computer completely messed up!!!!!! pleeeease help!

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
hi - i really don't know too much about computers and i apparently decided somewhere along the line that i was an expert. ok, wrong. i wrecked my computer, can ANYONE pleeeease help?? here's what i did:



i got an ipod nano from work and thought, great, i'll install the software.

i then realized that both of the accounts on my mac os x 10.3 have somehow been changed from admin accounts to standard accounts. (makes NO sense - but it happened). which means at this point there is no admin account on my own computer (which obviosly also means that i am unable to install new software).



ok, here's where i thought i was ms.computer hacker 2006:



did tons of research online to discover i may be able to go in under single user mode enter some codes to make my computer think i was turning it on for the 1st time and i would be able to set up an account which would be the admin account. at which point i could go back into my computer, sign in with my new admin account and grant my old standard accounts admin capabilities. great. OR NOT!



here are the codes i used:



fsck -yf

mount -uw /

rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

reboot



i thought that it was working because when i rebooted my computer, it did the whole welcome screen and told me that i would need to set up my account and enter my onfo. i began to enter my information (the whole time feeling quite impressed with my sudden computer hacking skills - felt so naughty and bad! - ok, so what if it's not naughty and bad to hack into YOUR OWN computer!) when i got to the screen that asks for your name and assigns you a short name it asks for your password and then to verify it. it also asks for you to choose a picture from the list that, i guess, will be used for something (ichat??) anyway - there are no pictures on my screen to choose from SOOOOO, that means that i can not press "continue" because it is faded. until you choose that picture it will not let me go any further! but it's not even there for me to choose.



so, i am now unable to even get to my desktop.



pleeeeeaase, i am begging to any one that can help me! i love my little emac and i love my itunes and i love my i photo. i want my computer back. i promise i will never think i am a computer wizard again if i can just get myself out of this mess! thank you so much!



sincerely - the opposite of computer genius
«134567

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 140
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 696member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by erica

    fsck -yf

    mount -uw /

    rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

    reboot





    Okay you've deleted (rm'd) the file that tells the computer that it's already been setup. If we could figure out a way to copy that file from another computer, or create a new one then you could boot in to single user mode and enable the root account. You could then log in to the root account and change one of your existing users to an admin account. I'll be busy checking out the textcast of the MWSF in an hour and fourty four minutes but if I get a chance to do some research I'll post my findings. There will be alot of traffic here today maybe someone else will offer a solution too. Sit tight.
  • Reply 2 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    What about booting from the DVD and trying to change the Admin password there?



    If you just want to replace the .AppleSetupDone file, it may be able to be done in single-user as





    touch /var/db/.AppleSetupDone







    but we don't know if it actually checks the contents of that file.



    Why not just do an Archive and Install?
  • Reply 3 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    thank you soooo much for posting back!!!!!!!!



    alright - here's where i admit even more of my lacking computer knowledge

    i secretly have no idea how to "archive and install" (so embarassing) - will it erase anything i have on my computer already ( documents, photos, emails, music,...etc?)



    i did go in and reset the admin password with the cd, however, since the computer doesn't recognize either account as an admin account, the password doesn't work - and both accounts are still listed as standard.



    at this point, i don't even know how to get beyond the welcome and account set up pages (have to use work computer for this).



    i don't know if it helps you or just makes things worse for me but, a master password was set BUT i had a friend set up my computer for me and so i don't know that password and have lost touch with him. (i have tried to contact him regarding this issue but i think his crazy girlfriend thinks i want some hot action from him,ewe, she's nuts... i just want my computer back!!)



    oh no! (am i screwed?)



    thank you, thank you and THANK YOU!!!!!!





    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    What about booting from the DVD and trying to change the Admin password there?



    If you just want to replace the .AppleSetupDone file, it may be able to be done in single-user as





    touch /var/db/.AppleSetupDone







    but we don't know if it actually checks the contents of that file.



    Why not just do an Archive and Install?




  • Reply 4 of 140
    qchemqchem Posts: 73member
    If you manage to get past the apple setup screen, then all you need to do is add a user to the admin group (I guess this would work from single-user mode). With your disc partition mounted, do this:



    niutil -appendprop / /groups/admin users erica



    replace erica with your short username.
  • Reply 5 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    OK, this as you know is a very strange situation - it isn't supposed to be possible to have no Admin account. So I suspect that the dude who set the master password somehow torqued up your system. I hope he did not also turn on FileVault, as if FileVault is on and you don't know the master password you are screwed.



    Anyway, if it were me I would just pop in the DVD or CD that came with the computer, hold down the "c" key during boot to boot to it (as you already did), and then run the Installer, choosing "Archive and Install" when it gets to that screen (it may be under a button "Options" or something like that). All that does is move the current System folder aside and install a fresh system folder - you don't lose any data.



