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Dustin
Dustin, Mac Enthusiast
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 10241
Experience:  4 Years in the US Military working with Mac's and networking equipment
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I cannot access my username, documents, applications, desktop

Customer Question

I cannot access my username, documents, applications, desktop or dropbox in finder. My desktop is clear and my system is running very very slow. I was trying to delete some stuff in the downloads folder but i can't even access that.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Welcome To JustAnswer!

My name isXXXXX am one of the Experts who will assist you today!

What version of Mac osx do you have.. 10.6 10.7 10.8 ?

And also, do you have any external hard drives hooked up to your mac, or usb thumbr drives, or phones, or anything that has internal storage ( besides the mac itself )

Thanks,

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My 2 imacs are side by side. I can't get past the spinning wheel of colourful death on the imac that is having problems. The version on this mac is 10.7.5 so I am assuming the other is the same, as i usually upgrade them at the same time.


 


There is nothing attached to the imac at all.


 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am able to see files on the 'All My Files' tab in finder, but nothing on any of the others.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Ok.. To be clear.. Is it only the one Imac, that is having issues..?

Or, is one not able to start at all, and the other..

Is running very slow? ( sorry to ask so many questions, but its imperative I fully understand the situation so I can provide help that applies to the issue at hand )

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes. It is only that one that is having issues. I am responding on the one that works.


 


The other imac does start, but has a blank desktop when it does and I cannot access anything. Is there any other way to communicate more directly? This email back and forth seems cumbersome.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
We could communicate through our screen sharing session, where i could share your screen, and then speak to you in live chat. But I dont think we will need to set that up.

What I would like you to do on the non working mac.. ( if its also 10.7 )

Is to perform a recovery install.. A recovery install, will not erase your files.. But its a much broader more extensive repair attempt.. It basically reinstalls the lion OS and gets the machine running much better.

So lets try this

Hold down command R when you very first turn on the mac.

It should take you to the recovery console.. You want to choose your mac, and then.. Perform a recovery install ( do not do an erase and install , as that will erase your files)

Perform the recovery install, and when it completes, run the repair disk permissions one more time.


To open Disk Utility, from the Applications folder, open Utilities, and then double-click the Disk Utility icon.

In the column on the left, click your startup disk.

Click the First Aid tab, and then click Repair Disk Permissions. Disk Utility will reset any files and folders with incorrect settings.

Once both of those steps are done, the mac should be running much better.. We may have a few kinks to work out, but the majority of the issue , if not all of it should be recified..

let me know if you get stuck or run into any issues, and when and if you need further assistance you can use the reply to expert button to send another message my way.


If my answer helped, please click one of the smiley faces to rate the solution, and then click the green accept button to accept the answer..

If my answer did not work, please wait to rate the answer and also wait to accept and instead send me a reply so that I can continue to assist you as needed.

Thanks! D.Sandlin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Command R brought me to the Mac OS X Utilities screen. My options are restore from Time Machine, Reinstall Mac OS X, get help Online, or disk utility.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.


Your in the right spot

Reinstall Max osx is the choice you want

then on the next screen, you should have four recovery options.. Which ones do you see?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It isn't giving me 4 options. I am seeing a Mac OS X Lion install screen.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

And it made me connect to the internet (via ethernet cable) before it would continue

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Ok..

continue with that.. what do we see next?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have to agree to the software license agreement.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Right.. Were on the correct path though.

Its going to download a fresh copy of lion, reinstall it over top of your existing copy.. ( without erasing your programs data and files )

And we should be in business..
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It took me to a screen to access the recovery HD or the Mac HD

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
we want recovery HD..

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It's locked.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Ok.. What specifically are you seeing on screen.

Disk 0, disk 1 ? which one shows that its the largest hard drive with the most space ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Recovery HD


650 MB total * 137.3 MB available


This disk is locked


 


 


Macintosh HD


319.21 GB total * 78.35 GB available

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.

Click on Mac HD.. and then it should give you the option to install lion.

