back to article Snow Leopard data-munching bug predates Snow Leopard

Fanboi complaints of a mystery data-munching Mac OS bug began well before the arrival of Snow Leopard, Apple's latest desktop operating system. Similar tales of woe date back to at least November of 2007, when Jobsian cultists were still using the previous Mac OS version, just plain Leopard. This week, the web is awash with …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Apple are crap - it's official!!!

    They have known about this bug for years and not bothered fixing it even in their super new Snow Leotards.

    What a monumental fucking failure!!!

  2. Christian Berger

    Weired, but nothing that's outside of the big idea

    Most Macs aren't made to store data on them. If that would be, Apple would include more than a single harddrive into their computers so you could make a RAID. Most Macs are made to be appliances. Easy to use and a bit limited, but certainly not meant for storage.

    So of course it's a shame, but it's nothing the user shouldn't be prepared for.

  3. Nordrick Framelhammer

    It just works

    your data into nothingness that is.

    Just gotta say way to go there guys. Just glad my PC doesn't chew my data up because I log into an account.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    @first ac retard

    Hey moron, almost every OS has bugs in it dating back some years. The Linux Kernel will have and you can guarantee Windows sure as hell does (you know, that's why there's still updates coming out for XP) so stop being a dick-waving Windows homeboi and grow up.


  5. Steve Copley

    Painful lesson...

    "I had 250GB of data without backup and I lost everything"

    I've know too many people who, despite prompts and advice from me, don't consider backing up data to be an important use of their time... until this happens. (Of course, then it falls to me to help them try to recover what they can!)


    "Jobsian cultists" - made me LOL (I'm posting from my newly christened CultBook Pro)

  6. Doug Glass


    Nawwwww.... just normal arrogance coupled with the usual used car salesman mentality.

  7. Steve Coffman

    Should go without saying....

    doesn't matter what OS or hardware you are using - BACK UP YOUR DATA - because it's not a matter of IF... it's a matter of WHEN!

  8. James O'Brien

    @@first ac retard

    Or should I say The First Cowardly Cultist of Jobs?

    See the thing here is yes there are a lot of bugs, but the problem your failing to recognize is that Apple is always about it just works (except when it doesn’t or was this the almighty disc cleanup feature?) , therefore his comment was not out of line. Anytime there is an article about an OS (and I will say I'm no saint here) there is always fanboism to no end in the comments. Personally I try to bash all of them equally.

    What makes this bug even worse is the fact its not easily reproduced, and its a rather bad one to have floating around in the open. How long till haXors figure out how to reproduce it and have some fun with the Apple crowd? Not everyone backs up and although Macs are in a lot of ways superior to Windows I cant recall the last time I logged into an account on Windows and had all my data deleted on me. And how many people who own Macs got them just because they heard how good they were and don’t know the first thing about using a computer short of surfing pr0n, checking email and playing games on Pogo?

    Think about that anyway back to the regularly scheduled flames and I reiterate what I said in an earlier post.

    Need more Disc space? There’s an app for that!!

    Fools. . .

  9. Gil Grissum

    Data loss?

    Data loss? OOOPS. Guess I'm not so paranoid for making regular multiple backups of my data. LOL!!

  10. gollux


    Predatorz iz in our coputorz eating our dataz!!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Apple works

    Except they don't.


  12. Joey


    Must be, doesn't happen here!

  13. John Ridley 1

    If you don't back up....

    My opinion; backing up costs about $100 and about 10 minute's time, to buy an external hard drive, plug it in and configure backups.

    If you aren't doing them, that's a clear statement by you that your data isn't worth $100 and 10 minutes of your time, so what are you whining about?

    Surely there's nobody who doesn't know that computers can crash and lose data? Everyone from kids to computer-illiterate octogenarians know this, so there really is no excuse.

  14. Andrij

    don't believe it

    I've used the guest account plenty of times on my Leopard MBP. No problems. (It does say that it is going to delete the guest account data). The only time I've lost files is when I've dropped one of my external hard drive (the back-up) and had to undelete stuff from other drives, Data Rescue II is good for that.

    those knocking OSX should remember back to Windows home server......

    Short memories some people..

  15. Mick F


    But M$ don't make such a song and dance about it "just working" - or not in this case.

    A known bug since 2007 - that is fucking epic!!!

  16. Chris iverson


    Macs dont have problems, the tv tells me so

    in other news....people who use computers dont back up their data. hmm not as surprising as it should be

  17. James 55

    @Christian Berger "Weired, but nothing that's outside of the big idea"

    " Most Macs aren't made to store data on them. If that would be, Apple would include more than a single harddrive into their computers so you could make a RAID. Most Macs are made to be appliances. Easy to use and a bit limited, but certainly not meant for storage."

