaimers in the EULA are unenforceable (2)
  • That the remedy offered in the EULA—typically return the software, end your license, and receive a refund—is unacceptable (3).
  • That the bug in #1 means the software doesn't live up to merchantability requirements (4).

0. Let's just grant this as a sure thing for the purpose of argument.
1. Has never been established that implied merchantability applies to software (just like establishing murder vs manslaughter has rules, so does determining if the IWM applied to a product). IMO it's possible to make a reasonable case that no such implied warranty exists. Depending on where the case is brought I think this could go either way.
2. Is easier said than done. In some jurisdictions I think that could be shown (the EU, it has much better consumer protection rules than the US). The UCC does allow you to disclaim implied warranties (I checked in my old business law text from university) but it's possible that the court may limit this in certain circumstances. It's the sort of thing that would be argued out over many years because any verdict would be appealed at least once. If I bet on lawsuits I'd say this is a long shot but it could work out in some places.
3. Is extremely unlikely, probably even impossible. Courts are guided by previous rulings and in those cases the courts have always decided that simply nullifying the contract is appropriate.
4. Establishing this would be very difficult due to the somewhat nebulous nature of merchantability requirements. The easiest to way to think of it would be if you were arguing a fight between two white guys was a hate crime. You might try to argue one guy was a neo-nazi and the other was a xionist but both would be able to put forth a strong defence that it was a simple assault. If you can't prove it was a hate crime then you can't go forth with the trial (we'd be assuming simple assualt isn't a crime for the purpose of this illustration).

That's why you don't see "Oh you lost my data: pay day!" class action lawsuits. The issues are very complex.

evn. said,
...I vividly remember getting the call: I was face down, naked, hungover, and laying in a puddle of water at the cabinâ€Â¦the phone rang "The computer lost Coronation Street, how do we get it back?!"


Ummm....what the hell were you doing?

Tim Dawg said,
Ummm....what the hell were you doing? :blink:

First really good party of the sumer: the details of the night before are a bit hazy, but the hangover is not something I'll forget.
I think I fell into the lake and decided to just "take a nap" while getting changed.

Sounds like the Sidekick users who have lost all their data are going for a class action lawsuit. Not sure whether it's different that the data was lost due to there being no backups compared to a software bug. You could say the software wasn't fit for purpose in which case there could be a case???

evn. said,
Some companies err on the side of caution: that's why you see things like electric heaters "not to be used as a floatation device": the company is concerned that somebody, somewhere will try to use their heater in a pool, get electrocuted, and then file a complaint.


Can corpses file legal complaints? rofl

Frank Fontaine said,
Can corpses file legal complaints? rofl

No, but the surviving members of the family are likely to sue.

rafter109 said,
Hold Apple liable! They trumpet OS X as the most stable and secure computing platform yet they deliver total crap like this. If Microsoft pulled a stunt like this, the FTC and trial lawyers would be all over it like flies on s***. This is one of the most clear cut cases of diceptive advertising ever.

Microsoft has pulled a stunt like this. Microsoft also claims in advertising that they are the most stable and secure, they even produce sponsored studies proving this. The government has not stepped in in the past, with the chkdsk bug that deleted data.

This is a huge bug, but lets not get too excited about it. Do you know what schadenfraude is?

Jebadiah said,
They are.


Actually, no they are not. I'm not underplaying the severity of this bug, but I find it odd so many people are logging in to their "guest" accounts, it's not really easy to do by accident. Oh well, this kind of thing really should not make it through QA.

bob_c_b said,
Actually, no they are not. I'm not underplaying the severity of this bug, but I find it odd so many people are logging in to their "guest" accounts, it's not really easy to do by accident. Oh well, this kind of thing really should not make it through QA.


You mean because maybe there are a lot of people that might not use their computer exactly the same way you do? I know, crazy. Unless you took of a poll of every Mac user, then how the hell do you know "actually, no they are not."? That's right, you don't.

bob_c_b said,
Actually, no they are not. I'm not underplaying the severity of this bug, but I find it odd so many people are logging in to their "guest" accounts, it's not really easy to do by accident. Oh well, this kind of thing really should not make it through QA.

Who says they are doing it by accident? It does have a purpose after all. Claiming that you know how everyone else uses their computers is ridiculous.

TRC said,
Who says they are doing it by accident? It does have a purpose after all. Claiming that you know how everyone else uses their computers is ridiculous.

What purpose, I have never used it, can't see a use for it. Maybe you can enlighten us.

While this is a huge bug, and there is no excuse for it, it would never affect me or a lot of people I know.

Bunk said,
What purpose, I have never used it, can't see a use for it.

Gee, maybe the name itself "Guest Account" might provide you with a clue. Try not to think too hard about it though! :P

LMAO! Yeah how 'bout it. I guess those people that buy Apple because, "they just want it to work" are thinking twice about their over-priced decision.

...back to 12th September, but as of yet, Apple has been silent.

Wow. BIG surprise! Then again, this from a company that never does anything wrong.

Litespeed said,

Still didn't have the balls to put the "I'm a PC" sticker over the Apple logo though.


But then how would you know it's a thousands dollar Macbook, and not just a powerful 700$ laptop?

Litespeed said,

Still didn't have the balls to put the "I'm a PC" sticker over the Apple logo though.

I like the glow from the apple logo *blush*

rm20010 said,
You blew your bandwidth limit. :O

Whoa O_O

...gotta upload it elsewhere then..unfortunately the Pics is on my other PC....unless..