PCs

Data loss bug discovered in Leopard

A blogger has discovered a data loss glitch in Apple's recently released Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. This bug could result in the loss of data when moving files from a Mac to or from any external drives. The medium could range from a local USB flash drive, SMB file share, or even a network attached storage.

A blogger has discovered a data loss glitch in Apple's recently released Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. This bug could result in the loss of data when moving files from a Mac to or from any external drives. The medium could range from a local USB flash drive, SMB file share, or even a network attached storage.

Excerpt from The Register:

According to Tom Karpik, the bug manifests itself when an attempt to move - rather than copy - a folder from the Mac is interrupted. Moving a folder off a disk essentially involves first copying it then deleting the original. Karpik shows that Finder fails to ensure that the folder has been successfully written to the target disk before removing the original.

You can read the original article from Tom here: Massive data loss bug in Leopard.

Like Windows, Mac OS X defaults to copying if source and destination are not from the same drive. In fact, to perform a "move" on the Mac, the user will specifically need to hold down the Command key. Bearing this in mind, most users will probably do a copy followed by a manual delete of the source files.

Still, nothing like having the bug hit when performing some heavy-duty migration to spoil your entire week. To spice it up some, this bug apparently goes all the way back to Panther.

So Mac-fans, just stick to the "copy then delete" routine for now, eh?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

45 comments
CITNetMajoratPurdue
CITNetMajoratPurdue

The reality of no flawed Operating System has finally caught up to Mac users after being buried by a small user base. The more people who use Mac, the more not so secure features will show up.

dlmeyer
dlmeyer

This isn't precisely a "bug", it is certainly poorly-considered code. The [b]Headline[/b] is pure [b][i]FUD[/i][/b], no question. To start, most Mac users don't know the difference between a Move and a Copy, much less how to over-ride the default - which is [b]COPY[/b]. Need more? The base article called it a [b]Massive data loss[/b] bug. Know anyone who has unknowingly suffered from this? I don't. Third, the data isn't [b]lost[/b], though getting it back can be rough and requires nearly instant recognition. As I said, [b]FUD[/b].

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

As I wrote in an earlier post, when a feature does not work as designed it is a bug. Plain and simple. It does not matter if a feature is the default behaviour. If you intend to use the MOVE it should MOVE your files. Plain and simple. "To start, most Mac users don't know the difference between a Move and a Copy, much less how to over-ride the default - which is COPY"... but if they do... move should work. Plain and simple. "anyone who has unknowingly suffered from this? I don't". This does not matter... it is still a bug. Plain and simple. "Third, the data isn't lost, though getting it back can be rough and requires nearly instant recognition".... again this does not matter. It's a bug. Even if it is on a Mac.... it is always a bug (and a very bad one indeed). Whatever Steve says.... it is always a bug (and a very bad one indeed).

williamjones
williamjones

...where you might lose connection due to network interruption. I agree that anyone who doesn't pay attention to the copy progress before yanking connected media is asking for trouble. And it's good advice to just do a copy-and-delete manually.

Lorax
Lorax

nothing new this always happens in windows -- if you try to move a file and then cancel the operation, you always lose the data;; i learned this lesson and now do the "two-step-move" use the copy command, once it succeeds, then go back and delete the file.

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

...it really does not work the way you describe. Cancel the move operation and the files that have not been completely moved yet are in their original locations...

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

When a feature does not work as designed it is a bug. Plain and simple. Religious war aside, this really looks like a bug (and a very bad one indeed) and even if best practices suggest that one should copy and verify before deleting.... it is always a bug (and a very bad one indeed). Even if it is on a Mac.... it is always a bug (and a very bad one indeed). Whatever Steve says.... it is always a bug (and a very bad one indeed).

ect
ect

A bug is a bug even it is Mac. Mac is a religion I was told and they are "Die Hard Supporters". What happen to honesty? Give Jack his Jacket and Rover his Bone. Don't forget that the Titanic sank on its first voyage. Human can and will make mistakes. Find them and create solutions. Face the challenges head-on. Mac or PC they all have their place in the market.

areasas
areasas

Dears, I am a new ADC user, from July, when I started to use Leopard in the preview. This bug never happened! Yesterday I received a new version to test (10.5.1) with many new improvements. Dear friends, electronic device dependent, this make the difference: the support! Being capable to answer the user's problems! Apple's growth on the market is coming just because, out of the usability of MacOsX, it has developed the strategy to listen and react! Quickly! That's all! Best wishes everybody, Carmine

djc
djc

Or completely ignore users and delete their complaints from the forums so it appears everything is ok http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/29/no_java_for_leopard/

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I will admit I didn't see that. How about telling me exactly where that is. I did read both threads, so how about narrowing down my search?

djc
djc

Which you claimed to have read and not seen anything about Apple deleting complaints 'Over the past few days, people moderating the company's support forum have deleted several threads related to users' inability to run Java 1.6 on Leopard.'

