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March 30, 2004

PowerBook Account Screwed by FileVault

During today's server scare I reset my passwords everywhere, including my laptop. Unfortunately I used the command-line, not the "Accounts" tool. When I rebooted the laptop the password used to login couldn't unlock my FileVault home directory. Instead of prompting me, OS X created a locked disk image from my home directory and created a new home directory with all new folders, preferences etc.

Changing my password in "Accounts" didn't help, and I can't just copy the files from the old home directory into the new one because some of the files are being used.

I decide to create a new account, with admin permissions which I can use to get logged in without using my home directory to move back over the files. As I'm doing that I try to add a user to the admin group in NetInfo Manager and screw up the admin user group, rendering my account useless.

I find myself in single-user mode (never been there before on my Mac) and using visudo to get myself into a position to reset the root password (which I don't believe had ever been set before). With ability to run things as root I can boot normal, run NetInfo Manager as root and fix the admin group. With that out of the way I log in as the other admin user and copy everything from the locked disk image back into my account. Actually, to do that I had to log in as myself and mount the disk image and then switch to the other admin user.

With that I got pretty close to where I was before password reset. Lesson learned, either don't reset my password or remember that OS X really isn't as close to the other flavors of unix I'm used to.

Posted by mike at March 30, 2004 11:20 PM