back to article Fanbois howl over data-munching Snow Leopard bug

More than month after reports of a home-directory-eating Snow Leopard bug first surfaced, Apple fanbois continue to howl that the new Mac operating system is munching their personal data. CNet's MacFixIt site first reported the alleged bug on September 8, after noticing a few posts on Apple's support forums, and now, as ITWire …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    So you perform an OS upgrade without first performing a backup. No matter what OS is your poison, that is asking for trouble!

  2. John Freeman

    Great Title

    Usually, there's about 60+ fanboy comments about MS gaffs before I log on. Guess no one wants to stand in line to taste what they're shoveling?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I shouldn't laugh ...

    ... but Oh how I did most righteously howl my socks off.

  4. gollux

    Gotta watch out for those helpful predators....

    Crunch, munch, munch, sluurrrrp! Voila, you have more disk space!!!

    All free gratis by your friendly Snow Leopard...

  5. Tzael

    Ooh that's gotta hurt...

    Ouch. Just ouch. I'm trying hard to suppress my inner bastard and not smile. Ouch.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Reg vs. CNET

    "Apple does not send such things to The Reg, but it has tossed a statement at Cnet acknowledging Snow Leopard's data loss bug."

    Ah the fun of pissing off a company. Beside CNET is so damn boring that no one reads it.

  7. Chris iverson

    And that is why...

    I am a fan of copy my documents folder to the second drive, disconnect said second drive, perform clean install of the OS or restore image(I do a bit of mucking about), copy my documents back from newly reconnected second drive.

    I on my way

  8. Charles Manning

    re: Backup?

    Who really does backups?

    If you have a 100G of media files etc then doing backups is theoretically a good idea, but it s far from practical. Telling people to do a backup before a sw installation is just legal weasel-wording.

    Sometimes I miss the days when a whole PC hard disk could fit on a box full of floppies.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    250GB of data without a backup?

    Utterly inexcusable- especially on a Mac. They're the overpriced Duplo version of computers, meaning that (a) the owner has disposable income to blow on, say, a cheap external hard drive and (b) backing up is a piece of cake (I think it's Time Machine on Macs?)

    Also, even on the supposedly utterly hacker and virus proof Macs who the good-God-damned-Hell enables the guest account? Never, EVER enable the Guest account. You're just asking for trouble.

    "iHate" icon because the Jobsian (w)hordes appear to have convinced themselves that Apple stuff's always going to be safe to use. But remember, guys- even on those bigger, more colourful blocks you can still catch a corner!

    (For some more stereotype reinforcing, Windows users wouldn't have a computer that stayed stable long enough to build up 250GB of data, and Linux users would have 250GB of data (comprised entirely of torrented distros) spread over some obscure version of a tape-based RAID array just to prove how hardcore they are to both of the people they talk to in real life).

  10. Neoc

    Ahhh, memories



    <tap tap tippity tap>

    "Right, you now have 4 megs of disk space."

    "Wow, with my existing 4 megs I now have 8 megs, right?"

    "No, I said you now have 4 megs of disk space."

    I wait.



  11. James O'Brien

    Need more disc space?

    There an app for that!

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Always make a backup. Never jump on the latest release of anything right away.

  13. Dave Murray
    Jobs Horns

    No backup

    "I had 250GB of data without backup and I lost everything: years and years of documents, pictures, video, music!!!"

    Couldn't have happened to a more deserving luser.

  14. Dave Ross

    Ok so

    Now Mac users learn what Windows users have known for years, if you want to keep something, never leave in the Documents folder, put it on a separate HD and back it up if it's that important.

  15. Christian Berger

    Most Macs were not made to store data

    Otherwise Apple would include the option to install 3 or more harddrives in the case so people can run a RAID 5.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But here's the obvious:

    "Users who had Apple's Time Machine backup service running say they were able to restore their lost data."

    As system bugs go, this is pretty severe, but if you don't back up your Home Directory on a regular basis - sorry for you. There's no excuse, because Time Machine does it all for you. Switch on and forget about it. How easy can it be?

  17. Gulfie

    Backups backups backups...

    Time Machine to an external FireWire drive and Chronosync to my NAS. Anybody who performs an OS upgrade with no backups, I'm afraid, will reap what they sow. 250Gb of 'vital data' and no copies? That's gotta be a fail.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Da tit´le went boomboom

    Damit why does these crappy bloated MS products always come with these redicilous design flaws, critical errors and insecurity. Can´t they do as Apple or Google does and make good well thought trough OS`es?

  19. Paul 4


    "backup... blah blah blah" How many people back up everything? I don't, but then I don't keep anything on my PC that I don't mind loseing.

