jqcampbell Absent Member.
Absent Member.
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"Unable to create mobile account" error with existing users

Kanaka v 2.7.0.52
OS X 10.8.5
OES 11

Background:

I have random users that will receive the "Unable to create mobile account" error upon authentication through the Kanaka plugin. Kanaka logs show a successful authentication. The interesting part is that these users have successfully authenticated to the particular computer previously and already had a managed mobile account created at that time. It appears that their user account has been removed from the System Preferences -> Users & Groups GUI list and they still have their user home folder intact. It appears that the mac is retaining some residual knowledge of this account and is having difficulty recreating the mobile account even though it is no longer listed in the users list.

I have renamed the user folder and tried the login once again with the same error.

I have gone as far as using the dscl command to list the users via the terminal and on few occasions I have found that the account still exists if looked up in this manner even though the GUI says otherwise. Deleting the user account in this manner, renaming the home folder, and logging in once again does solve the problem. Unfortunately the majority of those experiencing this issue do not have this discrepancy so I am at a loss as to where other user information may be kept on the mac that is preventing this account from being created.

As a bandaid we have just had users change computers, but this issue is growing and become more of a nuisance.

My questions:

Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
Why would a previously created mobile account be removed?
Could settings in Kanaka (possibly MCX) create this condition?
Are there any other locations on the mac I may be able to look for residual account information that may be preventing the creation of the mobile account?

I will look through some logs on one of the affected computers and see if I see anything suspect.

Please let me know if there as any further information that I can provide to help shed some light on this situation.

Thank you for your help.
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4 Replies
uberkind9 Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: "Unable to create mobile account" error with existing us

jqcampbell;2305731 wrote:
Kanaka v 2.7.0.52
OS X 10.8.5
OES 11

Background:

I have random users that will receive the "Unable to create mobile account" error upon authentication through the Kanaka plugin. Kanaka logs show a successful authentication. The interesting part is that these users have successfully authenticated to the particular computer previously and already had a managed mobile account created at that time. It appears that their user account has been removed from the System Preferences -> Users & Groups GUI list and they still have their user home folder intact. It appears that the mac is retaining some residual knowledge of this account and is having difficulty recreating the mobile account even though it is no longer listed in the users list.

I have renamed the user folder and tried the login once again with the same error.

I have gone as far as using the dscl command to list the users via the terminal and on few occasions I have found that the account still exists if looked up in this manner even though the GUI says otherwise. Deleting the user account in this manner, renaming the home folder, and logging in once again does solve the problem. Unfortunately the majority of those experiencing this issue do not have this discrepancy so I am at a loss as to where other user information may be kept on the mac that is preventing this account from being created.

As a bandaid we have just had users change computers, but this issue is growing and become more of a nuisance.

My questions:

Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
Why would a previously created mobile account be removed?
Could settings in Kanaka (possibly MCX) create this condition?
Are there any other locations on the mac I may be able to look for residual account information that may be preventing the creation of the mobile account?

I will look through some logs on one of the affected computers and see if I see anything suspect.

Please let me know if there as any further information that I can provide to help shed some light on this situation.

Thank you for your help.


We also see this behavior a lot. No real explanation, but our troubleshooting workflow for it is:
- Does the System Prefs - Users window crash when accessing it? If so, try dscl...
- Does dscl . --delete /Users/username throw an error? If so, reimage the machine...

If the dscl deletion works, we don't even rename the home directory, and a subsequent login is usually successful.

If you find any definitive reason why this happens, please share!
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jqcampbell Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: "Unable to create mobile account" error with existing us

uberkind9;2307142 wrote:
We also see this behavior a lot. No real explanation, but our troubleshooting workflow for it is:
- Does the System Prefs - Users window crash when accessing it? If so, try dscl...
- Does dscl . --delete /Users/username throw an error? If so, reimage the machine...

If the dscl deletion works, we don't even rename the home directory, and a subsequent login is usually successful.

If you find any definitive reason why this happens, please share!


I have listed the accounts via command line using the dscl command to see if it existed there and just not in the GUI. In most cases the user will not appear in the list and therefore fails out with an incorrect path when you attempt to delete it in the manner you describe. When I looked in the console of a particular iMac it showed the attempt to create the account using MCXCCreateMobileAccount, but it fails stating "Could not create the record because one already exists with the same name." This sent me on a search to find some other location that user account information is cached. I've had difficulty locating or clearing any remaining portions of this "seemingly" deleted account.

We did find that a system update (10.8.4 to 10.8.5) seemed to clear this cached user information and allowed the users to login once again. This has only been a temporary fix and we are now seeing users experiencing this issue once again. I'm not sure what would cause Kanaka to initiate the deletion of an existing mobile user account. I am trying to isolate specific users and see if there is something changing with their account in e-directory that could possibly cause Kanaka to interpret their information differently. I'm not sure if it's possible, but it may be changing their local mobile account to a network account which deletes incompletely at logout and prevents the creation of the new account upon their next login. I still don't understand the root of what would initiate that through e-directory or Kanaka.

One difference that I am beginning to see with our student user accounts has to do with the naming of their user folders on the mac. The user folders are typically named "s123456" with a lowercase s and their student ID number. I have noticed recently that there are several folders that are being created with a capital S versus lowercase. I know that Novell typically does not care about case, but I believe that the mac may be sensitive to this type of change.

Forgot to add this initially... We do not experience System Preference crashes when accessing Users.
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jqcampbell Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: "Unable to create mobile account" error with existing us

I was also curious what version of Kanaka you are running?
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mccannk Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: "Unable to create mobile account" error with existing us

We too have been experiencing the same issue. Does anyone have a resolution? We are running Kanaka 2.7.

Thanks,
Kim McCann
Rose Tree Media School District
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