Mac users left waiting as Intuit update erases data

An update to Intuit's accountancy software has wiped data from Mac users' hard drives, with affected customers asked to join a waiting list for the solution

Accountancy software company Intuit has created a waiting list for users affected by a flawed update to its QuickBooks Pro application.

The update erased QuickBooks data from the hard drives of many users last weekend, Intuit acknowledged. It affected the Mac OS X QuickBooks software, versions 2006 and 2007.

The company said late on Monday that the flawed update could no longer be automatically downloaded. However, the best advice Intuit has been able to offer so far is for affected users to stop using their computers and to refrain from rebooting until they have contacted the company's technical support department.

Intuit said affected users can sign up on its website to be notified when a solution has been found.

The flawed update has wreaked havoc for some businesses that were in the midst of closing their accounts for the year only to find important documents such as purchase orders and spreadsheets erased.

When documents are erased in Mac OS X, the files are typically still stored on the hard drive but all pointers to them are removed and the files are marked as available for overwriting.

Data-recovery companies can typically recover such files unless they have been overwritten, which is why Intuit is advising users to stop using their Macs until they have received further advice.

"If you have lost files from your desktop and have not yet rebooted your computer, do not reboot it until you speak with technical support," the company said in a support document. "It may be possible to recover the missing files."

After download of the faulty update, a dialogue box informed users: "There is not enough space to install." If users clicked the OK button, the update proceeded to delete files.

In a statement sent to ZDNet.co.uk, Intuit said the problem had affected a "limited number" of users. "We regret any problems that this issue may have caused and are committed to working with affected customers," the company said.

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