Minor Eccentric Behavior

Mac OS X itself is generally about as unstable as Mount Everest. It’s the programs that most often cause you grief.

All kinds of glitches may befall you. Your desktop picture doesn’t change when you change it in System Preferences. A menulet doesn’t open when you click it. A program won’t open—it just bounces on the Dock a couple of times and then stops.

When a single program is acting up like this, but quitting and restarting it does no good, try the following steps, in the following sequence.

First Resort: Repair Permissions

An amazing number of mysterious glitches arise because the permissions of either that item or something in your System folder have become muddled—that is, the complex mesh of interconnected Unix permissions described in Section 16.1.1.

When something just doesn’t seem to be working right, therefore, open your Applications Utilities folder and open Disk Utility. Proceed as shown in Figure B-1.


Most Mac mavens, in fact, believe in running this Repair Permissions routine after running any kind of installer, just to nip nascent problems in the bud. That includes both installers of new programs and of Apple’s own Mac OS X updates.

Second Resort: Look for an Update

If a program starts acting up immediately after you’ve installed or upgraded to Mac OS X 10.3, chances are good that it has some minor incompatibility. Chances are also good that you’ll find an updated version on the company’s Web site.

Third Resort: Toss the Prefs File

Here we are ...

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