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I read both the discussion forum you linked to and even one linked in that one and I saw absolutely no indication of Apple refusing to acknowledge or deleting complaints. What I saw was a bunch of impatient babies complaining that their newest toy couldn't play in the new playground and throwing off-the-wall FUD about Apple not planning to support anything newer than Java 1.5. Interestingly enough, more than one poster clearly stated that Apple was working on it and would likely have 1.6 working through the Software Update process soon. If you're going to make a statement and link to your proof, make sure you link to some real proof!

djc
djc

Sunday, November 04 2007 @ 08:14 AM PST Time Machine causing Aperture to crash http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20071104081412996 Sunday, November 04 2007 @ 09:48 AM PST AirPort Disk connectivity problems widespread in Leopard http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=2007110409480314 It is becoming tolerably clear that Leopard's support for AirPort Disks (a USB disk connected, and accessed through, an AirPort Base Station, as a way of sharing a hard disk between multiple computers, often including Windows machines) is not all that it might be. Friday, November 02 2007 @ 11:00 AM PDT AirPort problems in Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20071102110031707 Card not recognized/will not power on. Thursday, November 01 2007 @ 03:20 PM PDT Flash (YouTube, etc.) broken under Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20071101152707293 Thursday, November 01 2007 @ 10:00 AM PDT Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5): Slow app launches; high fan activity, processor usage; crash reports don't submit; desktop icons froze http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=2007110110052021 Wednesday, October 31 2007 @ 11:45 AM PDT Leopard Dock annoyances and workarounds http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=2007103111561983 Wednesday, October 31 2007 @ 10:20 AM PDT Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5): Repair permissions takes too long or does not complete Several users have reported that the repair permissions function, performed by Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities), takes an extremely long time or does not complete under Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). In some cases, the issue is accompanied by the error message: "Warning: SUID file" http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20071031102625632 Security site pokes holes in leopard firewall http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/02/leopard_security_analysis/ And there are many more I haven't listed here. After a 6 month delay and Apple keeping such tight control of both the hardware and the OS, they really have no excuse, yet Apple fans are always more than happy to rip into MS for the least little thing while hiding from the fact that their beloved OSX is far from perfect.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... we're not hiding it when it happens. Historically, Apple's upgrades have gone very smoothly, though this brings to mind the original OS X 10.0 upgrade which had a lot of problems all its own. On the other hand, unlike Windows which has had only one decent version since it was created (XP - all iterations) Apple's upgrades have usually been smoother and cleaner overall. I personally didn't try 10.0 but waited for 10.1, which corrected most of the issues discovered in the earlier version. I expect that 10.5.1, already seeded out to developers, will fix the majority of issues so far discovered in Leopard. Oh, by the way, how soon is Vista SP1 due out? That's right, more than a YEAR after its corporate release and more than 11 months after its consumer release. Rather than hiding the issues, Apple is actually trying to fix them in a timely manner. Oh, and the Security site poking holes? Maybe... but there still isn't an effective exploit out there. Can you say the same for Windows? No, I'm not trolling; I'm counter-trolling. I'm glad to see you've finally done some research; keep up the good work. But make sure you keep it all in context. Pulling bits and pieces out of a statement will completely change the meaning of that statement.

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

Why always trying to say that Vista is worse than Leopard? There are bug in Leopard, full stop. Apple should better fix them soon.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

the common sense approach award. Leopard was just released. Of course it will have bugs, and they will be fixed. This discussion is almost as bad as the "leopard firewall" one a few weeks back....

