Each account has many preference files, which are stored in
~/Library/Preferences. Many, though by no means all, of these files have names ending with
Sometimes these files can become corrupted—this can occur if an application crashes, if you have a kernel panic, or if a program writes the wrong data in a file. Corrupted preference files can cause crashes and freezes, and, if these files affect the system, as opposed to individual applications, they can lead to widespread problems.
If you think you have a problem with a user account’s preference files, try Steps 1–3 in “Troubleshoot Startup and Login Items,” previously, to find out for sure. To troubleshoot a problem with user preferences, follow these ...