Preferences that won't stick!


Geek / Hedonist
Throughout all versions of MacOS X I've had problems with preferences that just won't stay set. Generally it's just been the Classic Startup Volume, which MacOS X seems to forget if I boot into MacOS 9 at all, and occasionally forgets even if I don't.

But suddenly I can't get MacOS X to remember my iDisk password at all!
Even worse, the Finder Preferences panel has all its options disabled so I can't change these settings at all either!

Is anyone else here having problems with preferences that go poof? Have you found any solutions, like directly editing the .plist files?
I can't get it to remeber that OmniWeb is my default browser. Everytime i click a link that damn program called IE shows its face.
I managed to get my Finder preferences unstuck. To do this I renamed the Finder's preferences file ( and restarted. Just like good old MacOS of old.... Some things never change.

Still I can't get the system to keep my iDisk password at all despite renaming the file. I guess it must be stored someplace else. I'm sure renaming one or another of these bloody files will fix it. I'll just have to try one after another.

Since this stuff is stored in my home folder it makes sense that to make these changes requires just logging out and back in again.

As for the startup volume for Classic, that's got to be a user-based preference stored in a file, doesn't it? And if so then how can simply starting from another volume affect it? It's certainly a bug alright, and a weird one at that.

Let us pray to the gods of 10.1!

Here's a good tip for isolating which file keeps which preferences. (This requires having your root account enabled.)

1. Open Terminal
2. Type 'su -m' and enter your root password (not your admin pw)
3. Type 'touch temp' to make a new empty file
4. Go to System Preferences or whatever and make some changes
5. Save your changes
6. Go back to the Terminal
7. Type 'find / -newer temp' to find files newer than 'temp' from Step 3

Voila, you now have a list of any files that changed. You can use this to find preference files of all kinds or just to see what files are altered by any program at all.
After looking around the web for what seemed like forever, I found some hints of where the problem might lie... so I checked to see if the other user on my system had the same issue. Well, fortunately it didn't, and so I looked at the Keychain for that user and duplicated what was set up there in the keychain belonging to the user with the problem (of the iTools password not sticking when the Internet Preference Pane was closed). I took some screenshots for others to use as an example when setting up their Keychain:

BTW - be sure to log out and then log back in to see the fix.

Hope this helps -