    What the...?

    *Goes to apple store or retailer*

    ...Wait what is this? I can select a dedicated Raid card when I buy this mac? ...and Wait, here it says, HD Bay 1, hmm maybe there is more... Oh yes here, HD bay 2, HD bay 3, HD bay 4... I can choose to put a Terabyte in each?? Out of the box? I wish my toaster came with that much storage out of the box...


    To all the Windows/Mac/Linux haters/kids - everyone has different requirements, if you don't realise that then you won't get far in life. Especially if you try to start up your own business or be a consultant.

  18. RTNavy

    No Backups?

    I guess Apple "cultists" can learn something new......Keep regular backups of your data, regardless of your "belief" that your hardware and software are bullet proof....

  19. Julian 1

    As an Apple non-fanbio

    Is there no software in Snow Leopard, or that works with Snow Leopard, to recover lost data. Surely there is!

    Lost data can be recovered from both Windows and Linux, surely Snow Leopard too.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    And how many known bugs does windows have that go back before '07 that MS haven't patched? That's fucking epic!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Need you data wiped???

    ...There's an OS for that!

    Seriously guys, just use Windows. Who are you clowns trying to convince? So much for the Apple "User Experience". I can do without this experience. LOL.

    F A I L !

  22. Ty


  23. captain veg Silver badge

    Probably not the same thing at all, but...

    Trying to debug a rights-related issue on XP, I downgraded my usual login to "Power User". Couldn't reproduce the problem. Went to "Restricted User". Nope, still not there. Gritted teeth and reduced to "Guest". Still no sign of the problem. But my whole profile had been vaporised. Pif! No warning, no "Are you sure", just blown away.

    I no longer save important files in my user profile.


  24. Gerrit Tijhof

    BULL SHIT at least: mostly

    I just checked my preferences and guess what: login as Guest is disabled, OUT OF A CLEAN INSTALL a few weeks ago. So anyone having this problem has enabled Guest, that simple.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Famous quotes...

    "I had 250GB of data without backup and I lost everything"

    "You don't convince family members to take periodic backups. Repeated, tragic data loss convinces family members to take periodic backups. Same as everyone else."

    I'll drink to that!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    imagine the comments thread if this had been windows

    ...just saying

  27. MrcX


    typical... I like theregister for their broad coverage of all IT related subjects, and their ironic/cynical views on the news. And I congratulate them for finally having found a real reason for their unreasonable and childish apple bashing.

    Cheers, Reg, enjoy!

  28. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


    1. Data is lost by some idiot(s) out there.

    2. A bug is discovered in an OS.

    3. Much QQing subsequently occurs.

    4. ??? *

    5. Profit


    * sensationalising said news in an online tech journal and further letting sad old gits comment on it to further fan the flames, boosting circulation and hence ... (5)

    One can replace (1) + (2) with any/every issue easier than replacing a kernel module. And one online tech journal frequently does.


  29. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Thumb Up


    Anyone and everyone is fair game here on El Reg, it would seem, as it should be, imho.

    At any rate, Apple _is_ evil despite how nice their kit appears to be. Not hitler evil, I should qualify, but more globocorp evil, but you get the point. Therefore they deserve any ribbing they get.

    Never a fan boi be y'all. Do not be blinded.

    Keep it up, El Reg. Your skewed, satiristic reportage never fails to entertain.

    This thread in itself is win.. Not epic win, but win in the sense that you got a lot of us sad ol' gits commenting :)

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @Mick F

    Schadenfreude? Two words. Dirty bit. Still there in Windows 7 RTM. No, it isn't a fucking feature. Just saying like…

  31. Cliff

    That's a doozy!

    Wow, there are bugs and there are bugs - tough to see any way to call this one short of enterprise critical! Each OS has its own strengths and weaknesses of course, and their share of bugs, but this seems to be a spectacularly mentally serious one, I'm frankly gobsmacked it wasn't sorted by throwing every dev in the company at it once it was discovered two years ago. This kind of thing could really damage your reputation as a caring cuddly computers for the terrified company.

  32. Wrenchy

    Attention all Mac defenders.

    Go ahead and keep believing your precious Mac is perfect and invulnerable to all threats.

    It's fun to take you sorry bunch down a peg or two now and then.

    Remember in the Kübler-Ross model:

    1. The first stage of grief is denial. Denial that your precious Mac is indeed flawed.

    2. Second stage, anger. Anger that the Prophet Steve Jobs and his holier than thou marketing department lied to you all these years about your Mac being perfect and that it "Just Works".

