Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Damaged Preference Files - How To
David Anders,The Computer Guy, a freelance systems engineer in Seattle, WA.
Resolves computer problems, assists with production issues, designs and installs networks.

The Basics

. Most applications and system components have a Preference File stored in System Folder: Preferences. This is the file that contains information on the custom settings available in the program or Control Panel.

. Because they are written to, or changed more often, the Preference Files have a higher incidence of corruption than most files. The damage, although crash-generating, can be subtle and difficult to diagnose.

The Rules

. Almost all Preference Files will be recreated to the original default. This means that the entire Preferences Folder can be removed from the System Folder to diagnose a possible problem. The Preferences Folder will be recreated and most System components and programs will recreate the preferences as needed.

. Some older programs will not startup without a Preference File that is created at installation time.

Symptoms

. Corrupt System Preference Files can cause random or repeatable errors, bombs or freezes.

. Corrupt Application Preference Files can cause random OR repeatable errors, bombs or freezes within the affected application or system-wide.

Common Problem Preferences

. Finder preferences, Apple Menu Options preferences, LaserWriter 8 prefs, Appleshare Prep, File Sharing Folder, Users and Groups, and PC Exchange prefs.

Finding the Damaged File

. Disinfectant v3.71 (ftp://ftp.acns.nwu.edu/pub/disinfectant/ &endash; or online services) (free) is a virus protection utility that might find damaged Preference Files. NOTE: Disinfectant is no longer being updated.

. Other virus utilities may find the damaged file.

  • . Disk First Aid v8.2 and later can sometimes repair problems that affect files.
  • . Norton Disk Doctor v4.1 (www.symantec.com) ($79.95) occasionally will find damaged Preference Files.
  • . Conflict Catcher v8.03 (Casady & Greene) ($49.95) has a routine to test System Components and preferences.
  • . TechTool v1.18 (www.micromat.com) (free) checks System Components, but not preference files.
  • . TechTool Pro v2.11 (www.micromat.com) ($149.95) may be able to find damage.
  • . MacMedic and Help! from Total Recall (www.recallusa.com) ($149.95) can find damaged files.

When it's not a damaged Preference File

  • . Allocate more memory to the problem application.
  • . Allocate more memory to your System, using Conflict Catcher or one of the freeware/shareware utilities.
  • . Look for an extensions conflict.
  • . Replace the System File with a clean copy. NOTE: if any of the applications, utilities or hardware drivers you have installed (since the last clean system install ) made changes or additions to the System File, you will need to reinstall them.
  • . Replace the Finder with a clean copy. Delete the Finder Preferences to be safe.

Additional NOTES

. Having a stuffed (using Stuffit Deluxe) copy of your System Folder, or just specific components like the . Preferences Folder on your harddrive, makes the task of replacement easy. Just unstuff the System Folder or the Preferences Folder copy, move the current version into a different folder and place the unstuffed copies into the System Folder. Restart the computer.

. If you change the defaults of a program, once you get the preferences set, make a backup copy of that preference file. Replacing a damaged file will not require setting up the program to your liking over again.

Home Page

Sitemap

Seattle Services

Mac Troubleshooting Info

Mac Information  

Mac Processes

Database Publishing

Traffic Management

Classes

Miscellaneous

Top of Page

The Computer Guy - Seattle WA

 | Home | SiteMap | MacInfo | MacInfo2 | Processes | DataBasePub | EstJobs | Classes | Misc |
| StartupKeys | Prefs | SysFiles | Tools | Files | Fonts | Backup | Basics | SaveAs | Prepare | Memory | Power |
The Computer Guy - Seattle WA