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OS X Mavericks: Home folder appears to be different after completing Setup Assistant

Symptoms

As part of upgrading to OS X Mavericks, you may be prompted to create a new user account after your Mac restarts. When you log into the new user account you created, you no longer see files or folders you saw in your home folder before upgrading.

Resolution

Where did my files go?

You may be asked to create a new user during installation if the OS X installation process is interrupted. For example, if you forced the computer to power off before installation was complete.

If you create and log in as a new user, you won't see your original files and your desktop picture and other settings may be different. This is because the files and folders you are looking for are in the home folder of your original user account. If this happens, just log out of the new user you created, and log into your original user:  

  • From the Apple menu () choose Log Out. Then, select your original user account from the login window to log back in using your original user name and password.

If you want to automatically log into your original user account every time you start up your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu ().
  2. Click Users & Groups
  3. Click the lock in the lower left corner of the Users & Groups window.
  4. Enter an administrator user name and password.
  5. Click the Login Options button.
  6. Select your original user account name from the "Automatic login:" pop-up menu.
  7. Close the System Preferences window to save your changes.

Verify that you are now able to see your original home folder and documents. You can then remove the temporary user account if needed. Make sure you haven’t left any files in the account’s home folder before you delete it.

If you don't see your original user account

If you can't log into an account that existed before upgrading, use the following steps to see your original user accounts.

  1. When requested, enter a new temporary user name and password that you will remember 
    Note: This account name needs to be different from any others already stored on this computer.
  2. If required, log in using the temporary user account you just created.
  3. From the Apple menu () choose System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  4. Click the lock icon in the lower left corner of the Users & Groups window. Then, enter the password of the temporary user you created.
  5. Select your original user account from the Other Users list.
  6. Make sure Allow user to administrate this computer is selected for your original user account.
  7. From the Apple menu () choose Log out.
  8. Log back in using your original user name and password.

Verify that you are now able to see your original home folder and documents. You can then remove the temporary user account if needed. Make sure you haven’t left any files in the account’s home folder before you delete it.

Additional Information

Important: During the final part of installation the OS X Installer indicates that there is "Less than a minute" remaining to complete installation. This may actually take longer. Please allow the installer time to finish, regardless of the time estimate displayed. The Mac will automatically restart when the process has completed.

Last Modified: Nov 6, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Nov 6, 2013
  • Article: TS5292
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