    3. Stage three, bargaining. "I promise not to be such an arrogant douchbag to all those individuals not running OSX or any other fruity labeled consumer electronic device".

    4. Stage four, depression. "I am such a sad person thinking I am better than all the PC users out there. I truly made myself look like a fool".

    5. Stage five, acceptance. Accepting the fact that your Mac is really no better or worse than a PC.

    After that, the healing can begin.

    Get over it Mac/PC/Linux users. COMPUTERS SUCK. PERIOD. Can't we just all be friends with a common love for technology, regardless of platform??

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Joke's wearing a little thin now...

    Please can we ALL just grow up? Enough with "Just Works" and "crApple" jokes, OK? They've been done, we've had a laugh, the joke's not funny anymore.

    M$ - Ha ha ha, 'cos like, they like make...duh ermm money! Hahaha...urghh! NOT FUNNY ANYMORE!

    "Where do you want to go today?" - Down to PC World to get my machine fixed for the 3rd time this month, 'cos it runs Windows and caught another virus. LOL! hahahahha,.....urghhhh! NOT FUNNY ANYMORE

    "Where do you want to go today?" - Down to the Apple store to get a new machine that "Just Works'! LOL! Ha ha ha....urghhhh! NOT FUNNY ANYMORE

    Microshaft/Microslop - ermmm, 'cos they're crap and don't care! That's not funny at all, terrifying that you would give your money for a product you have no faith in! NOT FUNNY ANYMORE

    Freetards - Linux, it's free, so like it has to be utter sh**te right? Who'd give something away for nothing! Stupid! Ha ha ha ha....urghhh! NOT FUNNY ANYMORE

    Home Made O/S - You made your own O/S 'cos you can't afford a one ( "You are on da welfare, you can't afford one. And your daddy is an alcoholic!" ) , then spend all day rebuilding bits of it! Losers! LOL! hahaha.....urrghhh! NOT FUNNY ANYMORE!

    See, not funny.

    Haven't owned a Windows PC in 2 years, been Mac, but I still think Windows is a fantastic O/S, it has opened up computers for everyone, from little 4 year-old kids to 90 year-old biddy's, everyone can now use a computer, thanks to MS vision to market some already great ideas. The biggest problem Windows has is the soft spongy thing in front of the screen, now we're all PC savvy, it's time to rationalise an learn how to control the tools properly.

    I use Windows and Linux at work and crApple ( see it just get's funnier everytime I use it! ) at home. At work I need to get stuff done, Unix SA stuff off the Linux box, Windows is great at displaying the email, working on the sheets and writing up the reports, conecting across the network to all the shared resources. At home after fighting all day with machines, I want to turn on, tune in and drop out, three clicks and I have email and I've checked the news and done.

    I appreciate the wonderfil diversity of PC platforms, live and let live!

  34. Deckchair

    is required

    Users don't kill data, OSs do.

  35. Bilgepipe


    So none of these guys had backups of any kind? My heart bleeds. If a bolt of lightning had fried their home directories, who would they blame then?

  36. Mike
    Paris Hilton

    Why are so many using the Guest account?

    Nobody seems to be asking these people what they're doing in their guest account - you have to wonder. I'm not saying that mitigates this horrendous bug in any way... just wondering.

    Did they not know Safari has had a "Private Browsing" mode for a couple of versions now?

    Paris for obvious "just popping off to the bathroom with my Guest account" reasons.

  37. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Known since 2007?

    Er, that would be "rumoured since 2007".

    What Apple knew in 2007 was that one user (of unknown technical literacy but we do know that he or she doesn't bother with backups) lost all their data and blamed the guest account facility. Apple also knew that it worked for their developers and for everyone else who had ever enabled the guest account.

    What Apple have learned since then is that several other people (with similar levels of technical literacy) have lost all their data, done some googling, and blamed the same cause. Meanwhile, squillions of other happy users are using the guest facility without issue, including all Apple's developers.

    Without a reproducible test case, it is *really* hard for Apple to justify spending much time on this bug at the expense of other issues which are known to be real.

  38. magnetik
    Thumb Down


    I see all the anti-fanbois are cutting and pasting their dumb comments from the other Reg article into this one. And, quite wisely, avoiding embarrassing themselves by posting as AC. Well, apart from Christian Berger who obviously isn't capable of typing "mac raid" into Google.

  39. bex

    backup then

    If you loose something critical o your computer and you have not got a backup, its your fault not the PC's for being so stupid and not backing it up

  40. mrweekender


    Had a Mac for 12 months, logged in as guest to do certification and other stuff, never lost anything. Back up running to 1Tb Toshiba external hard drive through Time Machine, documents backed up to Dropbox. Who gives a fuck about data loss? - Back up or lose it you fuckwits!

