.Mac and iCal destroyed my personal data

iCal corruption destroys personal data

Ever since the last .Mac outage, my iCal calendar just isn’t right anymore. Everytime I launch it, I see none of my calendars, but I find a lot of empty calendars created in it’s place (as you can see above). I suspect that iSync was automatically synchronizing my personal data when the .Mac server went down, resulting in corrupted data on the server and on my Macbook Pro.

Besides the Apple’s Support Discussion Forums, a quick google reveals that I’m not alone in this iSync/iCal corruption assumption. Tim Bray from Sun Microsystems spoke my mind:

Dear Apple, here’s how you update a file containing valuable data safely:
1. First, you write out the new version without touching the old version, and carefully check that it worked.
2. Then, you move the old version aside, giving it name like Tim.ics.backup, and carefully check that the move worked.
3. Then, you move the new version in to the location of the old version and carefully check that this worked.
4. Then, you delete the backup. Even better, don’t; keep a few generations around.

The typical experience of a Mac user would be to delete iCal’s preference files, otherwise known as the plist files. Well, I deleted the iCal preferences, caches and associated files, and even made sure that iSync didn’t try to send corrupted iCal data back down, but the darn program just refuses to work. It hangs the entire system (yes, the clock stops), and I can’t do anything other than shut down or wait till it crashes. It’s driving me crazy and the same sentiments are felt by posters at the Apple Support discussion board.

Believe it or not, other than these inconsistent ideas, I couldn’t find any official solution!

UPDATE:This tip finally worked for me. Note that mine was especially bad because calendars were replicating themselves, so I had to first remove my login info from the .Mac System Preference, open iCal and delete the extra calendars, relogin using the .Mac System Preference and under the Advanced tab, Reset Sync Data from my Macbook to .Mac to erase the corrupted data there. From now onwards, I’m setting my .Mac synchronization to Manually instead of Automatically!

3 thoughts on “.Mac and iCal destroyed my personal data

  1. That’s why I don’t even sync iCal with .Mac. I actually use GCal and 30Boxes (as backup) and subscribed to both of them via iCal. Seems to be pretty reliable so far.

  2. I had the same experience 2 days ago, in the morning just before I suppose to depart to US in the afternoon. The sync process also corrupted my Address Book.

    Luckily I have my backup made automatically everyday.

    Not sure whether there’s some data field that caused the corruption, it left my FileVault sparse image in a really bad condition and had to transfer all the files in the home folder to a new image.

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