    This is down to Apple producing rubbish. Any other industry and they would be in deep crap for damaging peoples stuff like that.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Just Fail

    Fuck that's funny!!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not a bug, heathens

    It's not a bug, it's a perfectly working feature working to design. The system it's perfect in every way, which is why it's so hard for you all to be humble.

    Not only is it not a bug, but it's *wonderful* and radical, and I've no doubt that in 10 years from now, Windows will steal the idea.

    Unless the profits speak to Steve in a dream and give him an *even better* idea, such as altering this perfect feature so that it no longer deletes files, in which case those changes will be **sooo** much better than how it is now.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    It just works!


  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. The BigYin

    Big, fat, hairy deal

    So it wipes your home directory. Whoop-dee-doo. Just reach for the back-ups and recover most of it.

    Yes, it's a pain in the ass.

    Yes, the bug should have been fixed before release.

    But not backing up YOUR data is YOUR fault.

    Regardless of OS.

    However if MS had done this the Appletards and Lintards would be swarming, I agree. But as it is Apple, there's nary a murmur from the usual suspects. Strange that. Probably too busy praying to The Holy PocketProtector that they don't get hit.

    I'm going to Karmic shortly after the release...guess what I'll be backing up?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm no Mac fanboy

    but while there is great good sense in saying 'always have a backup' and people who work in IT can all say that's what they always do, I think the average home user of any system, but especially one that has a reputation for 'just working' would expect to their upgrade to have been tested as safe to install

  26. Paul Hates Handles


    ...MACs just work, don't they?

  27. Anonymous Coward


    BOFH got pissed off by the Fanbois ?

    here you go there's lot of free space on your HDD now

  28. Paul 131

    whether you are a BallmerTard or fanboy

    The lack of backup is just asking for trouble!

  29. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    @Charles Manning

    "Who does a backup?" People who have lost their work in the past and / or people who have a brain.

    100Gb is nothing - we're not talking enterprise-grade backups here, that goes without saying that an enterprise should know better than to have 100Gb of un-archived data, we're talking home users.

    - Go to Maplin.

    - Buy 1TB removable drive for about £70 (or 250Gb for about £30 last time I looked).

    - Copy your entire 100Gb data over about once a week, deleting old copies every couple of months.

    Doesn't take much, because you do it while the computer is idle and most people barely notice the copy taking place in the background. Don't need secured backups, encrypted backups, multiple backups, grandfather-father-son, or any other stuff. I do that for networks, but home users don't need to go that far to give themselves *some* protection (as opposed to none at all). Use the old version of imaging software that are thrown onto the cover CD's of any computer magazine about three or four times a year, or just do a copy/paste of the documents folders.

    My rule as an IT Manager is : if your data doesn't exist in two places *minimum* (not counting extra "copies" I do for you, like backing up the network shares), then it doesn't exist. I don't particularly care if it's a USB key or a floppy or a hard drive or an email account... if you don't have at least two copies, why should I even try to recover it for you? Users quickly pick up on this (usually when they lose 100Gb for the sake of a £20 external drive and one hour a month of "backing up") and do it and within a week, it's second nature.

    When users say "Yeah, but I bet you don't do that on the network.", I 'misuse' the terms a little but say that the bare minimum before we even allowed users onto the system was:

    Three hard drives, each with a copy (actually RAID5, but it takes too long to explain).

    One daily backup (cycled through seven tapes).

    One weekly backup.

    One termly backup (I work in schools).

    One off-site termly backup.

    One external "fast" backup to a hard drive enclosure (cycled between two enclosures).

    PER SERVER. With Shadow Copies, etc. to catch accidentally deleted files.

    And that's the usual system in place for a *primary* school, for God's sake.

    So they can't take twenty seconds to connect a large, cheap, external hard drive / USB key, copy/paste their documents folders and do that once a week or even once a month so they don't lose *everything*? There's no excuse.

    Until it happens to you, you won't care. Then you'll realise how little effort / money it costs to back up. Workplaces throw away 20/40Gb laptop drives, the enclosures for them cost £1 and can fit into a jacket pocket or laptop case pocket easily. It takes seconds to initiate the copy and then you can work as normal. And when your harddrive dies, and you're staring at a blank screen, you'll have the nerves of "I hope my backup works okay, I'll go copy it onto John's computer to make sure" rather than "Oh, sh**, all my files are GONE!".

    Remember: AT LEAST TWO PLACES or it doesn't exist.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    >Who really does backups?

