Account Permissions And File Access


I have a G4 runnig OS X 10.3.9 we are having trouble with. The user's initial account developed problems running programs ( Quark, Safari, Photoshop) giving access errors and freezing. When I accessed the machine with my own account I was able to access everything and was able to run the programs. The user's account and mine both have admin level permissions and should be able to access / run all programs. After running permission repair from disk utility it would fix the problem in her account but not permanently it would eventually deteriorate again. So I created another account for the user and had her transfer everything over to the new account. Again I gave the new account admin level permissions. This seemed to work for a while then she could not access her attached firewire drive, the system said her account did not have permission to open files / folders. I changed permissions through the Finder=>Get info utility, but this does not seemd to have worked, I tried to change the permissions on each folder and then clicked the button to change the permissions on all contents this does not seem to have worked.
Is there a way to repair / replace account permissions without having to reload the entire system again?