Remember, if it asks.. do not choose erase and install.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I had to sign in the the apple store.


 


I have paused the download.


 


Message on the screen:


 


MAC OS X LION


Downloading additional components. Your computer will restart automatically.


 


I have paused it. My options are: Quit or Continue Installing.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
You want to continue installing.. Your on the right path..

The recovery install should start in the next step.. two at most.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

okay, i have resumed the download. Fingers crossed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It says 5 hours and 40 minutes remaining. :S

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
It will start slow at first.. and then once it settles in it shoud speed up.. depending on your internet speed... It could cut that down rather significantly..

Just so your aware.. I will be online till at least 10 pm, which is 11 more hours..

So if you run into any issues, or even if this does work, please try to send me a reply so I can either lend further assistance, or else.. We can mark this as closed, either way.


One more thing, when this does finally finish and your back to your mac desktop background.. We need to run repair disk permissions one more time.


To open Disk Utility, from the Applications folder, open Utilities, and then double-click the Disk Utility icon.

In the column on the left, click your startup disk.

Click the First Aid tab, and then click Repair Disk Permissions. Disk Utility will reset any files and folders with incorrect settings.


Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay, I will continue with this. I am running a seminar this evening, so I am hoping the download is faster than it indicates. I will let you know when it's done.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
If you need to stop, and then come back later this evening, or even tommorow or Friday or next Tuesday.. I will be online about 12 hours a day for the next 18 days..

So please dont feel theres any requirement that we finish up today.. That being said, it is of course my goal to help you solve this issue as fast as we can.. Hence why I wanted to go ahead and do a more sweeping and comprehensive repair like this, as im hoping this saves us a lot of try this, try that, and try that time.

Usually, its better to do one big step that we know works, rather then 15 small ones that " might work"

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay, sounds good. :)

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Two things before you go.. One, I have to respond to every message im sent as soon as possible ( so I always have to send the last response..)

So please dont think Im spam messaging you, its company policy!

And also, very important, if you havent done so already, please set your justanswer account username and password, so you can get back to me on this same exact thread again, without being charged another security deposit. Heres how

. First, lets make sure that you have set a password XXXXX a username or email address for your justanswer account.. At the top right of this page, click account.

Then set a password, set a username.. And once thats set..

at the top right click my questions, and you should see our question Click the title of the question ( or click reply to expert ) and you will be back here.

Thanks,

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I made a username and password. I can see 'my questions' and can access this thread that way.


 


I will expect a reply, but unless there isn't anything pressing, I will not respond, since you have to have the last reply. :)


 


My download is at 3 hours 30 minutes.


 

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Excellent.. Then your account here is setup.. And your aware of the path to return and reply, even if you were using a different computer ( you could just log in and click myquestions and then reply there )

All right, I guess were in a holding status while the download and reinstall completes..

D.S
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well the installation has begun. I was not asked to select anything, it just happened automatically. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX is not overwriting my files. :S

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
It wont be over writing your files.

WIth OSX Lion, apple started to include this recovery partition as a tool to reinstall the OS without losing your files..

Thanks for the update , though, I will be taking lunch here shortly so If I dont immediately respond, then I wil respond as soon as I get back in ..

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I will be leaving for a couple of hours and returning later this afternoon. Thanks for keeping me calm. lol ;)

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Not a problem, I do what I can :)

Hope your seminar goes well, and Ill look to hear from you later on.. ( though if Im at dinner, it may take me 30-45 minutes to respond )

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It rebooted and I am now running repair disk permissions

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Gerri.. My apologies for the delay in getting back to you.. I was at dinner when you responded.

Were the repair disk permissions able to complete yet?

If so.. Generally speaking, how is the mac running.. Still sluggish, running better?

Whatever info you can give on the macs current performance, will help us turn the last few gears we need to turn to get this working normally again.

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Here is the error message from the disk repair:


 


Warning: SUID fule "system/library/CoreS...as been modified and will not be repaired


 


Permissions repair complete

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It just asked me to install some java software which it is doing now. :S So far the desktop still looks blank and the problem appears to be exactly the same.

