Back Door Restore

Humans make mistakes. Our clients’ administrators some times do very bad things without malicious intent. The “Deny Access” button is too close to the “Delete” one. About 160 student accounts were deleted.

The hypothesis came to me that sections keep data when a student is removed. Maybe it keeps the data when a student’s account is deleted. If I can trick the system into thinking the same student came back, then maybe it will relink the data. Everyone is happy.

To test this hypothesis, I…

  • Exported a copy of the grade book for my test student account in a test CE/Vista 8.0.6 system. Should the test go bad, then I could at least restore the grades.
  • Copied the account’s profile to a text file for the user name, sourcedid.source, and sourcedid.id.
  • Created a new account, gave it  the same user name, sourcedid.source, and sourcedid.id (and first, last, password).
  • Enrolled the account into the original class as a student.

The grades were missing. Clearly my hypothesis was wrong. Data is not kept around for deleted students like it for unenrolled students. Which sucks.

In my retest, I…

  • Unrolled the same account. The grade book showed the student’s data in red, meaning the account was unenrolled but the data still there.
  • Deleted the same account. The grade book still showed the student’s data in red.
  • Created a new account with a 2 in the user name and added it to the section. The grade book showed the new account not the one I deleted.

I hope this means I still saw the data post-delete because of the cache services. Changing the enrollment changed what was stored in the cache so the old account disappeared at that point. A couple more tries confirms the behavior of the student appearing in the grade book post-delete.

Still disconcerting deleted users appear in the grade book.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

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