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

it's a fine machine. it also has problems with being expensive. and windoze certainly has way more problems. however as someone else said, 'a [data destroying] bug is a bug' regardless of how many bugs an unrelated operating system has. You sound like you're in 'Denial...' :) The nic driver security problem was not a 'perceived bug' but a real one, that probably was not 'in the wild' yet. And apple had incredible arrogance by slandering this person at first then later admitting the bug in a round-about way and fixing it. Perhaps they think they are 'bullet-proof' but this incident indicated they are not. They need to swallow a humble pill and interact in a more civilized manner with developers, researchers, customers. Incredible co-incidence or course, but 'MomCorp' on futurama seems to fit them perfectly. Cutesy corporate image, cut-throat greedy inside.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Maybe, unlike you, they don't try to scare the user away. One thing I do know by practical experience is that once Apple recognizes a valid problem (not just some perceived vulnerability) they go out of their way to discover the cause and fix it. Quickly. Sure, there are bugs in every OS. Sure, there are bugs in every new hardware design. Sure and I have an aluminum iMac that used to have the screen-freeze problem... and doesn't now that I'm using Leopard. I can't speak for other people who have had problems with Leopard; but for myself, Leopard has been a solid upgrade that worked beautifully until I made an error in assigning permissions that forced a wipe-and-reinstall (something I've never had to do before in OS X.) The thing is, I made the mistake and paid for it. I didn't blame Leopard because it was doing exactly what it was written to do, which is quite different from its predecessors. Leopard's underpinnings are based on a new version of UNIX with increased security and stricter permissions rules. For the average user, this change will be effectively invisible--in fact, it seems that experienced security analysts completely missed this in their complaint that the firewall is, by default, turned off. Keep in mind that despite all the bugs and claimed vulnerabilities, there has yet to be a single, viable virus or worm by definition on the Apple platform. The only one that came close ended up becoming a Trojan that required user input to embed itself and proliferate; a trojan that has already been stopped.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

for a while during which they deny the bug.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

if people don't have anything legitimate to respond to bugs in apple products, they shouldn't make death threats against security researchers. And if you don't have anything legitimate to say other than invective calling me a troller, you should heed your own advice and stay out of the discussion!

Tig2
Tig2

There are bugs in Windows, there are bugs in Linux. Why does the issue end up being a fanboy rant on either side? I bought a Mac so that I could choose to be OS agnostic. The MacBook Pro will run anything. I bought it when I did so that it would both have Tiger and be eligible for Leopard. Mostly because I knew that Leopard was likely to have some holes. No one is trying to say that Mac doesn't have bugs. All I am saying is that it is a non-event except that it is informational to anyone posting on a Mac.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Nothing more, nothing less. If you don't have something legitimate to say, stay out of the discussion.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Are you talking Microsoft time, as in one to two years? Or are you talking Apple time, as in one to four months?

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

Leopards are CUTE and CUDDLY and COOL like all apple products! (till they raze you with their claws). Or death threats to security bloggers who find problems with drivers. And Apple is like ApplePie MomCorp from Futurama. Kind of ironic that the "1984" ad was for Apple products. I'm sure they'll never lock you in to one cell network. Or lock their devices so that the next upgrade frys your expensive toy, turning it into an expensive paperweight. Or deny they are wrong by wording in a round about way their response to the security researcher that actually admits they were wrong. That sounds like something the evil M$ (or previously IBM) would do. And you can't admit bad design such as soldering in the batteries so you have to spend two weeks without your iPhone when they die and you can't use snap in 3 hour li-ion batteries so the thing runs for 8 hours like my Sony camcorder. They'll never be greedy b&^%&* and charge you $200 more for their products then reduce the price.

hexstar
hexstar

This is why I always copy my data to other media and only when I know the copy has been successful do I delete the source data - John Musbach

Tig2
Tig2

I learned long ago to never trust a move and to always do a copy. Learning a Mac will be enough of a learning curve without trying to change a habit that stands me in good stead. And what I have seen in the OS in a very short time tells me that leaving Microsoft was a good choice for me.

DanLM
DanLM

Not saying it's not true, but.... Dan

DanLM
DanLM

seen a posting like that for. I just find it hard to believe that an os would have that... And no, I don't own a mac. Dan

Tig2
Tig2

Can happen regardless of OS. I have had it happen countless times in Windows. If you care about the file, you copy it and verify the copy. Then you delete the source. I DO own a Mac. This "issue" doesn't bother me even a little bit.

DanLM
DanLM

Damn, your seriously scaring me off laptops now. What did you have speced on a laptop that would run that high? I can't remember if I ever seen that you game or not... Dan

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I went and configured a notebook on both Dell and HP sites just to see how much I'd be out... I configured it to last 2-3 years without need for upgrade except RAM, I kept it at 2GB, with 4GB max on MB. Well, lets just say that $1400 was not enough. Try $2700. At this time I decided to just do upgrades on my desktops and keep using PCLinuxOS on my 5 yr. old notebook.