    Who has data they value and doesn't do backups? I have well over 300G of RAW images, working files backed up twice onsite + once offsite, plus originals archived to DVD 3 times, held in 3 different places. Not a lot of hassle and far cheaper than reshooting or explaining the loss to clients. Anyone who doesn't back up and relies on stuff on their machine to make a living has evidently seen the toast fall butter side up a bit too often.

    And yeah, AC 04:10, wait plenty till the gremlins have been squashed - or are at least well known and manageable. Especially if its an OS upgrade.

    Terminator, cos the machines really are out to get you

  31. frank ly

    What kind.....

    ..... of idiot keeps 250GB of data on a computer, with no external copy in case of HW/SW failure and then..... oh, forget it; they deserve every bad thing that happens to them.

  32. Richard 12 Silver badge

    @Charles Manning

    1TB external USB hard disks now cost under £80.

    Get two, keep one at work, swap 'em over every week and you've even got full off-site backup for less than you paid for your monitor.

    Backing up 250GB of stuff onto them doesn't take very long - set it copying, go to bed, all done by the time you get up. There's a fair few apps that do incremental backups, some are even free.

    That said, erasing *anything* at login is completely insane. Who wrote that login script?

  33. MacroRodent

    Just use a USB HD

    Charles Manning: "If you have a 100G of media files etc then doing backups is theoretically a good idea, but it s far from practical."

    Actually, quite practical. Last time I passed their IT stuff shelf, I noticed my neighbourhood supermarket selling a portable 750G USB-connected hard disk for 75 euros, and it is probably not even the best deal for those gadgets. I used to burn home directories and such on DVD:s when upgrading my Linux, next time I will probably use a drive like that. Not necessarily cheaper, but much more convenient. Those USB drives are not terribly fast, but not having to swap disks compensates for it.

  34. DelM

    Security the safest way

    If you allow guests on your computer, then certainly you want your personal data secure. How to better achieve this than by deleting your personal stuff so prying eyes can't see it? Makes sense to me.

    Mine's the one with the holes in the pockets; a thief can't steal from empty pockets.

  35. Alan Esworthy

    How long?

    If you put a million fanbois in a room each with a keyboard with only two keys, a zero and a one, how long will it take them to reproduce the lost 250GB by repeatedly slamming their heads into the keys?

    Oh, my, I just had the most bizarre mental image of the penitents of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With wireless keyboards.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    basic skills

    If you do your day to day things in Admin' mode you are a cretin, regardless of which OS you use.

    Create a named account, set it to "limited" and use that for day to day things.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Re: 250GB of data without a backup?

    There is a documentary about that. It is called "Sex and The City".

  38. Admiral Grace Hopper


    Who goes into production with v1.0 of any OS? Anyone? Anyone ... Bueller?

  39. JWS


    Looks like someone doesn't know what a partition is or never to keep anything important on the main partition! I keep all of my files on separate drives/partitions so that if Windows does bomb I just format and loose nothing. Maybe that's because I know how to use a computer and don't just go for shinny looking objects (based on said 250gb users English I feel this assumption is fair).

  40. magnetik

    @Charles Manning

    "Who really does backups? If you have a 100G of media files etc then doing backups is theoretically a good idea, but it s far from practical. Telling people to do a backup before a sw installation is just legal weasel-wording.


    You're kidding right? A 250GB external drive is only £40, and Time Machine makes backups so simple a child could do them. There's no excuse *not* to back up!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Lord Jobs, FFS!

    Why the hell have we even got guest accounts enabled on OS X?! Christ, we moan about WIndows secuirty, then sit there all smug with our Apple kit, banging on about never putting a foot wrong, then the Lord Jobs deems that it's OK to open the machine up with a freaking guest account!!! Love using my Macs, best move I made, but Apple are so up their own fundament as to no longer live the real world with the mere morals. The real world, where the nasties are around every corner. No guest accounts! Lock it or lose it!

    If you don’t need a port/service open, close it!

    If you need it secure, encrypt it!

    If you ever want to make sure you see it again if you F-up, back it up!

    “Security is not a dirty word Blackadder! Jobs is positively filthy word! Security isn’t!”

  42. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: I shouldn't laugh ...

    That's funny, me too. Maybe we need an icon for risible cockup induced sock loss?

  43. The Original Ash

    @Charles Manning

    Anybody who's used computers for more than 60 seconds, and has an ounce of common sense.

    I typically put the common sense quota of most lusers at around the same sort of scale as the LHC is attempting to observe.

    Fanboi fail. Always backup.

  44. Lord Lien

    Guest Account....

    What kind of dime bar would enable the guest account anyway.....

  45. Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    "Who really does backups?"

    Now, let me see, which is about the only mechanical part of my computer?

    The hard disk?

    So, which part is most likely to fail?

    The hard disk?