    This may not work, as it is going to be confused when it finds no Admin account, but it's worth a try.
  • Reply 6 of 140
    ok, i will try this when i get home. i am so thankful for all of you that are trying to get me out of this mess! i was so bored last night without my computer that i did 4 loads of laundry, did my dishes two times, spied on my neighbors dog to see if he was going to poop on my lawn and i actually taught myself how to knit. so as you can see, i am in dire need of technological distractions! thanks so much!!!!





    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    OK, this as you know is a very strange situation - it isn't supposed to be possible to have no Admin account. So I suspect that the dude who set the master password somehow torqued up your system. I hope he did not also turn on FileVault, as if FileVault is on and you don't know the master password you are screwed.



    Anyway, if it were me I would just pop in the DVD or CD that came with the computer, hold down the "c" key during boot to boot to it (as you already did), and then run the Installer, choosing "Archive and Install" when it gets to that screen (it may be under a button "Options" or something like that). All that does is move the current System folder aside and install a fresh system folder - you don't lose any data.



    This may not work, as it is going to be confused when it finds no Admin account, but it's worth a try.




  • Reply 7 of 140
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 696member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by erica

    ok, i will try this when i get home. i am so thankful for all of you that are trying to get me out of this mess! i was so bored last night without my computer that i did 4 loads of laundry, did my dishes two times, spied on my neighbors dog to see if he was going to poop on my lawn and i actually taught myself how to knit. so as you can see, i am in dire need of technological distractions! thanks so much!!!!



    How did it work? Did you "Archive and Install" or boot in to Single user mode like lundy suggested?
  • Reply 8 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    i wont actually be home until tomorrow night! i will certainly let you know what happens (hopefully from my own somputer after i fix it!!!!!)! believe me i am sooooo anxious to find out. keep your fingers crossed.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    How did it work? Did you "Archive and Install" or boot in to Single user mode like lundy suggested?



  • Reply 9 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    omg, omg. omg, omg! i got back in my own computer!!!!!! i love you guys sooooooooooooooooo much. i am the happiest girl in pennsylvania right now.



    ok, so i got back in and maybe now i'm being a little greedy - but, um, i checked and both accounts on the computer are still standard accounts. is there a way, now that i am able to see my desk top and stuff, that i can create an actual admin account so i can install software change certain settings?



    oh, btw, here is what i used to get past that horrible welcome/set up phase:



    /sbin/fsck -yf

    mount -uw /

    touch /var/db/.AppleSetupDone



    (so thank you guys tons for giving me those codes to put in!)



    anyway - you guys are awesome and have helped me SO much, and if anyone knows how to create an admin account on a computer that is soo lonely without one, that would be incredible!



    hopefully i will hear from you soon ( now that i am at MY OWN computer!!!!!!! )



    Quote:

    Originally posted by erica

    i wont actually be home until tomorrow night! i will certainly let you know what happens (hopefully from my own somputer after i fix it!!!!!)! believe me i am sooooo anxious to find out. keep your fingers crossed.



    :
  • Reply 10 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Well this is certainly good news.



    Only an Admin account can change another account to Admin, so this is really strange. The only way that I see to do it is as root. You cannot enable the root user in Netinfo Manager, because only an Admin can do that.



    Hmmm...





    OK, can you boot from the DVD and see if there is an "enable root user" menu item anywhere in the menus of the Installer screen?
  • Reply 11 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    hello,



    there are no menus like that on my DVD/CD thing that came with the computer. there are 3 discs though. they all say eMac software Install and Restore (but one says 1, the next 2 and the third (of course), 3) - i have only been using "1", should i be using anyof the other ones? also when i do anything with these cds i should be pressing "c" when i restart, right? that's what i have been doing - but the menu is so limited.



    thank you for sticking with me on this! it is very nice of you.









    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    Well this is certainly good news.



    Only an Admin account can change another account to Admin, so this is really strange. The only way that I see to do it is as root. You cannot enable the root user in Netinfo Manager, because only an Admin can do that.



    Hmmm...





    OK, can you boot from the DVD and see if there is an "enable root user" menu item anywhere in the menus of the Installer screen?




  • Reply 12 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    OK - I had hoped there would be a way to enable root there - but apparently not.



    I am waiting for an answer on how to change a user to Admin from the gang at DSLR.



    In the meantime, log out, try entering "root" as the login name in the login panel, and the password of what used to be the admin account. Probably won't work, but hey...



    Of course, you can always just do an Archive and Install.
  • Reply 13 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    hmm, i tried to use login name: root and my old password and that didn't work.

    Oh, and i tried to do an "Archive and Install" a little earlier (suggested by an earlier post), but when i press "C" when booting my computer, then i looked at all of the dropdown bars and everything and i couldn't even find an option to "archive and install" (believe me - it is almost as annoying being this technologically challenged as it is trying to walk me through all of these steps!).



    thanks lundy!









    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    OK - I had hoped there would be a way to enable root there - but apparently not.



    I am waiting for an answer on how to change a user to Admin from the gang at DSLR.



    In the meantime, log out, try entering "root" as the login name in the login panel, and the password of what used to be the admin account. Probably won't work, but hey...



