Finder Help Disappears

Sparrowhawk

Registered
At the risk of testing the forbearance of those reading this who are more experienced with Mac, I noticed an odd problem with Finder, i.e., when I try to use the "Help" option, a blank window and the life saver icon appears for a split second, then vanishes. I seem to recall that the Finder Help display was where one went to read up on the OS. Any comments or suggestions? (BTW, I did look through the forum for similar threads.) Thanks all.
 

barhar

Registered
Some background:
'Help Viewer', launched via 'Finder's 'Help, Mac Help' menu item, is located in the '/System/Library/CoreServices/' folder.
If any, 'com.apple.helpviewer.plist' prefernece file exits it will be in the '~/Library/Preferences/' folder.

Go to your '/Applications/Utilities/' folder and run 'Disk Utility'.
Select your boot drive in the left side column, and via its 'First Aid' tab click on 'Repair Disk Permissions'. If any corrections are made, click again on 'Repair Disk Permissions'. You may have to do this a few, or several, times.

Return to 'Finder' and select the 'Help, Mac Help' menu item.
Does 'Help Viewer' now launch and run correctly?

If not, then consider creating a new account, with administrator priviledges, via 'System Preferences' (via the 'Apple' menu) 'Accounts' utility. Once the new account is created and you log into the new account, again select 'Finder's 'Help, Mac Help' menu item. Does 'Help Viewer' now launch and run correctly?
If so, you verified a problem under your former account. Typically, but not always - this is a permissions, preference's file, or application file ('Help Viewer') ownership problem, to name only a few.
If not, again post your recent actions and the results that followed each action, for possible further assistance.
 

Sparrowhawk

Registered
Thank you for your suggestions. I did use Disk Utility as you recommended, and used it several times to repair permissions, but to no avail insofar as launching Finder Help. (After the initial repair, Disk Utility didn't find any conflict.) I checked the Accounts utility, but since I'm the only person who's every used the eMac, only my name is listed as administrator. Regardless, I attempted to change the name simply by retyping the same name and password, but afterwards Finder Help still only flashes by.
Is it possible that some sort of plist file needs to be removed? I am unclear on the function of plists, but removing them seems to have helped in the past. However, I don't care to experiment when I have so little knowledge of the Mac's inner workings. Other suggestions?
 

btoth

Person that uses a Mac
My Finder and System Preferences Help had been crashing for the last few weeks (but Help for all other programs seemed to be working). I just now deleted ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.helpui and the problems went away.
 

barhar

Registered
Sparrowhawk said:
I checked the Accounts utility, but since I'm the only person who's every used the eMac, only my name is listed as administrator. Regardless, I attempted to change the name simply by retyping the same name and password, but afterwards Finder Help still only flashes by.
Attempting to change the current administrators name, and creating another account - are not the same.

To create a new account:
Launch "System Preferences' and click on the 'Accounts' Utility icon.
If the pad lock at the lower left is closed - click on it, add you current admin. password (if you have one), in to the respective field of the 'Authenticate' dialog box, and click on the 'OK' button.
Under the left column list of current accounts (a single one for you presently) are '+' and '-' buttons, click on the '+' button.
Enter a new accounts name, short name (if you so desire), password (if you so desire), verify (if you so desire), and password hint (if you so desire); and, place a check mark in the 'Allow user to administer this computer' check box. Click on the 'Create Account' button.

[My primary account is 's' and my other (administrator) account is 'd', with no passwords. I am not as paranoid as others.]

If you choose not to include a password an alert box will appear asking you 'Are you sure you want to do this?', click the 'OK' button.

Your new account should now be listed in the left side column of the 'System Preferences' 'Accounts' utility panel.

With either your original account or the newly created account selected, directly beneath the left side accounts column is 'Login Options', click on it.
Place a check mark in the 'Automatically log in as:' check box, and from its popup menu select your original account. Also, place a check mark in the 'Enable fast user switching' check box.