    Where do I keep all my valuable data?

    The hard disk?

    Too bloody right I back it up!

  46. Danny 14


    Music and videos being lost isnt too much of a problem as im sure they are tagged to their itunes but photographs and documents not being backed up is just plain lazy. Data that isnt backed up is data you dont want.

    As for 250Gb not being backed up *before* an OS upgrade, that is just sheer lunacy. These days a 500gb external drive would be perfect, you just need to drag a folder FFS and leave it overnight, its not brain surgery.

  47. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    Not the only SL bug

    This particular one hasn't bit me but then I do backup. But there are others out there: there seems to be a problem with wifi + DHCP and the most annoying one is application stalling.

    It does seem that SL was a bit rushed. While I think it's an important upgrade if you haven't already done it it might be worth waiting a service pack or two.

  48. nichomach
    Gates Horns

    @Charles Manning

    "Telling people to do a backup before a sw installation is just legal weasel-wording."

    Too bloody right; if the Redmond Beast DARED suggest anything like that, the rabid packs of howling Mactards would descend like furies on the spokesdroid responsible, but if it happens inside the Jobsian RDF, nary a murmur. Evil Bill because 10-1 they'll still claim it's his fault somehow :-P ...

  49. Ed L

    @Charles Manning

    >Who really does backups?

    Are you for real?

    How about this for an answer: 'anyone who cares about keeping their data!'

    Backup is the #1 essential principle of computers. I know this is preaching to the converted to most Reg readers, but obviously some fools have still not got the picture.

    How stupid does one have to be, to store their entire life in an electronic box of tricks and not even think about what will happen if one day the lights don't come on? Despite the fact that one is repeatedly reminded by anybody else with a clue (as well as the "legal weasel wording" - like that one) that such an eventuality is worth at least thinking about.

    As mentioned above, if these morons have the money to buy fruit-flavoured equipment in the first place, then surely they can get themselves an external hard disk, or at the very least some DVDs and a pen drive!

    I have no time for these whining incompetents. If I were to meet one, they would deserve it if I were to laugh in their face!

  50. Joe Montana

    Time machine...

    Time machine on OSX is so trivially easy to use, and external usb disks which it would work with aren't exactly pricey, especially if your willing to fork out for an expensive machine from Apple... There really is no excuse for not having a backup, and as bad as a bug which wipes out your home directory is, recovering it from time machine is trivial.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Apple not up to the multitasking?

    Now Apple are a phone/pc/laptop/server/Ipod builder, Desktop OS/Phone OS/Server OS creator and all round music peddlar, they're finally biting off more than they can chew.

    It just seems like the shotgun approach with the Apple brand (get a glowing apple logo on anything as of yesterday), the iAnything approach if you will, has led to a slight decrease in quality due to the fact that apple staff are most likely hugely over stretched. Apple have 35,000 employees including the staff for their nearly 300 retail locations. This doesn't leave a lot for the product design and support of such a massive range of products anymore.

    Supporting this are the recent glitches in the iPhone software update that were widely reported. This problem with Snow Leopard as well as the fact that last year Apple had to tweak Mobile/Desktop OS releases to allow for the programmers to switch from one to the other.

    As a non-fanboi, this is a rare thing for me to say, but hopefully Apple sort out any potential for bad products being created as they have an excellent user base who are loyal. However this loyalty will disappear when they all start loosing their documents for random reasons, or even worse when someone writes a serious virus for Mac, then all the users realise maybe Steve wasn't right to say the Mac was built as invincible to threats....

    By the way, fully prepared for the fanboi onslaught from this one.....

  52. Colin Ritchie
    Paris Hilton

    Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail.....

    Call me Mr Paranoid but after watching Windows users lose data time and time again with security breaches, malware and just plain old hardware breakdowns they hardly need the OS to start losing it for them too.

    As an "OhsosmugApplefanboi" I backup manually to internal and external drives on a very regular basis. I don't even trust automatic backup systems. 5 HDDs 2 just for backup, now that's really smug.

    Leopard worked fine for all the time I used it apart from a nasty Time Machine bug which meant it wouldn't roll back more than about 2 days when I first tried to use it. Never tried again.

    I don't trust a Mac OS to safeguard my data more than any other but I use it in preference due to the lack of problems it gives me compared to Windows.

    Strangely enough when I migrated to Snow Leopard I kept my original Leopard build on another drive and still do to this day. Early adopters need to be careful whatever your platform.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    Why Paris? Even Macs can have a blonde moment......

  53. Anonymous Coward


    With such a small user base and closed beta is it a surprise this stuff gets through.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    There's a (Big) LOLcat for that...

