If Ever I Need Help it is Now - Finder's gone NUTS

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by chameeeleon, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #1
    I was working on exporting a video from Final Cut Express HD, and continually got a "Error" message. Suddenly my trash starts flashing full and then empty, over and over again and I realize that all of the icons on my desktop are also vanishing and then reappearing. Looking at the dock, I realize the Finder is not running (no arrow underneath it), then will attempt to run for a second, and then quit again. I tried relaunching it, no success. Then suddenly I couldn't click anywhere on the screen. The mouse would move, but it wouldn't click down onto anything - menus and buttons were all locked (and it wasn't the mouse, I immediately tried another). This (the mouse thing, not the Finder quitting/relaunching) has happened to me maybe 3 times since I've gotten my iMac in September, so I did what I'd done in the past - held down the power button and then turned the iMac back on after it shut down. I logged in fine, then when I got in - my dock had completely reset itself. It looks like how it would if I'd just installed Panther, Apple Support link and all, and even a "?" where iMovie should be because of the iMovie HD rename in iLife '05. My immediate thought was "Oh crap - I need to backup". Well I can't. The Finder is still doing it's launch, quit, launch, quit routine. I can't launch any apps that aren't in my dock because the Finder window isn't open long enough for me to click "Applications".
    And I've rebooted once more since this has happened, and I've reset the PRAM. Nothing. I can't repair permissions because the Finder isn't open enough long enough to launch Disk Utility. I'm officially out of my troubleshooting area of know-how. *Sigh* NOT a good day for my iMac.
    My precious files! Most of them are backed up, but stuff like iTunes hasn't been backed up for a month. I've learnt my lesson, iMac!!! Now go back to normal!
    Please help - all stuff appreciated! And I've put this on an Apple discussion, but usually I get faster responses here, so I thought I'd give it a shot here too. Please help!
     
  2. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
    boot from your Panther install disc or software restore disk

    from there you should be able to repair the disk and should be able to repair permissions

    not sure what the issue is to be honest, if you have another mac handy boot it up in Firewire disk mode to get your files off there first

    ill post back if i get anymore ideas


    sorry man! good luck!
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply. I actually managed to get into Gmail and email myself the Word docs I was concerned about (oddly, everything other than the Finder is working fine), so (iTunes, iPhoto and videos aside) I'm alright for files.
    Will booting off the Software Restore disk repair the drive without erasing it? Or will I have to erase it to repair it? Just want to know what I'm getting myself into.
    But thank you for the advice.
     
  4. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #4
    when you boot up from the disk you will be able to open Disk Utility from the Apple menu there, from there you can do disk first aid and repair your permissions

    however, if neither one of those work, i would suggest backing up your stuff and formating the drive to re-install the OS
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    you probably couldnt drag the finder.plist file out of the preferences folder could ya?

    If ya can....try, then reboot
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #6
    Can you use the Terminal? That will allow you to do just about anything you REALLY REALLY need to do.
     
  7. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #7
    didnt even think about that....

    if you can somehow launch that it may be your best bet
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #8
    I can't open the Terminal unfortunately because it isn't in the dock, and the darn Finder window won't stay open long enough for me to get to the Applications folder. Unless you can launch apps via Applescript, in which case could someone send me one to launch Terminal? The second problem being that once the Terminal is open, I would have no idea what to type, lol. As for deleting Finder prefs, well no I can't because again, the Finder window won't stay open. I guess now I'm going to try to reboot off the Mac OS X Install Disc.
    Thanks for all your replies, guys
     
  9. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #9
    Could this have something to do with scratch disk space for FCE and VM space for OS X? Once you get it up and running again, it may be worth investing in more HD capacity.

    In the meantime, deleting some files or somehow shifting/backing them up may be of some help to free up some space.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #10
    Scratch disk space - I doubt it, I've got the 250 GB harddrive, and still 139 GB left.
     
