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If I open up my hard drive and navigate to Users, my main account is not there. How can I get it back?

In retrospect I realize it has been gone for a while, but since it still appears in the Sidebar I haven't worried too much about it. Until I recently realized that all my Time Machine backups are worthless because I can't navigate to any files backed up within my account (if I check the file size of the backup it's the same size as what's on my hard drive, so I know it's actually there, I just can't get to it).

I've tried creating an alias to the account but it won't let me do that through the Sidebar. I've searched all over the place and haven't seen another post like this. Anyone have any thoughts on how to troubleshoot this?

Here you can see my user account on the left with the 'M', but going through HD > Users my account isn't there.

The 'M' account is where all my stuff is, other added accounts appear under Users like the 'L' account.

missing user account

Your suggestion returned this:

enter image description here

share|improve this question
Try running ls -la@ /Users, and chflags nohidden /Users/M (of course entering the whole user name). If the latter fails, try sudo chflags nohidden /Users/M and enter your user account password if you're on an administrator account. What happens when you log in to the M account? Is it even possible? Open System Preferences, Accounts, select M, right-click, Advanced, and check where its home directory is configured. – Daniel Beck May 22 '11 at 18:24
Also, since you're apparently new here: slhck and I just commented on your question, which doesn't bump it to the start of the front page; only answers do. If you respond to specific users in comments, write @username, e.g. @Farley or @Daniel -- then that user gets notified by the system, just like you were notified of my comment. Remember to click the green checkmark next to a satisfactory answer below, once you get one: This will reward the user who posted that answer. – Daniel Beck May 22 '11 at 18:27
@Farley It probably won't take that long. If it doesn't work, try @Daniels solution, it might be the folder has a "hidden" attribute set that prevents it from being seen in the GUI. Moreover, can you actually do the following in Terminal? cd /Users/M;ls -la;open . (of course, again with your full username). You should get a list of your home folder in the Terminal, and a Finder window with its contents should show up. – slhck May 22 '11 at 18:41
@Daniel Beck @slhck The home directory is right where it should be, Users/M. The sudo chflags nohidden /Users/M did the trick. Thank you! Is the home folder with the @ and the group as wheel something I should be concerned with? Sorry, yes I'm new, I'm brushing up on Markdown Editing now. – Farley May 22 '11 at 18:51
@Farley The @ is nothing to be concerned about. The wheel user's group too, I just didn't recall seeing it before, rather staff. But I wouldn't touch that unless you experience any problems. – slhck May 22 '11 at 18:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If a file or folder doesn't show up in Finder, and does not have a name starting with ., then its hidden attribute is set.

Unset it in Terminal using the following command:

chflags nohidden /path/to/folder/or/file

The hidden attribute is actually pretty useful for folders you don't want showing up in Finder, e.g. /opt if you use e.g. Homebrew for Unix/Linux software management on your Mac, Music, Pictures, and Movies in your home directory if these are managed by iLife apps anyway, Desktop or Sites if you don't use them, etc.

share|improve this answer
Well spotted :) Now the only question is why it was hidden in the first place. – slhck May 22 '11 at 19:00
@slhck Indeed. Since I didn't know how to unhide it, It would be nice to know how that happened in the first place. – Farley May 22 '11 at 19:14

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