    I'z in yr diskz nomming yr docz.

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Backup so easy....

    Anyone losing 250G of data with no backup is an idiot. As many have pointed out a USB connected external drive is very cheap.

    Apple even makes it stupidly easy. Plug the just purchased external drive into you Mac and it says "Do you want to use this disk for back up?" If you say yes then that is your job done. Time Machine will do hourly backups for the day, Daily backup for as long as you have disk space. These are incremental backups and you can easily get access to older versions of files through the cheesy but very easy to use Time Machine interface. So "You lost 250G with no back up." What an idiot you are...

    Oh and to those saying why have a guest account on your Mac, well there are a couple of good reasons. Firstly the Guest account can be configured to give 'borrowers' no access to your data at all. That is how I have mine setup. If a work colleague needs to borrow my machine then it is fine for them to do so with out them getting access to the rest of my stuff. Another good reason is to let a thief access the computer so that my Mac tracking software can tell the police where my computer is. I use undercover from orbicle for that. So there are good resons to have a guest account...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    May the bugs of infinity digest your hard drive.

    You'll be surprised how many backup drives/devices I sell to 65+ y/o silver surfers that seem to be able to get the hang of the idea.

  57. Will 12
    Jobs Halo


    What a self righteous moron you are! Most people know how to switch a computer on and browse the web or send emails. Why, just because you're a geek who reads the register do you think that others have the same interest. What many on here fail to realise is, most people couldn't give a monkeys how their computers work, they just want to use them.

    Also, you look down on those that appreciate aesthetics, why? Do we need pretty cars or furniture? No, but many studies have shown that our environment has an effect on us, positively or negatively and this includes computers. Can I build my own computer much more cheaply than I can buy a Mac? Of course, in the same way I can do my own DIY and car maintenance, however, I can't be arsed, I'd much rather be going away for the weekend and enjoying a beautiful place, or spending time with my loved ons doing something fun. Just because you want to install a new graphics card and brag about how many polygons it can draw doesn't mean most people do.

    Arrogant tossers like you really P me off as you are unable to relate to NORMAL people who have made different choices to you.

    Right, I feel better for that :-)

  58. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Another HD is a backup? Against what?

    For everyone that says just plug in another HD to backup, that is fine as long as you are backing-up to prevent loss if your mail HD fails.


    If you are backing up to prevent the OS (or a virus etc.) from deleting all your files, I don´t see how that helps because:

    1. You are relying on the same OS to faithfully copy all the files to your backup HD - and this is the OS that you don´t trust to look after the files anyway. (The fact that it didn´t also wipe all the data on the TimeMachine backup at the same time was just luck)

    2. You are relying on the same OS (or virus etc.) to not delete (or corrupt) all the data on your backup HD when you plug it back in to copy it back to replace the data that just got wiped. Again, this is the same OS that you don´t trust.

    I don´t trust backing up to a HD because in an instant any program on your system can render the entire backup almost useless. Unless your backup HD has a hardware write protect, it can go the same way as the original data.

    PS. Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean that they are not out to get you.

  59. Will 12
    Jobs Halo

    Who really backs up?

    I'm with Charles on this one, I deal with home users all the time, few have a decent backup strategy and I'm often left to pick up the pieces. I always promote backup solutions to new customers. Time machine makes the whole process so simple.

  60. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Not the only bug

    Don't forget to mention that Snow Leopard breaks firewire and spontaneously ejects mounted external drives, often destroying the data.

  61. magnetik

    Re: Apple not up to the multitasking

    [Apple are] finally biting off more than they can chew.

    No, no, there have been problems before and there will be problems again. Apple have had hardware and software issues for years, this kind of bug is nothing new. No company is infallible and no software is perfect. When Apple users say "it just works" they generally mean "it just works almost all of the time".

    Millions of people have installed or upgraded to SL and something like 100 of those have had this bug. Sure, it's a bad thing but not exactly the monumental distaster anti-fanbois are making out.

  62. goggyturk

    Could it be...

    The BSLfH????

    I can hear the distant laughter from the data room as the home dir vanishes....

  63. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @JWS

    It never ceases to amaze me how het up you lot can get about this. God help us if you ever get on to which team is the bestest and fastest ever.

    Take some deep breaths and remember it's only the internet.

  64. Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    What I was going to say to you when I first read your comment has already been said many times above. So I'll just say what all the above were probably too decent and kind to say to you, and that is:

    You're a twat.

  65. hexx

    users folder

    hmm i didn't know ppl use it :) i always keep my data on different hdd and that one is backed up on another hdd, just in case...i guess everybody needs to lose date to back up in the feature. I've lost once 320GB of data (8 years) and since then i backup everything i need on two places.

