This didn’t happen to me in a long time. As it turns out, the Leopard installer (obviously through a malicious complot with the UNIX “mv” command) does the following when you use “Archive and install”:

mkdir /PreviousSystems/Timestamp
mv /Users /PreviousSystems/Timestamp/

Should I need to tell you what happens when you do “Archive and install” twice (say because the first install failed)? Well, the following:

mkdir /PreviousSystems/Timestamp
mv /Users /PreviousSystems/Timestamp/
# grind through an hour long install and fail
# reboot - let's try again
# grind through an hour long install and succeed - joy!
mv /Users /PreviousSystems/Timestamp/
# reboot, see the nice movie, fill in the forms
# look into the Previous System
# swear and bleed - all but one user's directory are in place,
# but the one we need is empty

Еб твою мать. One of the things that never happens is never never never never touching a timestamp if it’s there already, by a twist of faith. Who knows, maybe the machine was set to DST? Whatever! It’s there - don’t touch it!

Needless to say that this absolutely instantly unlinks the old home directory that was there. A simple realization of the fact came with such a mix of Dutch, Russian, English and French exlpetives you wish you’d been there. And no, it was not my home directory, but at the end of the day I am the one accountable for clicking “Install” twice. After all, it said “Archive and install” and through my 30 or so installs of OS X worked flawlessly. And no, they did not put Big Red Letters in there.

Although the KB article states that I should have gotten two directories in the Previous Systems I only got one.

Moral of the story:

  • do backups, stupid me - but I did not have any storage to put the stuff onto
  • do NOT try a second install of Leopard before your calendar flips one day ahead
  • before pushing any buttons, read the forum articles (I’ve found one which described the issue - after the fact of course, but lost track of it by now)

Also if I ever meet the guy who wrote the shell script in question, I’ll have some warm words for him. If someone of the readers has a Radar account - please file a bug on this.

Archive and Install should not delete the user’s home directory gawddamit. I so feel like Pierre Igot.