    Still better that formatting my drive every 3 - 6 fucking months, spending time worrying about the 1000's of fucking trojans and viruses that could infect my machine at any moment, dealing with application crashes and BLUE FUCKING SCREENS. Best thing I ever did was move away from Microshite.

    I'd rather be on Linux but it just ain't there yet.

  41. Andrij

    @ Mick F

    If you sell a product, you don't have to say 'it just works'. It should work!!!! MS sold the server OS also knowing about the bug. As long as it gets fixed, no problem.

    re: a bug since 2007. Like I said. I have had NO PROBLEMS!!!!

    Please tell me how they fix a bug that doesn't always appear? When I test my apps (not OSs I'm not that clever), I check them on different kinds of computers/OSs as possible, with as many people as possible. If a bug is found I fix it. If one isn't found, I can't fix it!

    that's life.

  42. magnetik

    No data loss

    Apparently (from what I've just been reading) NO data is deleted. What actually happens is the user is removed from /etc/passwd. So, you should be able to create a new user (with a different username) and log in and see all your data. Alternatively you could boot the machine in target disk mode and mount it on another machine or if you're a power user edit /etc/passwd from a shell.

  43. Law

    there is a rule that all users of all operating systems should follow


    I've used my guest account recently (it's enabled because I'm using that undercover security application, so I want the person stealing my laptop to be able to use the thing so I can see who they are, keylog what they are doing, and hopefully get an IP address!!!).... nothing was lost... but if it had been, I'd have been annoyed for all of 10 minutes, because I keep weekly backups of my data using time machine...

    I should in theory have mozy enabled too, but they had a bug in their software that rendered time machine backups corrupt for some users - hilarious no?? Incidentally, where was el-reg's coverage of that data issue?! I believe the bug is fixed now, so I'm planning on reinstalling that too - incase the house blows up or something. So we have immediate on-site backups, and if that goes too, off-site... some might say ott - but it's better than losing 10 years of digital photos, music, documents, etc. It doesn't matter what my laptop is, linux, osx, windows - I will always be backing them up like this... have to admit though, backup using time machine is possibly the easiest I've used so far, almost too easy... :S

  44. mrweekender

    Official Statement

    Recently there have been a number of reports around the data loss bug that, while rare, can cause a Snow Leopard user's home folder to be deleted upon logging into and out of the guest account. These reports may have people concerned about their data in OS X, but in reality it is a very rare and easy bug to avoid, and also it is much easier to inadvertently overwrite a file or accidentally trash one than be caught by this bug and other behaviors that may lead to data loss.


  45. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    No backup?

    Who has 250gb on a hard drive without a backup? External drives are really cheap these days. Combine this with using an unproved, recently released operating system. My Apple is still running 10.4. I may not be able to run all the latest software but I still have all my data.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    I like Apple and Tards

    They make me laugh.

  47. Stephen Usher

    Ignoring the trolls: Intermittent bug fixing is extremely difficult.

    I'm going to ignore the fanbois and the trolls....

    This bug looks to be highly intermittent, probably requiring a set sequence of events, which no-one has yet documented fully, to trigger. It probably requires a "perfect storm" event.

    Just because this sort of bug is old doesn't mean that it's any easier to find and may be so illusive that even setting developers on the prowl for weeks trying to find it and fix it will do no good. So, I don't fully blame Apple, having software development and bug fixing experience myself, all be it on a smaller scale.

    This is not to say that the bug isn't important, or even critical. If the cause can be found no doubt Apple will produce a fix, eventually.

  48. Adam 10
    Thumb Up


    Hahahahaha! Guffaw guffaw guffaw! Teeeheeeheeee!


    PS Heeeeheeee!

  49. Baldychap


    Well said that man. Computers do suck. Which is rather nice, 'cos if they didn't I'd be out of a job!

    Also we shouldn't be too hard on non-techie types either. We know about backups and data loss as we deal with it on a daily basis. The truth is, most normal people out there have probably had a few computers in their life and the worse that they lost was a file when they overwrote it. Until shit happens, you really don't think you need to backup. Fact.

  50. PinkFreud
    Jobs Horns

    Already squashed in Leopard?

    Looks like ths bug may have been previously fixed in Leopard. See CVE-2008-3610 (Login Window) on

  51. tony trolle

    arrr Burn time

    sidekicks,macs I just glad I have home server (lol) NOT

    DVD burn time...

    Q: Do you regularly do backups ?

    A: yes every time a big backup news story comes along remind me. lol

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