Resolved System preferences freeze and beachball

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by JonnyBlaze, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. JonnyBlaze macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
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    UK
    #1
    hi,

    since a couple of days ago i have noticed that system preferences crashes every time i try to open it. I can't pin down any change to the system which might be the cause. Whichever way I try to get there, it opens up the network preferences page, allows me to click a button before freezing with a beachball and staying unresponsive. I have to force quit to close it.

    any ideas as to what's wrong and how I can fix it?

    thanks

    j
     
  2. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    1. On the top menu click Go -> Go to Folder…
    2. Type in ~/Library/Preferences and press Enter.
    3. Look for a file called com.apple.desktop.plist and move it to the Trash.
    4. Logout.
    5. Log back in (you will need to reset your Desktop wallpaper again)
     
  3. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    UK
    #3
    Thanks for the suggestion however it didn't work. After trying the above I also tried moving the plist files named com.apple.preferencesxxxxxxxxx.plist to the Trash and logging out/in and restarting, however nothing changed then either. I've now put all the plists back, but I'm still stuck on this.
     
  4. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    #4
    Do you have any 3rd party preference panes added to System Preferences?
     
  5. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    No not that I'm aware of. While I can't get to the main system preferences page to check, when I 'right click' the dock icon I get this list....
     

    Attached Files:

  6. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Any other thoughts at all, I'm lost. All I can think of is hope the next OS X update sorts things for me.
     
  7. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #7
    I would do a fresh backup of my system to an external drive, run First Aid using Disk Utility, and then download/install the full El Capitan installer. It can be done over the current installation on the internal drive without losing data, but the backup is just in case.
     
  8. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    so having just updated to 10.11.4 I'm really frustrated to have the same issue with system preferences. loosing my patience with this now.
     
  9. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    #9
    Did you ever do the "Reinstall from OS Recovery"?
     
  10. JonnyBlaze, Mar 22, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016

    JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    I just tried that now, but after the recovery it's still not working. I had another go at removing the plist entry from above too, but all still no go....

    Edit....Have scheduled an apple service call for later this week so will see what they have to say.
     
  11. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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  12. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    No I don't think so. There were no choices for that during the process, and at the end of it I was presented with all my preferences and files intact as before.
     
  13. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    #13
    What I'm saying is that a general troubleshooting step to test odd system behavior is to create a new User Account and see if the problem exists when logged into that new User Account. If it works in the new User Account there's a high possibility that the original User Account is corrupted in some way.
     
  14. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    oh sorry, i misunderstood what you meant - clearly! i will try that out and see what happens.

    edit - so when i log into the guest account i can open system preferences just fine, no problems at all. does that help with next steps for a fix?
     
  15. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Really helpful call with apple support. it was plist's causing the problem, but not the one(s) mentioned above.

    In system library... /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

    deleted the following:
    com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
    NetworkInterfaces.plist
    preferences.plist

    then rebooted the computer and all was OK again.

    hope this might help someone else.
     
  16. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

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    #16
    Thanks for sharing the solution. :)

    BTE, the files are not in System/Library but the root Library.

    /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration
     
  17. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    Honolulu HI
    #17
    On my 2014 Mini with a HDD, I have a lag after I click on System Preferences before the window shows up (it does not happen on my other El Capitan computers which have a SSD nor on 2009 Mini with a HDD and Snow Leopard). It's not as bad as what the OP was experiencing, but I figured I'd try the steps above. It didn't help with my lag but what happened was: 1) If you have network preferences that are not default, you will need to reset them. 2) It did not reconnect to my preferred network. 3) I had a custom computer name that had to be reset. I saved the previous plist files but it wasn't that difficult to redo what I had before. Hopefully the support personnel advised the OP to save a backup of these files and that these things would need to be reset.
     
  18. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    sorry you had additional trouble. I didn't have anything which you described happen. I put the files in trash without emptying it, so that they wouldn't be read but I could restore them if needed. Once i verified that all was well I did empty the trash. This was as advised by support.
     
  19. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    No need to be sorry - you were sharing and following the advice given by Apple Support. I was curious if this would work for my case and also curious about if my custom settings would somehow regenerate themselves (it didn't). We all learn by trying this stuff out and letting people know what happens.
     
  20. JonnyBlaze thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    True, and thanks for posting your experience, again, it may help someone else somewhere down the line.
     

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