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Travis, Mac-Trained Product Designer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 759
Experience:  19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati
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Hi, Out of the blue, several applications on my Mac Mini (Mac

Customer Question

Hi, Out of the blue, several applications on my Mac Mini (Mac OS X 10.4.11) no longer run, namely BOTH Safari and Firefox and iTunes. iPhoto, Microsoft apps like Powerpoint, Word, and Preview work. If I had to pinpoint a common thread through those that don't work, I would guess it's programs that connect to the internet automatically. (Though bringing up my dashboard brings up my local recent weather!?) Any thoughts? Thanks.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
What actually happens with the programs that they "no longer run"?

What type of internet connection do you have on the Mac Mini?

Do you have any other computers on the same network?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Travis,

I click the icon (either on the dock or in the actual "Applications" window) and it bounces for a few minutes and nothing ever happens.

The Mac Mini is connected via ethernet cable to my comcast modem.

Yes, I have been using my laptop connected wirelessly through my router to the same modem.

Thanks for your help,
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
If the following suggestions work, please let me know and you can Accept the answer (and if possible, leave positive feedback). If not, please DO NOT Accept the answer. Instead, let me know and we'll try some more things or I can refer you to another Expert who may be able to help you further.

First of all, I would suggest you run some general maintenance on the computer. It is an obvious square-one approach. I normally suggest this first because it is good practice plus if we dig too deep into a problem and simple measures could have repaired it in the beginning we'll be kicking ourselves later... This is going to be a long post so I suggest printing it out for your reference.

First let's reset the PRAM on the computer.
1) Shut down the computer.
2) While the computer is shut down, locate these keys: command (has an apple on it), option (sometimes called alt), P, and R.
3) Turn the computer on, then press and hold Command-Option-P-R before the gray screen appears.
4) Hold these keys down until you hear the startup sound a total of 3 times.
5) Release the keys.

Next, let's try a Safe Boot. This will perform several clean up procedures that may be affecting the machine's performance and startup.
1) Shut down your computer completely.
2) Start up the computer and immediately after the startup chime, press and hold the Shift key
3) Once the gray Apple and progress indicator appear, release the Shift key
4) Note: Startup will likely take substantially longer than normal (20 - 30 minutes is not unheard of)
5) In Mac OS 10.4 or later, you will have to login to your account, even if it normally does so automatically.
6) Shut down the computer.

Now let's check / repair the disk permissions. Although this doesn't fix all problems it is a great way to start when working on a machine, besides it often cleans up any other smaller problems you may or may not be experiencing.
1) Restart the machine.
2) Before you have opened any programs, go to Applications / Utilities / Disk Utility.
3) Click the "First Aid" tab at the top and run the "Repair Permissions" after selecting your Hard Drive from the list on the left.
4) Shut down the computer.
5) Restart and try the programs again. If they still bounce and never start, let me know and we'll go to the next step.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
How do I know if the first set of instuctions worked? I have a wireless keyboard and mouse (if that matters). I am holding down the apple key-P-R right after turning on the machine but nothing different happens. I only hear the startup sound once, like usual.
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
Do you have a wired keyboard and mouse? You should always have a USB keyboard and mouse handy for performing maintenance and repairs on your computer. The wireless keyboard and mouse must first allow the computer to boot before they activate. You'll need to have a keyboard that is active before the mac boots in order to perform both the Safeboot and PRAM reset. Sorry.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Okay, I found an old Dell keyboard with a PS2 to USB converter adn a USB joystick mouse. Was able to do a safe boot and repair disk permissions. Did the procedure you outline for the PRAM reset, but again looked like the machine booted up like usual. Don't have any indication that actually happened. is there a way to check for it, or should I get some indication it happened?

Anyway, after the safe boot, shutdown, restart, and repair of disk permissions, I started firefox and it did the same thing.
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
Ok, not sure if the PS2 to USB converter will cause any problems or not. Should work as far as I know. Were you able to hear more than 1 startup chime?

If not, performing the Safeboot and Repair Permissions should have done the trick. If not, let's try the following:

Instead of opening these programs in the dock, locate the actually application in the Applications folder and try it there instead. Does it do the jumping / not starting thing here too?

Next create a temporary admin account to see if the issue is occurring system wide or is user specific This will help narrow down the troubleshooting.
1) Go to System Preferences / Accounts
2) Create this temporary account by clicking on the + button. Make sure you make it an admin account.
3) You may have to click the "lock" in the bottom left corner first though.
4) Once you have this new account created, log in to it and test your issues there. Let me know if the issue occurs here as well.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Sorry, had to go to work all day and then got busy doing other stuff this evening. To answer your questions:

I actually deleted everything I could off the dock. So now, I just click on the icon in the "Applications" window. When I do this, the icon actually appears on my dock and bounces, and does nothing until (in the case of Firefow) the "Mozilla Crash Reporter" window comes up. When it's Safari that I click, it too appears in the dock, does nothing but bounce, then disappears but no window comes up. It just does nothing.

I never heard more than one startup "chime".

I created the admin account as you specified. Same problem when I tried to start up Safari.
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
The next step would be to first see if the issue can be corrected with Disk Repair.

1) Insert the Mac OS X install disk.
2) Shut down the computer.
3) Start the machine while holding the C key immediately after pressing the power button (Don't let go of the "C" until it starts from the disk or locks up). If you have to choose, select the Installation disk as the startup.
4) When it starts, a screen should appear asking you to "Choose your language."
NOTE: If you get the login screen instead of the "Choose your language" screen, then the mac DID NOT boot up off of the Install Disk. In this case, try shutting down the computer. Then restarting while holding down the "option" key until the Startup manager appears ( When it does, click on the Install Disk as the startup volume.
5) Select your language, then DO NOT continue the Installation process.
6) Just go to the Utility menu in the top menu bar. Choose the "Disk Utility" program.
7) Run Disk Utilities. Click the "First Aid" tab at the top and select your hard drive in the column on the left and "Verify" the Hard Drive.
8) Repair any errors that it may find by next choosing the "Repair" button.
9) When finished quit the program and restart the computer normally.
10) Are you still experiencing the problem? If so, then we'll have to pull out the big guns...

Because the error is occurring system wide (in a new admin user account as well) and did not correct after repairing the structure of the hard drive, then we need to move forward and "Archive and Install" the Mac OS X.

The "Archive and Install" option on reinstalling the Mac OS X will preserve your user data and files, but you may need to reinstall some third party software add-ons and fonts. Because of this I highly suggest you get a good backup of your hard drive prior to doing this if you can. I would use Carbon Copy Cloner (
There is a comprehensive website detailing the Archive and Install process online. I recommend you check it out before proceeding.

I do not go into an "Archive and Install" lightly as many repair techs do. But in your case, I think this is the next logical step.

Good Luck!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Did as you recommended. The "Verify disk" procedure found no errors. Restarted. Same result.

I have backed up all my relevant files and software, there really isn't much on there. It's mostly just pictures and music.

If it's easier, I'd be fine with an erase and install, unless you feel archive and install is better.

Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
If you feel like you can run a "clean" install on the system and not lose any of your data (because you have it backed up), that's always a better choice. But you'll have to reload everything including fonts, programs, media... the works.

It's up to you, but I'd try the "Archive and Install" first. Then if necessary, you can always clean install it after. Good luck!

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