October 14, 2009, 7:07 PM — Usually, Microsoft makes the big security blunders, but with Snow Leopard Apple shows they can also compete with Microsoft when it comes to making really awful security mistakes. How awful? How about making it possible to easily lose all of your data? Is that bad enough for you?
And, here I was feeling sorry for the Sidekick users who lost all their so-called smartphone data )! It's one thing to lose all your mobile phone files that should have been kept safely on the cloud, it's a much bigger disaster when you lose all your PC's data.
Apple has admitted that Snow Leopard can sometime lose everything a user has in his or her home folder. The company also promises a fix Real Soon Now. Don't you just hate that?
In the meantime, to avoid this problem, never, ever use your Mac's guest account. There's a real chance that if you do, the next time you open up your usual account you'll find everything-photos, iTunes music, e-mail, you name it-vaporized.
This problem doesn't always happen. Armed with two back-ups, I tried to make the problem happen on my Mac Mini and MacBook Pro. The first time around, nothing happened. Then, just to see what would happen, I tried it again. This time all the data on the Mini vanished.
Interesting. After some more poking around my own systems and asking around, the problem seems to be limited to Macs that already had guest accounts activated before they were updated to Snow Leopard. As to what triggers it some times, but not others, well, at this point, unless you're an Apple engineer, your guess is as good as mine.
You can avoid the possibility of running into this headache by simply deactivating guest access on your Mac. If you really, really need to have an account for friends and family, just add a managed user account without a password instead for them.
Finally, if you haven't been using Time Machine, Mac OS X's built-in automatic back-up program, start now. While I find Time Machine works great with Apple's Time Capsule combination 802.11n Wi-Fi access point and back-up drive, Time Machine also works with pretty much any external hard drive. With prices of those now at about $100 for a terabyte-sized drive, anyone can afford the security of a good, automatic back-up.
Now, if only Apple had arranged so that we wouldn't have needed a complete back-up at hand, I'd be really happy with Snow Leopard.