Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.
April 4, 2005
I had to reformat and reinstall everything on a PowerMac G5 a couple of weeks ago, and was nervous that all of the problems were hardware related, even though Apple Hardware Test turned up nothing. On Friday the user complained that her Suitcase software was quitting for no apparent reason. I troubleshot it a bit remotely, but being late in the day, I told her I would take care of it on Monday. All the time I'm thinking, this thing is toast and going in to the shop.
When I walked in Monday, it had gone from bad to worse-- damn. It was booting up to a blue screen with a flashing menubar at the top, but nothing else. I went in to Single User Mode (command line) and disabled autologin. Upon reboot I never got the login screen; rather, it progressed to the point just before the login screen, then bailed to a command-line login. What?!? I could log in to the command line as the user-- very odd. I spent two hours trashing prefs, caches, and various other things to no avail.
So, then I was definitely thinking it was hardware failure. Double-damn, and it had been working prefectly for over a week. Finally, after all that, I did an archive and install of Mac OS X 10.3.4, then proceeded to do all of the updates-- fully expecting it to go belly-up in the process, signaling the trip to the shop.
In the middle of all of this, the user casually mentioned that in the process of trying to troubleshoot it herself (!), she had removed all of her fonts-- the thinking being that Suitcase was crashing because of a bad font. Nice idea-- only she had removed ALL fonts, including the ones in her user folder, plus the main System and Library! .... "Um, and you didn't think to mention this to me -- the VERY LAST THING YOU DID BEFORE THE WHOLE THING CRASHED?"
Well, I kept calm. Really, I did. She didn't know any better, after all. And I learned to look for one more thing when troubleshooting bizzare behaviour (missing fonts). Also it more-or-less meant that the hardware isn't a problem, so that is good.
Oh, and now I have a really good excuse to give her a hard time.