  11. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #11
    OK, no worries... just a thought.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #12
    Yeah, no problem - I appreciate all thoughts.
    I've got some questions about booting off the install CD though - when I put it in and held down C, it started an Installer, and asked if I wanted to install Mac OS X or quit. I got a little confused and quit - do I want to install the whole OS again? Or were you guys talking about something else?
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Dafke

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    #13
    In Applescript, type:

    tell application "Terminal"
    activate
    end tell

    In Terminal, type:

    sudo diskutil repairPermissions /

    enter your password
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #14
    Thanks a tonne, but now is there any shortcut to launch Applescript Studio (also not in the dock)?
    Or anywhere I could download the Applescript as a file to open? I think I'd be able to double click a file on the desktop during one of the Finder's looping quit cycles.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Dafke

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    #15
    If you download LaunchBar (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/2409) you can use that as a finder, and with command-T you can launch Terminal.
     
  16. Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #16
    Wouldn't it be easier to reboot into single user mode (is that holding down 'S' upon startup?) repair permissions, remove the finder.plist and reboot...?
     
  17. macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #17
    Yup, it would. Or use FW target disk mode.
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #18
    That is the best idea imho. It's Command(Apple) + S iirc, though.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #19
    Ok, I'm back from school now and ready to fix my problems!
    I first had the good sense to try using another account (my Mom's, which I hadn't thought of originally because she's hardly ever on this computer). It is working fine - her dock is how she left it and no quitting Finder. I can't trash the .plst file from there though - all my folders are locked. If I brought her account up to administrator status, could I do it then? And should I try repairing permissions from hers?
    If that doesn't work I'll try booting into single user mode.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #20
    You can change the permissions of your folder so you can access it by clicking Command i. But I wouldn't bother, single user mode, trashing the finder plist and permissions repair seems like the easiest way. I'd go for that.
    I had a huge issue with my desktop yesterday that was resolved easily by trashing the desktop.plist
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #21
    Ok, I'm all for this single-user thing, but when I booted holding cmd-s, I got a command line interface. I had no idea what I was doing, and so just typed "reboot". What would I type to trash Finder prefs?
     
  22. Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #22
    You Change Directory with the cd-command. To get to your preferences:
    Code:
    cd /Users/<your name>/Library/Preferences
    (Tip: after you type /U you can hit TAB (not Enter/Return) and it will autocomplete (or show you everything starting with U in / then you can tyoe the next letter and TAB..., after that you can type the first letter in your username and hit TAB again, then type L and hit TAB, etc... when everything is set, then hit enter/return...)

    To LiSt everything in that directory/folder:
    Code:
    ls
    ...which probably shows to much... so to limit to the finder.plist, type:
    Code:
    ls *finder*
    When you're sure you're in the right directory and the file you want to ReMove is there, type
    Code:
    rm com.apple.finder.plist
    ...and it's gone forever... if thats scary, rename it with
    Code:
    mv com.apple.finder.plist delete-me
    ...and the file changes name to "delete-me"...

    (of course, the easiest way is just to type
    Code:
    rm /Users/<your name>/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist
    ...but I felt like making a small intro to working the commandline... ;))

    WARNING: Be very careful when you use the rm-command! An example, if you type "rm /Users/<your name>/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist" the right file will be deleted, but if you type "rm / Users/<your name>/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist", notice the gap between the first / and Users, then it will try to delete everything in your root folder, and that's not good...
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #23
    YOU. ARE. MY. HERO.
    I don't want to jinx anything, but I renamed the file to "delete-me" like you said (after the warning, I didn't want to risk deleting it), and when I rebooted so far everything's been going fine. I'm immediately going to backup iTunes and my videos - thanks sooooo much though, to everyone. I remember when I would go on Microsoft support forms and everyone would be so snarky, saying it was my fault for something or other, and I'd ultimately end up having to just reformat my hard drive and start fresh (happened twice - I blame mostly Pinnacle Studio). But this... I'm thrilled. My only problem now is getting my dock back to normal, lol. And whatever went wrong, well I'm doing a fresh install of Tiger, so I hope it never happens again. If it does though, I'll know what to do (I actually learned a lot about the command line - thanks!).
    Again though - THANK YOU MAC RUMORS (and specifically Mitthrawnuruondo).
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Bay of Fundy
    #24
    the exact, EXACT, same thing happened to me a few weeks ago on my powerbook, check out the thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=114572 . i don't know what caused it, but again, was while working with video. anyway, hope your problem gets solved! :)
     
  25. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #25
    sorry i couldnt be of more help, and im glad to hear that it was just messed up prefs and that everything is working, im actually planning on backing up too because i dont want to hold out to luck either
     

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