The following are suggestions only:
From the 'View as:' popup menu select 'Name'.
Click on the 'Display login window as:' 'List of users' radio button.
Place a check mark in the 'Show the Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down buttons' check box.

You may now quit (via 'System Preferences, Quit' menu item) / close (via the 'red' jelly bean 'close' button) 'System Preferences'.

Along the upper right portion of your menu bar you should see your current account name as a menu. Click on your account name menu, keeping the mouse button pressed, and select the newly created account menu item. You may asked for the newly created account's password (if you entered one during the creation of the new account), enter it, and continue.

Once the Desktop of the new account appears, select 'Finder's 'Help, Mac Help' menu item. Does it now launch and run as expected?
If so, you confirmed a problem only confined to your original account. This is typically associated with a file or files related to said application.
If not, your problem is a system wide related one. Thus, it may be difficult to correct. Your only recourse is to do the now common MacOS X problem solving action, as Windozer's have been doing for years - re-install MacOS X and enjoy the time spend updating the OS, and perhaps re-installing other software.

P.S. To return to your original account, select the 'Apple menu's, Log Out ...' menu item. Or use 'Command <shift> Q'. You will be asked if you really want to log out, just click on the 'Log Out' button. When the log in accounts window appears select your original account.

To delete the new (or any none primary) account:
Launch "System Preferences' and click on the 'Accounts' Utility icon.
If the pad lock at the lower left is closed - click on it, add you current admin. password (if you have one), in to the respective field of the 'Authenticate' dialog box, and click on the 'OK' button.
Select the account you want to delete (the new one in your particular case), in the left side column, and click on the '-' button beneath the column. You will be prompted via a 'sheet' - 'Are you sure you want to delete the user account "..."?', click on the 'Delete Immediately' button.
You may now quit (via 'System Preferences, Quit' menu item) / close (via the 'red' jelly bean 'close' button) 'System Preferences'.

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P.S. To btoth.
Good catch on the '~/Library/Caches/com.apple.helpui/TOCCache.plist' file.

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Sparrowhawk said:
Is it possible that some sort of plist file needs to be removed? I am unclear on the function of plists, but removing them seems to have helped in the past. However, I don't care to experiment when I have so little knowledge of the Mac's inner workings. Other suggestions?
'.plist' files are just preferences files. They may contain settings you made via an application's 'Prefereneces ...' menu item window. Some '.plist' files also contain the size and position of an application's window, at the time the application was quit'ted, etc.

To view a .plist':
If you installed the 'Developer' tools, deep within the 'Developer' folder will 'Property List Editor' ['/Developer/Applications/Utilities/']. By double-clicking on any '.plist' file, 'Property List Editor' should launch and the respective '.plist' file opened.
An alternative is to just drag the '.plist' file onto 'TextEdit'. You will see the '.plist' file in XML format, not as clean as with 'Property List Editor'.

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Sure, System 1.0 through 9.2.2 are (were, to some) easier to use, manage, troubleshoot, and be productive with. Sadly, we now have a (sparingly) Macintosh, (more and more like) Windoze, UNIX based hybrid OS, and have to deal with it, as such.

Sincerely yours,
BarHar
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
Go to User/Library/Preferences and trash the following files:

com.apple.help.plist
com.apple.helpui.plist
com.apple.helpviewer.plist

Next go to User/Library/Caches and delete the com.apple.helpui folder.
 

Sparrowhawk

Registered
Gentlemen,
Thank you for your insight on plists, and the list of plist deletions. These worked and Finder Help now functions. (I was a bit nervous about changing accounts, since I'm a creature of habit and have used the same info on various computers including mainframes for two decades, but I'm sure that approach would have worked as well.)
This is a wonderful forum, and I thank you for your patience in helping out someone who's wanted to own a Mac ever since its inception and now is learning at last how to use one of his own. Sparrowhawk.
 
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