Troubleshooting Mac OS X is much easier if you create a second, “ghost” user on your Mac, with administrator privileges. Go to System Preferences> Accounts to do this. For simplicity, you may want to give it the same password as your main user.
Then, when you have a problem, log out and log back into your ghost account. If the problem is gone, you know it’s specific to your main account. This lets you limit your troubleshooting to files that could only affect one user, such as those in the ~/Library folder.
If the problem does exist for your ghost account, you know to look higher up, in the /Library and /System/Library folders.
Jeff Gamet is a contributing editor for Design Tools Monthly, the executive summary of graphic design news. He is also the morning editor and reviews editor for The Mac Observer and iPodObserver.com, and contributing writer for Layers Magazine and Photoshop User. He writes the InBrief column for InDesign Magazine, and is the author of “The Designer’s Guide to Mac OS X,” from Peachpit Press
When Jeff isn’t writing about the graphic design world, he’s talking about it on the Design Tools Weekly podcast with co-host Jay Nelson. He also talks about Apple and the Mac world every week on The Mac Observer’s Apple Weekly Report.
Jeff studies, tests and reviews new software and technologies for the Macintosh community as well as the design and print industries. He is a former Pre-press specialist, and has nearly 25 years experience with computer technology. Jeff trains, lectures and consults on techniques for more efficiently using Mac OS X in creative environments throughout the country.
In the rare moments when he can get away from his MacBook Pro, Jeff spends his time climbing and biking in the Colorado mountains.