  66. The Beer Monster


    All OSes have their good points and bad points.

    Trying to dicksize them (especially on a tech site) is about as much use as trying to decide who is the prettiest female russian shot putter.

  67. Bod
    Jobs Horns

    Finally I can say...

    Just use Windows.

  68. Michael C

    Let me get this right...

    So only users who both do purposely enable the guest account, actually used it on their OWN machine, and who don't have backups of their systems are effected? This isn't a bug, it's a stupid user detector!

    Do NOT use the guest account, MAKE a unique account for guests. This is PC 101 stuff guys. Apple even makes it kind of obscure to turn on that account in the first place, and only people who have half a clue about PCs would even know what a guest account was, and should by entension know NOT to use it.

    Also, back up EVERYTHING regularly, and keep at least one of those backups OFF-SITE for your critical data.

    Worse, Apple even made backups easy, all one needs is a drive and no manual configuration, or a account... Backups are so easy they're practically by accident!

    People screaming about this are no different from PC users screaming that they got a virus by connecting a machine directly to the internet with no updates since SP1, no antivirus, and went searching for pics of Jessica Alba nude...

    Great, it's a bug! Sound the panic alarms, blame Apple for their crap OS, scream paranoid lines like "how can you trust backups from the same OS that can fail," all Mac users are doomed!!! STFU.

    1) explain how to get a backup WITHOUT using the OS to do so...

    2) bugs that cause data failure don't also effect the backup data, which is on another drive, in another file format compressed into container files, managed by a seperate application, and not tied to the same code at all.

    3) The has never been a single OS X virus in the wild for any version of OS X ever. not one.

    4) It took weeks for this bug to come to light, with millions of 10.6 users...

  69. Rab Sssss

    I know I should not laugh...

    At this but damm this stich in my side hurts ;)

  70. Anonymous Coward

    @Michael C

    "The has never been a single OS X virus in the wild for any version of OS X ever. not one." - who needs one with Apple's programmers!!!

    You are wrong of course, initial viruses were reported back in 2006.

  71. Lozzyho

    Bit of a flaw

    All fanboi-bating and trolling aside, at a more technical level this does seem to be more of a series of design flaws rather than a simple bug.

    There should be several layers of code, from the UI to the underlying file system, that would raise an error and prevent the overwrite of a user's home directory. The fact that a single error in the logon code CAN delete a home directory without jumping through several security hoops is more than worrying.

    Try to write code in XP or Vista to delete your Documents directory and the OS will immediately and quite rightly tell you to fuck right off.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    popcorn at the ready...

    The next few weeks will be fun what with the imminent release of 7 and Ubuntu 9.10. Cannot wait to see you retards tearing lumps out of each other over an operating system. It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Anybody else loving the irony that is this lot calling users 'Lusers"?

  73. Anonymous Coward

    Defense or criticism?

    All these back and forwards "shoulda made a backup" comments. I'm struggling to tell whether they're defending Apple or criticising the user?

    Fair enough, no back up is not the smartest move in the world, but a "feature" that willingly eats all your user data is just unacceptable. As for "guest" accounts being bad, why? I often have people at my place and want to use the internet. I leave a guest account. It's not convoluted to set one up, in fact it's on the same page as creating a normal account.

    Bear in mind, guest is meant to have no privileges and shouldn't be allowed to even *read* user files, let alone lose them all. And doesn't it make you wonder what else could trigger this magical event?

  74. James Smith 3

    @Lord Lien

    "dime bar"

    Ahhh. Memories. Good to see that little gem hasn't been lost to history.

  75. Richard 102

    Um ...

    I'm an Apple owner, and while I love the things, there's a reason I never get version 1.0 of anything. This goes back to a Buick my parents bought decades ago. (All new features! Great new ways to do everything! And you're paying top dollar to be the guinea pig!)

    Also, who the flip does this without backing up first? A 250GB drive is, what, $100 tops, and you get Time Machine with OS X. That's so simple that even a NASCAR fan or an MCSE can figure it out in less than a minute.

    That being said, this is one of the strangest darn bugs I've ever heard of. Seriously, has anyone else ever heard of something like this?

  76. magnetik
    Thumb Down

    @AC 12:21

    "You are wrong of course, initial viruses were reported back in 2006."

    You do know the difference between a trojan and a virus right? Or do you have the same technical skill as the Times reporter in your linked article?

  77. jatco


    Sounds like a poor ignorant sod who shouldn't really be let loose on anything as complex as a computer. They don't back up their machine before upgrading the OS. Not only that, but the operating system gives them a rather nice automated backup program, and they don't think to use it. But of course, like wearing seat belts, no-one really thinks the crash is ever going to happen to them.

