updated 07:10 pm EDT, Mon October 12, 2009
Guest login could delete data permanently
Apple on Monday admitted that a serious bug in Snow Leopard could cause permanent data loss and said that it is working to find a fix for the problem. The company, responding to a growing number of posts on its discussions forums, confirmed that users can lose data when logging into the guest account on their Mac first and then logging into their regular account. Although the problem is not widespread, the consequences -- especially for those without backups -- could be disastrous: some users are finding all their data to be missing and their accounts completely reset.
"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 delivered to CNET.
On the company's support boards, there are about 100 posts discussing the Snow Leopard-related data loss issue dating back to early September, but Apple only today acknowledged issue. Some have traced the problems back to permission issues on the disk itself, but it is unclear if this is the root cause of all the problems.
Apple, however, did not provide a timeline or a workaround for the issue, although many are suggesting that users disable the guest login until further notice or to create a managed account without a password. A few other more complicated workarounds and tips are available for those who need to restore their lost data.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is dealing with a much larger data loss issue related to the company's recently acquired Danger mobile group that created the immensely popular Sidekick mobile texting device: a storage equipment failure that affected both the main server and its backups is likely to cause many of its users to lose of their contacts, calendars, and other information.