Appendix B. Troubleshooting

Whether it’s a car engine or an operating system, anything with several thousand parts can develop the occasional technical hiccup. Mac OS X is far more resilient than its predecessors, but it’s still a complex system with the potential for occasional glitches.

Most freaky little glitches go away if you just try these two steps, one at a time:

  • Quit and restart the wayward program.

  • Log out and log back in again.

It’s the other problems that’ll drive you batty.

Minor Eccentric Behavior

All kinds of glitches may befall you, occasionally, in Mac OS X. 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 in 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—that is, the complex mesh of interconnected Unix permissions described in Chapter 12—have become muddled.

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

This is a really, really great trick to know.


Snow Leopard Spots: The Repair Permissions routine is a lot faster and more solid-feeling than before. For starters, ...

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