Apps start, but windows not visible in 10.3.5

Posted on 2004-09-23
Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I have a G5 1.8DP running 10.3.5 and have two user accounts. With one, I am able to login and everything works as expected. On the other one I recently installed Retrospect 6.0 along with some "Microsoft Auto Update" for Office 2004.

After the 8 hour backup to DVD,
1) I tried starting entourage(splash screen comes up blank and stays that way after the dock icon stops bouncing), no main window appears
2) Safari starts, but no menun bar or windows show up
3) System Preferences bounces in the dock, but no window
4) I can use Command-Tab to shuffle through the list of open programs, but when you select one, nothing happens.
5) Konfabulator doesn't show any widgets on the screen at startup.

I was thinking of opening system preferences to turn off any login items, but since it won't show up, I'm stuck.

I even restarted into Techtool Edrive and ran a full disk check and repaired permissions, and it didn't help.

Remember, this weird stuff is only happening on one user account, not both.

Also, Internet Explorer starts fine and shows up on the screen.
Question by:bigbangtech
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Expert Comment

ID: 12135507
HI bigbangtech,
      This is a pretty common problem on 10.3.5.    I would do one of the following two in this order first.   If neither of these work go to the third.   If that does not work please let me know.

1)  Clear system & user caches
Use a third party tool like Cocktail or Jaguar/Panther Cache Cleaner to deep clean all caches. Reboot. See if this cures the problem.

2)  There were numerous people who experienced this after an upgrade to 10.3.5 and the problem involved a font in the Classics system Folder.  The solution here was to use Font Book to resolve all font conflicts, or simply disabling all Classic folder fonts, resolved this problem.   The specific font was a version of Times New Roman, I believe.

3)  At this point it is probably a corrupted user account and most likely a preferences file under ~/Library/Preferences/   If you can pinpoint that one bad file, you're done. If you have no idea what's going on you can try the tedious process of creating a new account, and bringing over the files one by one until you find the one that was the problem.

Steven Stuart

Accepted Solution

sgstuart earned 500 total points
ID: 12135815
Hi bigbangtech,
     In addition, before doing the above number 3, make it number 4.   and make this the number 3.

3)  Run Disk Utility with it's Repair Disk Permissions function.

Steven Stuart

Expert Comment

by:Andrew Duffy
ID: 12168305
I had exactly this problem a little while back on two separate computers.

Firstly create a new user profile (log on as the other working profile, perhaps) and see if that works okay. If it does, this problem therefore shouldn't have anything to do with the software you installed (I doubt it is anyway).

Like sgstuart says, it's more likely a corrupt prefs file. The specific file I had a problem with was the one called, which I discovered after removing the entire contents of the prefs folder (at which point the profile worked as normal again after relaunching the Finder) and copying each one back in one by one until I recreated the problem.

So as a start point, move the prefs file mentioned above to the desktop (the Finder will recreate a fresh one) and see if things get back to normal (you'll have to relaunch the Finder). If this particular file doesn't seem to be responsible for it, it's a case of doing trial an error until you find the guilty party. You just have to be logical about it really - yes it's laborious but when you finally find the solution it'll be very satisfying.

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