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John Dudley

Web Designer, iPhone Developer, Geek

OSX Preference Pane quits unexpectedly

So I upgraded to OSX 10.6.7 last night and all seemed to go well, however after the restart only one monitor seemed to be working. I run dual monitors on my Mac and the display was only showing on one of them.

So I click the preferences pane icon in the dock to get at the display preferences but get prompted with a “Preference Pane has quit unexpectedly”.

So a quick hunt around the Internet and the primary suggestion is that i have a corrupt com.apple.systempreferences.plist file. (This is located in ~/Library/Preferences)
The plist is promptly moved to the desktop and System Preferences is started again, then crashes again.

Another internet hunt, it’s my user cache (Located in ~/Library/Caches). Deleted all the files in the cache and restarted the Mac. Still broken.

OK Apple to the rescue. On the phone to AppleCare, we run through a series of things.

  • Delete the user preferences plist file. – Done.
  • Delete the user Cache. – Done.
  • Delete the system cache. (Located in /Library/Caches) Empty the trash and reboot. – Still not working.
  • Safe Boot the system. (Hold down shift when you power on the Mac). Still not working.
  • Possible third part software issue. Remove all files from /Library/StartupItems. Still not working.
  • Possible 10.6.7 bug, reinstall your OS.  You have a backup don’t you. Yeh right, not going to happen.

Being the stubborn person I am I decided to have a poke around the OS. Checked the files in the user preferences folder. All seem OK.

Then I spot the PreferencePanes folder, hmm it’s empty. OK then, what about the system PreferencePanes folder. This is where your third party software puts it’s settings code so the get displayed at the bottom of the preferences pane.

Move all the files in the PreferencesPanes folder to the desktop. Click on System Preferences and Viola!

OK so it’s a third party software issue. Next was just a simple case of dropping in each third party prefernce pane to find the culprit.

In the end it turned out to be my 3D Mouse from 3DConnexion.

I will download a new driver later today to see if it fixes the issue.

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