Here are some basic troubleshooting tips which should help in a few common situations. If you would like to see something added, or just want to comment on this page please email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to us.
Dialog box says, "File X cannot be opened because the application that created it cannot be found."
When booting I get a Sad Mac code 0000000F
When booting I get an error dialog unless I hold down the SHIFT key to disable extensions.
My clock keeps resetting itself whenever I turn my computer on.
How do I do a clean reinstall of my System Software.
Problem: Dialog box says, "File X cannot be opened because the application that created it cannot be found."
Solution: Try rebuilding the desktop by restarting and holding down the COMMAND and OPTION keys. When the Finder loads it will ask you if you want to rebuild the desktop on the drive and you simply click OK. If you have more than one volume you should rebuild the desktop on all volumes to insure the problem goes away.
Reason for problem: The invisible Desktop file(s) maintain a list of applications and what types of files they can open. This list can become damaged and the only way to fix it is by rebuilding the desktop which recreates the list from scratch.
Problem: When booting from the hard drive I get a Sad Mac code 0000000F and 0000xxxx, but if I start from the System CD or a Disk Tools Disk my machine boots fine and I can get into my programs and files.
Solution: You need to reinstall your system software, throw out the System file in the System folder and run the installer.
Reason for problem: The System file has become corrupt. Since the System file has to load before any dialog boxes can appear the only way your Mac can tell you there is a problem is to use the Sad Mac code. If an extension or the Finder were bad you would get a dialog box, but a corrupt System usually cannot load enough to show the dialog.
Problem: When booting from the hard drive I get an error dialog unless I hold down the SHIFT key to disable extensions.
Solution: If you can see the icons listed at the bottom of the screen you can guess which Control Panel or Extension is causing the problem since they load in alphabetical order. However, sometimes this doesn't work and you need to play the old 20 questions game. I usually suggest taking the Control Panel folder and Extension folder out of the System folder entirely and rebooting. If the problem goes away I then put one folder back and reboot to see if the problem occurs. Once I know which folder has the problem INIT I can then start pulling out half the files, rebooting then trying it again until the problem INIT is found. This is a tedious process, so try looking closely at the icons before spending too much time pulling files and rebooting...
Reason for problem: Sometimes INITs become damaged, normally through system bombs, and they need to be isolated and replaced once that happens. The only tough part is identifying which INIT is the problem.
Problem: My clock keeps resetting itself whenever I turn my computer on.
Solution: You probably need to have your battery replaced. In a Mac+ or earlier this is simply hidden behind a door above your power switch. Every newer Mac needs to be opened up since the battery is on the logic board, and some batteries are easier to get access to than others.
Reason for problem: If the date and time are always resetting themselves the battery is dead. Alkaline batteries tend to last 1 to 3 years, while Lithium batteries should last 3 to 5 years. However, some batteries fail earlier than that so don't assume a 2 year old lithium battery can't be dead yet.
Problem: My software manufacturer says to do a clean reinstall of my System software to figure out where the problem is. How do I do this?
Solution: I find the easiest way to create a clean System install is to do the following:
After the clean install you can drag items from your old System Folder into the new one as needed. But remember, something in the old System Folder was causing the problem that required this procedure so add items slowly and methodically to track the problem. Please note that this works with any version of the System Software, not just the latest versions.
- Drag the Finder from the System Folder into the Trash
- Rename the System Folder, Old System Folder
- Run Installer and it will put a fresh System onto the drive.
Reason for problem: Sometimes reinstalling System files over corrupt copies doesn't replace the problem file, so while you think you have a clean System you actually have carried the problem over with you.
Copyright © 1996 David M. Walsh Enterprises, Inc.
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Last modified 6/20/96