Background elements of some app windows disappeared!

Okay, I give up.  I'm completely stumped on this one.  If you know the answer, great.  If not, PLEASE ask your trusted friends and coworkers.

The problem is that some parts of some windows of some applications are missing.  As an example, in one app, the background of modal popups is gone leaving just the window title bar and the text & graphic of the popup.  I say that this element is gone, rather than transparent, as a click on what MUST be part of the window's missing element passes straight through to the app underneath.  

I have included a screen grab of an example.  The gray horizontal line below the Properties element is actually the bottom edge of the window.  The text and 3 squares above the Properties element should be displayed in front of a light gray background, not the green of the bamboo desktop image.  Clicking on a visible element of the foreground app acts normally, but clicking between the words "HFS/HFS+" and the Properties element passes through to the desktop.  It exhibits this behavior even though the location clicked MUST be part of the application window.

If I had control over which elements behave this way, I would be happy as a clam.  This behavior is the Holy Grail for some GUI's, but to my knowledge has never been possible on Mac's without specifically programming multiple windows that move as a group.  That isn't what is happening here.  These are standard parts of Cocoa windows and views, but they aren't being served by the window manager.

Only my account is having this problem.  The behavior is consistent from launch to launch in effected apps, and from boot to boot as to which apps will have a problem.

Platform is a Late 2010 MacBook Air.  OS X 10.6.7, 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Ram and 250 GB SSD.  The OS and all software and drivers are up to date as of the post time of this question.

I've got 30+ years of experience slingin' code and getting my tie caught in cooling fans, but this one has me completely stumped.  I would offer 10,000 points if it were possible.


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I would download the 10.6.7 combo update, which, if you don't know, reinstalls all the updates that have come out since the original 10.6. Many times, that fixes things, and saves time.
Beyond that, I'd take a look in the Console to see if there are any obvious video driver errors. It might give you a clue as to what .plist file you could delete to possibly fix it.
Another option is the free utility Applejack, which can find damaged preferences.
Truly an odd situation...

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caltainAuthor Commented:

Excellent ideas!  I will try them and post back the results.  

And yes, it's truly an odd situation.  No matter how long an object or software has been around, when I get within 10' it becomes a beta version.  I've always had the gift of breaking even the most stable software in new and creative ways…  Sure, I learn a lot, but after a while it begins to suck.

Thanks for the great ideas.  I knew that someone would think of some things I had not.

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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caltainAuthor Commented:
Objection:  None of things that schaps recommended solved the problem. The problem went away when I upgraded to OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), but the problem never actually got fixed, it hasn't happened in 10.8.

There is no point in keeping the question open, but I don't think it is appropriate to accept a solution that neither fixed the problem, nor aided in doing so.  

I don't think it is appropriate to accept a solution that neither fixed the problem, nor aided in doing so.

And I don't think it's appropriate to come back almost two years later after abandoning the question and even bring it up. You yourself said they were "excellent ideas," and only you could have posted back the results, as you promised to, but you didn't. A month later you were given notice that if you did nothing more, the question would be closed four days later and still, you did not respond. So two years later? Just go on with your life, dude.
caltainAuthor Commented:
In point of fact, I was dealing with some rather extreme health issues for the vast majority of the intervening time.  I did not actually realize that the post was from 2011.  It came up on my profile page and I neglected to look at the date.  

As for the content of my post, I stand by every word.  Force closing an abandoned question is a fact of life on EE.  Force accepting an answer is not appropriate unless there is clear evidence that the selected answer actually solved the problem.  My statement that the answerer had provided some "excellent ideas" was clearly qualified, and in no way even hinted that they were, or would eventually be all or part of a successful answer to my question.  Force accepting an answer that does not answer the question only serves to water down and obscure the actual solutions which may be on EE and frustrates others that are experiencing the problem on their own machine.  

I always welcome helpful commentary, and even lively debate among Experts about which solution is best, but your post was inappropriate, and, quite frankly, rude.  I appreciate your assistance then, now, and in the future, but I will thank you to refrain from commentary and suggestions that do not relate to the question asked.

If abandoned questions are not force accepted, then no points are awarded. If no points are awarded, then the incentive for others to spend the time reading, researching, and answering questions goes away; some people would figure out that they can ask for help, get potential solutions to their questions, but then never confirm the outcome, knowing that the question would eventually get force closed, no points awarded. It would only have to happen once or twice before Experts would starting feeling less motivated to spend any time, especially on the tough questions.

So while force accepting is not a perfect solution, it keeps the EE ecosystem functioning.
caltainAuthor Commented:
I would wager that you yourself do not answer questions simply to accumulate points for the effort.  The basic difference between our points (no pun intended) of view, is that you feel that points are a reward for effort, whereas I feel that they are a reward for success, not merely effort.  

The system is clearly intended to work as I hold.  A simple case in point (again, no pun intended.) is the question that receives answers from a dozen experts.  Presumably, each has offered an answer which might be correct, and each has expended effort, but the incorrect answers do not net the answerers effort points for having tried.  Experts answer because we like to help others, not to garner fortune or fame.  The whole purpose of awarding points is to promote ACCURATE solutions, not just answers.  EE's community of Experts are generously self-motivated.  The points are a measure of effectiveness, not effort.  

Another example:  If I ask a question and get answers from you and strung, I would certainly give his/her opinion greater weight, as strung has provided the correct answer to questions more than 10 times your success rate.  Your answer is not detracted from in any way, but in this Topic, we both bow to the master.  Points should be an objective indicator that the answer issues from a demonstrated authority on the subject matter, not that the answerer has been more prolific in offering opinions.

Again, I welcome the debate, but your answer has failed to move my from my position.  I can only hope that my position has been made more clear, if not more persuasive.

The basic difference between our points (no pun intended) of view, is that you feel that points are a reward for effort, whereas I feel that they are a reward for success, not merely effort.

In fact, I do not "feel" that way, and I was not referring to the global concept of points in EE. I specified only the situation where a question has been abandoned, thus success cannot be ascertained, and the only criteria on which points can be assigned is effort.

And, to be honest, my job has been 60+ hrs a week for the past 5 years, so there have been many months where fulfilling a quota of points quickly by the last day of the month to maintain my status was a primary motivator. I have enjoyed a few of the months where I could spend more time helping for the sake of being helpful, but job and family obligations make that a rarity. I have yet to see any way to garner fame or fortune in this system.

Regardless of one's primary motivation for helping others here, if abandoning questions as a method to avoid having to give up points became widespread, it would undermine the healthy functioning of this system. So I think it's a good policy to award points for forced closures to keep those at bay who would take advantage of the system. The moderators have a thankless task having to make those decisions.

I do agree with your other comments, but I was referring only to the situation against which you lodged your objection.
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