Crashed: too many corpses being created — How to Recover High Sierra

So, this isn’t going to have much instructions along with it. If you are on High Sierra and especially on High Sierra with JAMF and having issues with users seeing full progress bars that never go away after the log in, and get a too many corpses error when booted in verbose mode (CMD+V on power on), these instructions should allow recovery.

Recovery time with this method is about 2 hours, although it can be left unattended for long periods.

    1. Boot into recovery mode with cmd+r and unlock drive in Disk Utility
    2. Launch terminal and delete /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    3. Reinstall the OS from recovery mode
    4. Once it reboots, unlock disk from login screen to launch the setup wizard
    5. Create a new user and login, and complete setup to get to new user’s desktop
    6. Launch terminal and run `ls /Users` to find old user
    7. Go into system preferences and make a new account using a unique account name
    8. Right click on the newly made account and select advanced options
    9. Set up the account name and home directory to that of the user you wish to restore, making sure to write down the new user id
    10. Navigate to the /Users directory in Finder and right click the old home directory and click ‘sharing permissions’
    11. Unlock the panel with the lock in the bottom right and make sure the permissions are set to read and write
    12. Click on the gear in the window and select ‘apply to enclosed items’
    13. From finder, Run `diskutil resetUserPermissions / <insert user id recorded earlier>`
    14. Reboot into recovery, and from terminal run resetpassword and choose the “unable to login” option.
    15. Set a new password, reboot and user can now log in.

We’re addressing this issue where I work now, and, I want to get instructions out there as these seems to be an issue with the latest High Sierra updates released for Spectre and Meltdown (10.13.2 and 10.13.3). Hopefully it helps! If you know what causes this and how to prevent it, please comment!

8 thoughts on “Crashed: too many corpses being created — How to Recover High Sierra

  1. I have different issues. May be you can help me. Thank you in advance.

    Here are some error message.

    bash: /ect/rc.server: No such file or directory
    Sat Feb 10 13:04:12 2018 localhost[1] Early boot complete. Continuing system boot.
    Waiting for DSMOS…
    Process[171] crashed: opendirectoryd. Too many corpses being created.
    Process[172] crashed: opendirectoryd. Too many corpses being created.
    Process[173] crashed: opendirectoryd. Too many corpses being created.
    Process[174] crashed: opendirectoryd. Too many corpses being created.

    Then same word will continue……

    1. My solution above should work for this as well; an alternative even quicker would be to mount the problem Mac in target disk mode if you have another device and copy off the user folder, then format and reinstall and copy the folder back.

  2. Hi Robin
    I have a question with regards to point 4 in your list. I did all the points 1 to 3 and my iMac still does not reboot but still is stuck at 100% progress. Is it supposed to reboot without this issue? And how exactly do I unlock the disk from the login screen?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. It should; if it doesn’t then there may be additional problems that my instructions won’t solve. I’d recommend moving off your user home directory (/Users/) to another device either through recovery (mount the drive with disk utility and then open terminal to cp -rf your home folder to an external drive) or by booting the problem Mac in target disk mode. Then format and re-install MacOS, and move the user directory back post-install.

  3. Hello, I’d like to try your method to unblock a Mac with High Sierra but I have a few questions.
    1) What if there is no “/var/db/.AppleSetupDone”? If there are multiple disks with the OS, which one should have that file?
    2) What is the difference between your points 5 and 7?

    1. The idea is to convert one of these user accounts “back into” the old user. However, to make it even simpler you can move the home user directory to another device, re-install, and move the home directory back as well.

    1. Yes and yes; we tracked down the issue to a Jamf script that was setting some /etc/-space items to be owned by 501. Corrected that has prevented the issue from happening further for us.

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