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I am trying to add a new user to my Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.3. When I am in the Accounts screen, I don't see the user listed, but when I try to add it, I get the error message "Name is used by another user". This user name is not listed in /etc/passwd.

Any idea how to get this user really added to the system?


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Do you have this error with only this name, or for other names? – CharlesB May 21 '10 at 16:07
What username (long & short) are you trying to use? – afrazier May 21 '10 at 16:57
Yes, this is the only user that I have the problems with. The username is iufhelp and the long name is IUF Help. It is not a reserved username. – Jay May 21 '10 at 17:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It looks like the user you want to create is a "ghost" user, who has no Home directory, so you might just want to delete the previously existing user account, if it has no more utility. To do this, complete procedure on OReilly

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Thank you. That did the trick. – Jay May 21 '10 at 18:11
Glad it helped! – CharlesB May 21 '10 at 18:12

Not sure it works, but to fix things maybe you can try open a Terminal window, and run the command

dscacheutil -flushcache

You can also see all the users with the following command

dscl . -list /Users | grep "^[^_]"

It is also possible that your User ID is below 501, in which case it doesn't show in login window. To find if it is the case, enter the command

id <user_short_name>
share|improve this answer
Thank you. The flush cache did not work. It ran, but it didn't resolve the problem. The dscl command does show this user, but I cannot login as the user. I did a passwd on this user and it let me change the password, but I can't login and the user doesn't show up in the list of users in System Preferences. – Jay May 21 '10 at 17:39
One other thing, this user doesn't have a home folder under /Users. So that is missing. – Jay May 21 '10 at 17:50
Don't you want to delete it? Is it an old user account to which you removed the Home account? – CharlesB May 21 '10 at 17:58
I didn't remove the home directory. System Preferences locked up when I tried to create the account. But if I can delete the user, then create it again, that would work. Do you know how I can delete it when it doesn't show up in System Preferences? Thanks. – Jay May 21 '10 at 18:02

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