 

Okay, i left it to fester and i can see the applications now from the applications tab. It is moving like a turtle though.

 

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Ok.. Lets try restarting the mac one time..

And when we restart.. lets run a pram reset

  1. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
  4. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  5. Release the keys.

Once it starts back up.. Any change? Still moving like a turtle?



Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just reset the pram, still deathly slow and almost not responding after responding to the first click of the mouse. I am off to lead my seminar, but I will be back later. If you have any other advice I would be grateful. Things look the same or worse.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Understood.. when you return..

Lets try making a new profile, as it may be your original admin account has corrupted beyond our ability to repair it.

Follow these steps

http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11468

Create a new administrator account.. and then try signing into the new account...

Does it still run deathly slow ? ( i realize you may not be able to get to this step for a while, I just wanted you to have something to try whenever you do get time.)

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well that did work. It seems to be moving fine on the new account. I am backing the entire thing up with time machine right now and I will download a virus scanner just for fun to see if anything crops up there.


 


What should I do next, as all of the info I need seems to be on the other profile. :)


 


Thanks!

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
My apologies for the delay in getting to you this morning Gerri,

Since the new account worked, we have to assume the old account was simply damaged beyond repair.. As the osx reinstall we did was just about the most comprehensive repair we could have done.. And it still didnt fix the old account, but the new account worked and worked well right off the bat. Sometimes, accounts will get corrupted.. Its one of those immutable laws of computing. That being said, it possibly could have been a virus as well.. So theres no harm in running Sophos or Clamxav ( both free mac antiviruses ) just to check..


What I suggest doing , would be what your already doing. Back up the entire old user account using time machine.. ( preferably to an external hard drive..)

Then once your entirely certain the entire account is backed up.. Delete the account ( the old one )

Then rename your new account, so it exactly matches the old account.

And then use time machine to restore all your files from the external hard drive.. That should be about the simplest way to migrate everything over, without having to pay for backup software such as carbonite or acronis..

If you get stuck or have any further questions, let me know!

If my answer helped, please click one of the smiley faces to rate the solution, and then click the green accept button to accept the answer..

If my answer did not work, please wait to rate the answer and also wait to accept and instead send me a reply so that I can continue to assist you as needed.

Thanks! D.Sandlin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay, I was working yesterday so I didn't have any chance to get at this. I am now downloading anti-virus stuff to scan the computer before I delete the user account and port all the files back. This seems the reasonable thing, no?


 


I guess i will also have to run time machine again to re-update in case there are viruses. THEN i will follow your instructions and hopefully all will be well again. Thank you for your continued guidance! :)

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
Your welcome Gerri, and thank you for your continued participation in the process. Your detailed replies really help me to stay on the same page with you and understand what your doing, that way I can help to decide what needs to be done next.

Your plan sounds appropriate to me.. The only thing I would add is that, if the sophos or clamxav or whatever antivirus your going to use.. If it does not find anything.. Then I think you could forego the step of making the second time machine back up.

Of course if it did find anything, then your absolutely right, youd want to make a fresh set of backups so that were not restoring any infected files..

Other then that, It seems you have the proper steps in mind.. If you run into any issues I'm happy to continue providing assistance..

Dustin S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I apologize, there has been a death in the family and I have been helping take care of some details. If this needs to be closed immediately, I will do so. Otherwise, I will be back at work on Thursday and I can take care of things then. I apologize for the delay. I realize this is dragging on.

Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.
I am so sorry to hear about your loss.. Im sure that at the moment working on the computer is the last of your concerns and worries.

Theres no need to close this immediately, it can stay open as long as you need it to.

Though, the computer system may send you some automatic reminders, so please dont feel like I am pushing to close this, if you do see an auto reminder asking you to come back and finish. ( thats just an automatic reminder system)

Again, my condolences and sympathies.

Dustin S.

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Dustin
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4 Years in the US Military working with Mac's and networking equipment