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Caution: Do not rename a user's home folder
Authored by: beepotato on Jul 21, '07 12:03:17AM

This is *not* a bug. And it's really far from being on par with Windows' worst bugs, particularly since it doesn't make you lose any data and it is super easy to recover from (basically, just rename your folder to what it was).

However, it is bad design, and not consistent with the spirit of the Mac (it came from the Unix side of Mac OS X). A user should of could be able to rename his own home folder (as long as the administrator allows him to do so) with no bad consequences.
It would be easy for Apple to fix this situation (either by using aliases to the users' home folders instead of paths, or by asking a user if he wants to change his short name when he renames his home folder), and it's a shame that they haven't fixed it yet.

Still, not a bug and no danger for your data, AFAICT.



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Caution: Do not rename a user's home folder
Authored by: beepotato on Jul 21, '07 12:05:27AM

"A user should of could" --> "A user should of course"
Sorry.



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Caution: Do not rename a user's home folder
Authored by: JamesJM on Jul 21, '07 05:20:57AM

I concede that the use of the word 'bug' is most likely inappropriate. However, simply changing the shortname back to what it was is no guarantee... several sites have recovery steps listed when this doesn't go well... as I learned. There is no data loss, true.

Now picture yourself 'new' to Mac, as I was. Also consider the 'stability' of a Mac... when I made this error I didn't restart my computer for a considerable amount of time... when I did I had no idea what had happened or why. Basically I never did figure it out until long after I had made the 'new' home my home. So it may not be a 'bug'... I'll give ya that... but a rose by any other name... :) - JamesJM



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Caution: Do not rename a user's home folder
Authored by: DanFrakes on Jul 23, '07 10:12:45AM

I disagree. This is a major (and inexcusable) bug in OS X. And it's only "super easy to recover from" (for a typical user) if you immediately change the folder name back. If you log out and back in (or restart), a *new* user folder named after the actual account name is created and used as the account's home directory. Yes, the original data is still on the drive, but to the user, it looks as if it's gone. And the recovery process, at that point, isn't obvious to a typical user.


---
Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld / Senior Reviews Editor, Playlist



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Caution: Do not rename which files/folders?
Authored by: sjk on Jul 23, '07 03:59:37PM
This is a major (and inexcusable) bug in OS X.
Whatever you want to call it, I can't think of any good reason why it should be possible for anyone to rename their own home folder while logged in normally. At worst it seems there'd only be possibility of some minor, obscure inconvenience to restricting that, not widespread negative side effects.

I'm curious how you'd categorize (and handle, as much as possible) the general issue of someone understandably (and mistakenly) believing their data is irretrievably missing after they've unwittingly renamed any folders (or individual files, for that matter) primarily accessed and managed with specific apps like iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, etc. rather than Finder or some other file manager.

For instance, would it be (un)reasonable for certain user files/folders to be (un)hidden from "file manager" interaction, similar to Apple's policy of select system files/folders being hidden from Finder by default (which highly irritates some people while others are blissfully oblivious to it)?

This topic suggests many questions/ideas to me than don't necessarily have quick and obvious answers/responses (if any), which probably makes it better for interactive forum discussion (given enough interest) than getting into it too deeply here.

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Caution: Do not rename which files/folders?
Authored by: beepotato on Jul 23, '07 05:27:27PM
I'm curious how you'd categorize (and handle, as much as possible) the general issue of someone understandably (and mistakenly) believing their data is irretrievably missing after they've unwittingly renamed any folders (or individual files, for that matter) primarily accessed and managed with specific apps like iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, etc. rather than Finder or some other file manager.
I would call it badly designed apps, not a problem with the OS. Everything is present in the OS for these apps to behave correctly even if the user renames their files/folders: reference to these files/folders should be kept by the apps as aliases, not paths. Oh, and btw, everything is present in the OS to allow these apps to hide some files from the user if their developers wanted to. But they shouldn't do that.

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Caution: Do not rename which files/folders?
Authored by: sjk on Jul 24, '07 09:38:35PM
Everything is present in the OS for these apps to behave correctly even if the user renames their files/folders: reference to these files/folders should be kept by the apps as aliases, not paths.
If it were practical for all "these apps" to reference files/folders that way why isn't it being done? Seems to me one misbehaving app could spoil the party. Look how easy it is to remove a Finder (Spotlight) comments by using UNIX commands instead of Finder to manage files.
Oh, and btw, everything is present in the OS to allow these apps to hide some files from the user if their developers wanted to. But they shouldn't do that.
I picked file (in)visibility as one example of how to make parts of the system less vulnerable to disruptive changes because Apple's happens to do it. ACLs would have been another possibility. Oh, that And They Said the Mac Was Intuitive article about a guy deleting /usr thinking it was a duplicate of /Users just came to mind. ;)

Sure, OS X (and ever other OS) has capabilities that are abused and not being used advantageously enough. There isn't enough room here for should/shouldn't reasons and debates about (in)visibility, et.al. so I'm satisfied with the simple "it depends" consensus perspective. :)

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Caution: Do not rename which files/folders?
Authored by: jet59or on Oct 07, '07 09:02:04PM

Reading this too late, I have renamed a folder in the Apple Mail application. This was an older version on a friend's computer - I believe it is version 1.02 or maybe 1.2x.

Anyway, I renamed the folder and all of the messages disappeared. I'm praying they are not really gone. The .mbox file is about 280k so there is something there. I've tried repairing, renaming back to the old name, reimporting into mail with no luck.

I tried running File Salvage which is pretty good at finding missing or erased files, but it won't seem to run, maybe because she is running OS 10.2.

Any suggestions I can try before upgrading her OS and trying again?



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Caution: Do not rename a user's home folder
Authored by: beepotato on Jul 23, '07 04:15:43PM

> This is a major (and inexcusable) bug in OS X.

Nope. Not a bug, but very bad design.
Which is actually worse than a bug for the users, as it tends to take a lot longer to fix a bad design than it takes to fix a bug. :(

I agree that it is inexcusable, though. You would expect this kind of behavior from Windows, not from Mac OS.



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