    I picked up a 1TB drive at PC World for under 70 quid a couple of weeks back: loads of space for Time Machine backups there. And I do a drive copy every week as well, just in case something horrible happens to the TM disk.

    I've had problems with Macs, PCs, Unix boxes, VAXen, the lot... they're all out to get you, and the only thing you can do is to try to keep your data from being eaten as best you can :-(

  78. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Thumb Down

    Time machine!

    So they lost data... Even though OSX has Time Machine (Backup utill) built in, and what with it being piss-easy to use, well, they deserve it really...

  79. Anonymous Coward

    Egg on the face

    "The World's most advanced OS"

    You'll forgive me if I "think different" about that then.

    Maybe it's Apple's latest feature to protect the users data from malware that acts in a not too dissimilar way to a female cat eating it's kittens if it feels they're in danger.

    Shit happens, but it's good to see egg on the face of that smug twat Jobs.

  80. Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha

    Simple solution, bin Mac OSX and install something that works, like Windows. You'll even find a bunch of applications that you couldn't use before that you can use now.

    Out of interest though, which retard implemented some code that deletes an entire user profile without asking anyone? Stop the guest account from writing to the main partition; or delete its contents to a recycle bin. But don't just chomp the lot without asking - whichever software retard wrote that code deserves never to work in the industry again.

    Combined with the nice iPhone bricking update that recently came out, this isn't Apple's month is it? What do you expect though from a company that puts looking pretty ahead of everything else.

  81. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Paris Hilton



  82. Frank Bough

    @Christian Berger

    ...can you detail exactly how keeping your home directory on a RAID5 volume would prevent the OS bug from deleting its contents?

    I love all these smartarse comments - this is an OS bug, not a hardware flaw. All OSs have bugs, this one is particularly painful if it hits you, but is also somewhat avoidable if you methodically duplicate your data. On my home Mac the important home dir folders (pics, music) are merely aliases that point to remote volumes, but I've no idea if this measure would protect them from a poorly understood OS bug.

  83. The Beer Monster


    Boxen, surely?

  84. Mark Greenwood

    For gawd's sake.

    I knew the fanbois/antifanbois would have "fun" with this one.

    Granted, I'd be cheesed off if I did an upgrade and it wiped my data but blimey, it happens. Sometimes it happens even without an upgrade. Even my Granny knows not to attempt upgrades without backing up first.

    80 quid for a 1 TB external drive. Fire up TimeMachine, which is backup done so properly that even my Dad can use it (and he does literally struggle to send text messages), and you need never suffer lost data again. It doesn't take any time, it just happens in the background. It's bloody marvellous. Apple give them the tools to help them recover if stuff like this does happen, and then they complain anyway. Windows users have an excuse, they have to pay for backup software or do it manually. Apple users cannot be excused such foolishness.

    Not a fanboi by the way, just someone with common sense.

  85. Anonymous Coward

    Three fundamental truths

    1.) The grim reaper WILL find you one day.

    2.) The Tax man WILL find you one day.

    3.) All O/S will contain bugs

  86. Chimpofdoom!
    Black Helicopters


    My decision is made...

    I'm not buying a mac..

    Fanboi's seem to forget to backup...

    Didn't they release a new time machine recently? Advertising?!?

    Black helicopters incoming!!!

  87. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    @Sarah Bee:

    There's a higher than average incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the ICT field, so the obsessive behaviour seen in IT-related public forums—including El Reg—isn't all that surprising.

    @Everyone else:

    If you're one of the many who jumped on the guy for not backing up his files, you're part of the problem: It's easy to convince people to change their behaviour *after* they've been shown the error of their ways. A good teacher can convince his pupils of their wisdom *before* the damage occurs.

  88. WinHatter

    To the VistaMobile.

    Oh snap, take that Ballmer, Jobs is stepping on your bedding plants.

    After such a cockup Macs should sell like mad.

  89. Jolyon
    Black Helicopters


    With Microsoft presumably about to make a big push on Windows 7 are we going to see more and more 'Mac's not all that' new stories?

    What are the odds on a proper Apple flavoured malware or two making an appearance this month or next?

  90. Michael C
    Thumb Down

    @Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Backing up a mac is not a BEHAVIOR change, it;s simply wether or not you have an external HDD plugged in or not. It's a compelte "set and forget" backup system that litterally takes a single click on time to turn on. There is no behavior other than buying the frelling HDD, which should have been convincingly conveyed by either the sales rep, the OS online help, or prompts from the Mac upon first boot.

