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How to Deal with Recurring Problems on Your Mac

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/25/2009

If your Mac crashes persist, your programs start misbehaving in abnormal ways, it is time to move on to these set of possible fixes.

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    Step 1: Restart Your Mac

    Restart your Mac from the Apple menu. It is surprising how often simply a restart resolves a problem. If the problem is so big that you can not get Restart to function, press and hold Mac’s power button and wait for the machine to shut off. If this doesn’t help, unplug the power cable.

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    Step 2: Check For Bugs And Conflicts

    Make sure that the installed applications don’t have any sort of conflict with your version of OS X. For example, you have updated to Leopard, you might also need to update the program. You may check the company’s website for updates. You may also check the support section of the site to see if there is any help given to your problem.

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    Step 3: Log In As Another User

    You have installed new software or you have tweaked preferences – it probably is giving you a problem. You can determine the problem by logging into your Mac as a different user. If no other account exists on your Mac, you can create one now.

    If logging in as a different user resolves the problem, it means that the problem is not with the OS X rather the cause for the problem is a particular file in the user folder. It means that the problem can easily be fixed without doing something too much like reinstalling OS X or removing everything from the disk.

    The cause for this problem is most probably a conflicting or corrupted file in the Library folder inside your user folder – it could be a font, preferences file, a plug-in or a cache file.

    There are many utilities available for repairing corrupted files. For instance Leopard Cache Cleaner can be used to remove corrupt cache file, you can use Font Book’s Validate Font command to repair corrupt fonts. Find out corrupt .plist files with Preferential treatment software

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    Step 4: Use Disk Utility

    You can use Mac OS X’s Disk Utility to check and repair any program that was installed as one of the OS X’s components. Disk Utility can be found a Applications/Utilities folder. In the Disk Utility, select the startup volume and then click the First Aid Tab and then click on the Repair Disk Permissions button.

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    Step 5: Uninstall and Reinstall the Program

    Uninstalling and reinstalling the program is an easy and simple way of getting rid of a problem. You can uninstall a program from the Application folder by moving the program’s folder to the Trash. Many programs can also be uninstalled by running the program’s installer and selecting the install option.

    One uninstalled, now re-install the program with the installer utility that came with it and hopefully the problem will be gone.

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    Step 6: Check Console Logs

    To check the log files, launch the Console Utility from the Application -> Utilities folder. If logs do not show in the left, click on the Show Log List button on the toolbar. There, you will find a file named .crash.log for every program crashed program on your Mac.

    In the log file, you might find a hint to the cause of the crash. It could be a reference to a plug-in that has caused the conflict. Also look at a section having a word “Crashed” (for example “Thread 1 Crached”). All the output in the log file might also provide a hint as to the main cause of the crash.

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    Step 7: Reinstall OS X

    If all your effort hasn’t brought a positive result so far, it might be the time to take out your OS X Installation disc and reinstall the entire operating system.