    Of course, you can always just do an Archive and Install.




  • Reply 14 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    To do the archive and install, just go ahead and run the installer (the main window showing) after you boot from the CD. It will give you the option during the install.



    This may not fix the problem, but it won't erase anything.
  • Reply 15 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    A kind colleague provided the niutil command to add a user to the admin group:



    1. Boot into single-user by holding down command-s, as you have done.

    2. do the mount -uw / command.

    3. enter this command, replacing the word "username" with the short name of the user that you want to be Admin:





    niutil -appendprop / /groups/admin users username







    for example, if the account that you want to make admin is "Erica", the command would be





    niutil -appendprop / /groups/admin users Erica



    EDIT: Sheesh - my bad, I see that QChem already told you about this. I should read the thread.
  • Reply 16 of 140
    Quote:

    Originally posted by lundy

    OK, this as you know is a very strange situation - it isn't supposed to be possible to have no Admin account. So I suspect that the dude who set the master password somehow torqued up your system. I hope he did not also turn on FileVault, as if FileVault is on and you don't know the master password you are screwed.



    Anyway, if it were me I would just pop in the DVD or CD that came with the computer, hold down the "c" key during boot to boot to it (as you already did), and then run the Installer, choosing "Archive and Install" when it gets to that screen (it may be under a button "Options" or something like that). All that does is move the current System folder aside and install a fresh system folder - you don't lose any data.



    This may not work, as it is going to be confused when it finds no Admin account, but it's worth a try.




    Btw, to get the admin status back,

    why not going into the system prefs, -> users -> check

    "this user is allowed to manage the computer". (I don't know the

    exact phrase in english, because i am running a non-english

    OS version.) I think it is worth a shot under this circumstances.



    Odd things happen all the time.



    For future purposes:

    If this "Archive and Install" thing fails, than there

    are 2 other possibilities, that jump into my mind.



    1. Target disk mode, maybe. (To get the raw data at least)



    2. IF (and only IF) you once set up your computer

    with at least TWO partitions, than there is a good chance

    to just install a new system onto the partion

    which was formerly not used to be the system hd. maybe.



    good look (EDIT: äh, luck)
  • Reply 17 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    ooops! i fell asleep. (hmm, perhaps my body just couldnt handle the excitement of having my computer back!!!





    Ok - i have tried to go into system pref, accounts then there is a lock that says "click lock to make changes", i click it and a login/ password box comes up: type an administrator's name and password to make changes. since i technically don't even have an admin account - it won't accept my login info...soooooooo...i can't change anything there.



    and to be honest (ah, self - humiliation at it's best...) i have nooo idea what the other things you are suggesting i try even mean.



    BUT, on a positive note... i'm glad to hear that weird things happen to computers all the time, at least that gives me hope that weird things get fixed on computers all the time too...um, i hope!



    i have to get ready for work and i won't be back at my computer until monday, but i promise if anyone posts suggestions, i will try them AS SOON as i get home! in other words, your efforts are not going unnoticed or un-used!



    *oh, and when you give suggestions - talk to me like i'm 2 - because in this big, bad world of technological jargon, well - i kinda feel 2!



    thank you so much... have a really good weekend - i will be checking in!



    sincerely - the "standard"-girl who can hopefully (thanks to you!) will soon be calling herself the "admin"-girl!







    Quote:

    Originally posted by Vox Barbara

    Btw, to get the admin status back,

    why not going into the system prefs, -> users -> check

    "this user is allowed to manage the computer". (I don't know the

    exact phrase in english, because i am running a non-english

    OS version.) I think it is worth a shot under this circumstances.



    Odd things happen all the time.



    For future purposes:

    If this "Archive and Install" thing fails, than there

    are 2 other possibilities, that jump into my mind.



    1. Target disk mode, maybe. (To get the raw data at least)



    2. IF (and only IF) you once set up your computer

    with at least TWO partitions, than there is a good chance

    to just install a new system onto the partion

    which was formerly not used to be the system hd. maybe.



    good look (EDIT: äh, luck)




  • Reply 18 of 140
    Quote:

    Originally posted by erica

    ...

    *oh, and when you give suggestions - talk to me like i'm 2 - because in this big, bad world of technological jargon, well - i kinda feel 2!





    you're pretty much welcome.
  • Reply 19 of 140
    ericaerica Posts: 60member
    i'm at work now - but i was just thinking about in an earlier post it was mentioned that if filevault was on, well, i'd be screwed... file vault is not on but a master password has been set. (this probably doesn't help you but i thought i'd let you know just in case).



    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Vox Barbara

    you're pretty much welcome.



  • Reply 20 of 140
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Vox Barbara

    Btw, to get the admin status back,

    why not going into the system prefs, -> users -> check

    "this user is allowed to manage the computer".




    She can't do that, as that action requires an Admin account to change the setting. Catch-22.



    The niutil command listed should do the trick.
Sign In or Register to comment.