    This isn't 1990 where people were frigging clueless about anything PC related. People have heard the words "backup" by now, and understand the idea of having data on a machine that requires protection. All it takes is a simple question of "how?" which Apple answered in the most simple possible way by making it a CORE advertised feature of the OS and major selling point. If you bought a Mac without seeing the feature page highlighting this feature, missed the OS prompts, had a clueless sales guy, and never asked the question "how do i back it up" YET STILL KNEW ENOUGH TO TURN ON THE GUEST ACCOUNT AND CONFIGURE MULTIPLE USERS, I call bullshit.

  91. PirateSlayer
    Thumb Up

    Some superb offerings!

    I have to admit, this thread was great. A compilation of the best posts so far!

    Need more disc space? #

    There an app for that!

    By James O'Brien

    The World's most advanced OS"

    You'll forgive me if I "think different" about that then.

    Shit happens, but it's good to see egg on the face of that smug twat Jobs.

    If you put a million fanbois in a room each with a keyboard with only two keys, a zero and a one, how long will it take them to reproduce the lost 250GB by repeatedly slamming their heads into the keys?

    Thank you very much, chuckled all day, mostly thanks to the first one!

  92. Anonymous Coward

    @Christian Berger

    "Otherwise Apple would include the option to install 3 or more harddrives in the case so people can run a RAID 5."

    ...Funny thing that - my Mac has 4 hard drives - in Raid 5 configuration...

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trail blazers should know better.

    I have no sympathy for people who must have the latest OS and don't have a backup. How stupid can you get? They spend money on a brand new OS and can't even be bothered to spend a few bucks on a spare HD to protect their own data. You deserve the mess you are in, maybe you've learned something. Remember it costs to learn the really good lessons.

  94. magnetik

    @Sean Timarco Baggaley

    "If you're one of the many who jumped on the guy for not backing up his files, you're part of the problem: It's easy to convince people to change their behaviour *after* they've been shown the error of their ways."

    Eh? We're talking about the tech equivalent of knowing to look both ways before crossing the street. Hands up who has never lost data and doesn't know anyone who ever lost data? Even my 65 year old mother knows she should do backups ...

    With all Apple's promotion of Time Machine over the past couple of years you'd have to be a totally ignorant user to *not* know how easy it is to back up your data.

  95. Anonymous Coward

    @Will 12

    "Can I build my own computer much more cheaply than I can buy a Mac?"

    From the sound of it, you can't. No, really.

    Cause you spend weekends away and we spend weekends with.

    You are only capable of point and click mate.

    Right, now I feel much better too :)

  96. Simon Buttress

    @ Sarah Bee

    "Take some deep breaths and remember it's only the internet. "

    ...but but but the internetz is serious business.

  97. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    @Michael C & Magnetik

    You have heard of the Darwin Awards, right? Bugger "Climate Change": wilful ignorance is a far greater threat to humanity than a very slow rise in sea levels.

    This is a technology news website. Its readers are, by definition, not representative of the general public, who couldn't give a shit how the magic box works. The only reason the people *you* know might be aware of what the acronym "HDD" even means is precisely *because* YOU know them... and have therefore, presumably, *taught* them.

    Are you seriously claiming that everyone on Earth now understands what every IT-related TLA means now?

    I handle support for a small computer games developer and am STILL getting requests from people who want to know if their operating system of choice—"Microsoft Word 2003", according to their answer to: "Which operating system are you using?"—will run one of our games. And these are *gamers*, for f*ck's sake!

    I'll believe we're all IT-savvy when I see it. I have yet to see any evidence of it in these comment threads, let alone in the real world.

  98. B. Boni

    Backup a Mac without the OS

    This is not hard and all you need is an external drive the same size as the drive you intend to copy.

    Boot your Mac from a bootable Linux CD/DVD distro, there are a number of them. Plug in second drive and learn to use the shell command dd. You then have an exact copy of the drive. Mac volumes may also be mounted on most Linux distros without adding any software if you need to inspect the data.

    I run a demo centre have done this often over the last ten years on many different machines and architectures.

  99. magnetik

    Sean Timarco Baggaley

    "Are you seriously claiming that everyone on Earth now understands what every IT-related TLA means now?"

    Of course not. Who said they did? Just because WE type HDD doesn't mean the average Joe doesn't understand the words "external hard disk".

    Oh dear, you deal with stupid gamers who don't know the name of their OS. How is that representative of how aware Apple users are of Time Machine? Apple have made a big noise about TM since before Leopard was released. Keynotes, big notices on the Apple front page, asking you to pick a backup disk when you install, adding a TM icon to the doc by default, and so forth. So, like I said, you would have to be a completely blind Apple user to not know about backing up with Time Machine.

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