DanLM
DanLM

I know how I am.... The only reason I have never bought a lap top before is because I know I will want to perform upgrades in a year.... I'll be nice, and hold off 2 years. To kick 2000 at a lap top that I will want to add to in a couple years breaks even my 'ewww, a new toy's heart. I just can't see me doing it. Shoot, like I said... I was looking last night at lap tops... And, remembering a pervious blog here. 'Get everything you need when you buy a laptop'(or something like that), because unlike a desktop... It is not easy, or cheap to upgrade. Shoot, windows laptop with what I want... 1200. And I still have to do the wireless setup also with 2 existing computers that have no wireless cards... Im now up to ???? 1400? Eh..... Maybe i'll just bank the money(yea right), and hold off till I see a great deal someplace. Actually, maybe i'll just do the wireless bit right now... And watch the prices for awhile on everything else. Dan

Tig2
Tig2

BECAUSE the core is BSD. And it is platform agnostic. I want to hear a good BSD thread too! I think that Leopard is going through growing pains. Just like Windows does. Did I say those words??? This Mac has been connected for FOUR DAYS!!! It sits behind a hardware firewall. Since I have the source and this is a young computer, I have been waiting for something to infect me. So far, no good. Can we give this a rest, people???

DanLM
DanLM

;o) Now you can flame me everyone. I just told you what OS I think is best. Wait, thats apples core... hehehehehe, they must have fubbered up what works then... Because that is something that I have NEVER seen in BSD. Hell, if I'm going to get flamed like a fanboy. I might as well give them a reason to do it.

DanLM
DanLM

I wasn't trying to promote or bash Lepord. But , it was taken as a fanboy post. I guess I should have qualified further in the original post... Oi, good thing I deleted my instant response and just settled for my grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. response. ;o) Dan

david.eldridge
david.eldridge

I have been recovering from the blue screen of death Leopard install (http://david.socklint.com/2007/10/30/mac-os-x-105-leopard-%e2%80%94-a-mixed-bag%e2%80%a6/). It has been painful. I went back and reinstalled Tiger for a short time to recover those personal and Library files to a Linux share. There were a couple of times that the move was not successful because the linux share does not support characters that Mac does. I could not understand when I went back later why so many of my files were missing, but this makes sense. Some of my files that I thought I recovered were not, quite apparently due to this 'bug'. Thanks, Ms. Thompson.

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

Move all your pictures from one drive to a USB one and disconnect it while doing it... then let us know. If you trust Apple so much, you should go forward :)

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Why in the world would you disconnect your USB drive while copying files? If someone is doing that, they need to go to common sense school. The only bug I see here is the Mac not popping up a Window that says "You are a frickin' idiot. I am deleting myself from this system as you are not qualified to use a computer. - XOXO Leopard"

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

A bug is only if something does not work as promised. It does not cover bad design. So, if I intentionally write a file move utility that does not verify that a file has been successfully moved before deleting the original, that is not a bug, it is just bad design. A bug would be that I intended to have the program verify successful copies before deleting files during a move, but the program did not actually do so. Either I forgot to code it, or there was a logic error that caused the verification not to work, or some other reason. This is one reason that I put reminder comments in my code to ensure that I do not forget to write something that I do not have time to do write away. Its important in my work environment where I only get a few hours a week to work on my program due to application support requirements, unscheduled audits, unscheduled meetings that I get dragged into.

david.eldridge
david.eldridge

Speaking now with my "stupid user" hat on, I have been in the middle of file copies and moves, and minimized the screen, and forgot that there was I/O going on when I had to leave the house and packed up my laptop. It is not so strange a thing that a dumb user might do something so foolish. The bigger problem for me is that a GUI copy in Mac OS X overwrites the entire directory (If I remember correctly) where a cp/mv at the terminal overwrites on a file-by-file basis.

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

...move the files over a network and unplug the cable while in progress. Again, not something a user would do but this sort of things happen. What should not happen is that the data which did not make it through the wire yet is wiped out. If that happens... is a bug.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

But what I was pointing out is that it is difficult for me to consider the results of a nonsensical action as a "bug." E.g. if you unplug the power cord from the computer and it turns off, its a bug in the hardware. I mean, it was on and no one pressed the power button, so why isn't it still on?

JohnSmith2000
JohnSmith2000

...and try to figure out if you can replicate it? Since the guy said he wants to see it to believe it, I just suggested a way to achieve that objective.