How to open a finder window as root:
http://yourmacguy.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/finder-with-root-access/ 10.5 and
Saved my butt today, fixing a department head's munged Powerbook...something
ate his home directory, he could log on, but then it went to the background and
nothing else ever appeared: no dock, no Desktop, etc.
FORTUNATELY (HINT HINT!!!) there was another user account with Admin privileges
already present on the computer. I was able to log in as that user.
Here's the fix, if you ever find yourself in this situation.
Applejack found most or all of the missing pieces of his user directory
structure and put it in /lost+found as a long series of numbered folders
523343, 512244, etc etc..
I logged in, renamed his now ruined home directory.
I had him log in; in the absence of a valid home directory, OS X will create a
new, empty one.
I then logged back in as the first user (fast user switching roxxors), and
opened a finder window as root, per the directions above. This now allowed me
to open his normally locked home directory in the finder.
Then I looked through the myriad of folders in /lost+found. Fortunately it
looked like most of his /library folder was one of them, most of his Pictures
folder another, etc. I moved the files and folders into the appropriate places.
Once I was done in finder I want back to the terminal window where I started a
finder instance as root and control-c'ed out of the command. Then I went to
users and did: sudo chown -R theuser:thegroup theuser/
Whenere theuser is the user's short name, and thegroup is the user's group.
This can be determined by the follwong command in Terminal:
open a new Terminal Window and enter:
You'll see something like this:
dbdev2:~ johnson$ cd /Users
dbdev2:Users johnson$ ls -l
drwxrwxrwt 18 root wheel 612 Dec 14 16:31 Shared
drwxr-xr-x 21 helpdesk helpdesk 714 Dec 15 10:42 helpdesk
drwxr-xr-x@ 260 johnson johnson 8840 Apr 25 09:21 johnson
drwxr-xr-x 15 test staff 510 Aug 20 2010 test
looking at the top line, root is the user, wheel is the group. Since 10.4 or so
users have had their primary group one with the same name as their short
username. (see helpdesk helpdesk, or johnson johnson). IN earlier versions of
OSX your default group was 'staff'.
The chown command above makes sure that all the files in the user's directory
are owned by him (CHange OWNership) since root was moving (and in some cases
copying) the files many could have been owned by root)
After this, he was able to log in again and most of his stuff was as he left it.
I was still getting problems booting up as in taking 5-10 minutes to boot (In
10.6, possibly 10.5, if the system boots up with a long progress bar like a
safe boot, fsck is having problems with the drive. In earlier versions of the
OS I think the spinning gear just keeps on spinning, making it appear that
nothing is going on) It would eventually boot but take forever.
(Another useful hint: I rebooted holding down the Command-V keys; this boots in
'verbose' mode, showing the old school Unix boot screen, where I was able to
see that the system was repeatedly trying to repair the disk with fsck)
Connected it via FWTM to my iMac, tried Disk Utility to repair, no go. Tried
Disk Warrior and DW once again proved it's worth, by handily rebuilding his
disk directory and restoring his system back to normal.
His external drives for Time Machine (which I suggested he get a YEAR AGO!) are
now winging their way here...
As with ANYTHING done as root, you can really screw up the system. Using Finder
like this is taking a heavy-duty power tool, removing all the safety guards,
duct taping it to your hands and supergluing the trigger to the 'ON' position.
If you don't know what you're doing, you can lop off a limb before you know
what happened to you...
Use wisely :-)
University of Arizona
College of Pharmacy
Information Technology Group
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