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Plist's Safe to Delete

#1 User is offline   Rcovell 

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:43 PM

I called Apple today because I finally got fed up with my periodic spinning colored pinwheel. Under my AppleCare warranty, they walked me through some steps to get rid of the pinwheel. (Basically, we used the Apple Disc Utility to check the HD and it repaired two volumes. Later, I also ran the Apple Hardware Test, with no problems found.)
The CSR also had me go to Home>library>caches and delete a .plist file.
On my own, I was looking at Safari and noticed some .plist files there, too. They are for downloads, history and bookmarks. Is it OK to delete these once in a while? Are these preferences that will be rebuilt upon next use? If not, what are they? How do I know what can be deleted?
Any other tips on managing these types of things to keep things from bogging down?
Thanks, Bob.
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#2 User is offline   Typhoon14 

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:51 PM

In general, you shouldn't delete preference files unless you have a specific problem you suspect the file of causing. Deleting those plists will delete your download history, browser history, and bookmarks permanently. Preference files may in some circumstances become corrupted, but typically require no maintenance.
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#3 User is offline   Randy_B_Singer 

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 08:26 PM

In reply to:

I called Apple today because I finally got fed up with my periodic spinning colored pinwheel.

There are a number of things that can cause the spinning rainbow cursor of death (SRCOD).
If you have updated to Tiger recently, it may be caused by Spotlight indexing your hard drive. You should leave your Mac on overnight and let it complete the index.
Printer drivers from Hewlett-Packard and from Lexmark have been known to cause the SRCOD, even when you aren't using your printer. Norton products have been implicated as causing this problem as well. (All have in common that they add kernel extensions to OS X, which is a no-no.)
See:
http://www.macattorn...m/tutorial.html
Item #3
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#4 User is offline   schokid02 

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:21 AM

You can feel free to delete plist files anytime you want. Just be wary of what you are deleting. plist files simply store your preferences. If you delete a plist file, the next time you start up that application then it creates a new, default plist file. Deleting a plist can fix problems when an application seems to be acting funny, but if an app is running fine then there is no need to delete plist files. Deleting plist files means you will lose all your saved settings for that app, and in the case of Safari, deleting the Bookmarks.plist file will erase all your bookmarks. So just be aware of what you are deleting because some of those settings you probably won't want to spend the time to redo.
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#5 User is offline   JackMac 

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:03 AM

If you have a suspicion about a stange behavior of an application a relatively safe test is to drag the .plist file or files (many apps have more than one)to the trash and without emptying the trash restart. If the problem goes away and nothing critical is disabled in the application feel free to delete otherwise you can simply put the .plist file(s) back and replace those that were created on restart. In the case of multiple .plist files it is better to drag them to the trash one at a time.
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#6 User is offline   maflynn 

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 10:39 AM

In reply to:

spinning rainbow cursor of death (SRCOD)


I prefer the Spinning Beachball Of Death (SBOD) /forums/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
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#7 User is offline   jdb8167 

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 02:21 PM

A slightly techy way of trying to figure out what is causing problems is to use the Activity Monitor found in your Applications/Utilities folder. Go to the Finder, Go Menu->Utilities U. Launch the Activity Monitor. The Activity monitor window should be open but if not you can go to the Window Menu->Activity Monitor 1.
From the drop down that has the word Show under it, choose Active Processes. In the Column labeled %CPU you will see what program or process is taking up your CPU. If nothing is using more than a few percent at the moment, you can leave the window on the screen and when you get a spinning pizza of death, click on the Activity Monitor window or on the icon in the dock to see if something is using up a lot of your CPU(s).
I also leave the Activity Monitor on all the time and use the Dock Icon to Show CPU History. If you see a lot of red, blue or green in the dock, something is using up your CPU at that moment. You can turn on Show CPU History in the Activity Monitor application, View Menu->Dock Icon->Show CPU History.
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#8 User is offline   Rcovell 

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 08:36 PM

Thanks all, for the replys. I haven't upgraded to Tiger (and don't plan to) from 10.3.9. I've had this iMac for about a year and a half. I've had this pinwheel problem occasionally, before. I've tried repairing permissions etc. to no real avail. My pinwheel is accompanied by a repeating series of 4 soft clicks coming from the base. Former inquiries about my problem resulted in concerns about my HD, but, hardware tests don't indicate a problem and the SMART status is OK.
Also, the pinwheel doesn't seem specific to any application or procedure. It can be anything, connected to the net or not. When I've tried to use Activity Monitor, it takes forever to come up and hasn't yet shown anything useful when it does. It just got too frustrating two days ago and I vowed to come home early from work to have some time to call Apple. So far, so good.
Thanks for the info on .plists. I'll be careful when/if I delete any of them. I'm just trying to clean out unnecessary info once in a while, things like IN and OUT boxes on Mail, history on Safari, etc. to not bog down my system. I do run Macaroni and that helps.
Regards, Bob. iMac 17" FP 1.25 10.3.9
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#9 User is offline   Typhoon14 

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:07 PM

Quick note: The included Hardware test will not detech bad drives, and SMART status can only detect certain types of drive trouble (in fact, I have yet to see the SMART diagnostics predict a failure on any drives I've seen fail). Not saying those clicks mean anything is wrong with your drive, just something to note for future reference.
About how long do you get the spinning wheel when it occurs? If it's around 5 seconds, it could just be your internal drive spinning up again. Does it often happen after the computer has been sitting mostly idle?
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#10 User is offline   Rcovell 

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:44 PM

I understand that the pinwheel can indicate the CPU is 'thinking' and might spin for a moment. But, mine was doing it for minutes at a time. A selected process might proceed in fits and starts, but, no further. As I mentioned, it didn't seem to discriminate against any application or file, any of them could be affected. The last time, the problem seemed to occur after I had actually shut down instead of my usual 'sleep'.
So, far, I've hooked my USB hub back up and things are still great. I'll hook up my Epson next and hope for more good luck. No clicks and no pinwheel. Thanks Apple tech support!
Bob.
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#11 User is offline   schokid02 

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 04:08 AM

How much RAM do you have installed? You could consider upping it if it's too low (<512). That might fix the problem.
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#12 User is offline   brettcamp 

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 08:43 PM

My wife's titanium Powerbook started pinwheeling recently so I downloaded MainMenu and ran about a half dozen repairs, including deleting corrupt preferences, updating prebindings (whatever that means), repairing permissions, deleting caches, etc etc. Seemed to help. If you do this, then would you need to manually delete plists? Seems like it'd be unnecessary. anyway, you might give MainMenu a try.
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#13 User is offline   tango101 

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 07:11 AM

I have had my emac 7 days and three days ago I upgraded from 10.4 to 10.4.2 and the beachball began to spin. I read the various suggestions on this forum and I decided to increase the ram from 256 to 768.
Wallah...beachball gone.
tango101
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