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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Multi-user Mac; strange behavior.

Multi-user Mac; strange behavior.
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B3NN3TT
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Jan 17, 2011, 08:08 PM
 
Sorry if this has been covered; I was a bit stymied as to what search terms to use, and my best efforts turned up nothing.

I've been dealing with this weirdness on my Mac Mini for a long time now; probably forever. But it's getting a little worse these days.

I have 2 user accounts - mine and my wife's - on the machine. I'm on it the most, so most all of the software gets installed while I'm logged in. I have no isses at all with the machine, but my wife's account (with equal admin privileges to my own) does. Here's the thing.

iTunes was the original offender. We have the iTunes library on an external drive. It works normally for me. But every time my wife starts up iTunes, the EULA screen pops up, as if the application has just been installed, and you have to click "OK" to agree, etc. Once you do that, it runs as normal, but the EULA screen pops up every single time you start iTunes under her user account.

I just installed Office 2011 this week, and it's doing a similar stunt. Every time she starts up Word, the activation screen pops up, saying "Your copy of Microsoft Word has now been activated", and she has to jump through all the "choose your automatic update preferences" screens before she can even get to work on anything.

It's like the Mac isn't saving her preferences for the apps when we switch user accounts or something. She's obviously at the end of her rope, and I can't figure out how to fix it. Is there a user account setting that I'm missing somewhere? Should I have another "Admin" account that I use to install new software? Why does it happen on her account, but not mine?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Mac Mini, 1.83 Core 2 Duo, latest version of Snow Leopard.
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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ibook_steve
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Jan 17, 2011, 09:13 PM
 
Are you sure you've installed these apps for "all" users, ie are they in Macintosh HD/Applications or are they just in Macintosh HD/Users/<your user name>/Applications?

It sounds like you only installed them under your account.

Also, have you checked the permissions on these apps in the Get Info window? What are the permissions set to?

Steve
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 17, 2011, 11:26 PM
 
Thanks, Steve.

They are installed for all users; there's nothing at all in my user folder/Applications directory.

The permissions on iTunes were normal; read and write for everyone. I added both hers and my user accounts and set them both to Read/Write privileges, so we'll see how that goes.

The permissions on Office were different; they were set for Read Only. Changed those to Read/Write, adn I'll check that out now to see if that's affected anything.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 18, 2011, 12:05 AM
 
Curiouser and curiouser.

The access privileges changes didn't affect the behavior of the apps at all.

I ran a complete Permissions Repair with Disk Utility, restarted, and still no change.

And I'm finding more weird stuff.

MANY preferences aren't sticking. I put all of the Office '11 apps in the Dock on her account, and dragged all the Office 07 icons out. After restarting, the old icons are still in there, and the new ones aren't.

The Desktop picture is the default "Aurora" image, and it cannot be changed. If I open the System Preferences panel for desktop, the small preview icon for the current desktop picture shows a "?". The standard default panel of Apple desktops displays, and I can choose any of them, but the desktop remains Aurora. The new desktops I select will display correctly in the preview icon of the Pref Pane, but the ACTUAL desktop doesn't change.

So how about THAT? Any other ideas?
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 18, 2011, 12:46 AM
 
Brief update before I go to bed:

I threw out the iTunes preferences and that seems to have fixed the iTunes issue.

Threw out the Desktop prefs, and that fixed the desktop picture issue.

Still working on the Office 2011 thing; I'll try throwing out those prefs tomorrow and see what happens.
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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steve626
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Jan 18, 2011, 01:23 AM
 
Might want to explore the Preferences folder (in her account) and check what the permissions (access rights) are on her Preferences files for individual programs, and also for the folder itself. It almost sounds like she did not have write access to her own Preferences individual files, but she does have write access to the folder in which they are located, so by throwing out the old read-only preference file, you forced iTunes to create a new fresh one which has the correct accesses for her and hence the preference file itself can be updated now. But I'm just guessing from what you described ... By the way, this can happen if you set up a user by copying Preference files from another user or from another computer without properly handling the privileges.
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 18, 2011, 08:57 AM
 
Thanks, Steve. I don't remember copying over any prefs, but I did do a Time Machine restore recently when I installed a new hard drive. Again, my user account was not affected at all; only hers.

Throwing out the Office prefs has solved the Office problem. The last strange issue I'm still trying to troubleshoot here is in Safari.

I've thrown out the Safari prefs and the "Safari" folder in her user>Library, basically starting over, and Safari will not remember any internet passwords (but again, only on HER user account). I cleared out all the cookies and even cleaned out the Keychain, but now it seems to not be writing any new passwords to the Autofill database. Examining the Autofill file through Safari's preferences window, it shows no entries, when we've actually entered several passwords on several sites, and instructed Safari to remember them. The Autofill window on my Safari account is completely populated.

Are these Autofill items stored somewhere that might have a write permissions problem, like the other stuff I've encountered thus far?
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 18, 2011, 11:33 AM
 
Further: I threw out the Keychain prefs, to no avail. I deleted the Safari Autofill data from the Keychain list, also no dice.

Additionally, the Keychain list was still populated even after throwing out the prefs, so the database must exist somewhere else. Looking at that for the next step.

Can't understand how all these prefs got corrupted. I had to throw out the FInder prefs this morning, too; the finder's toolbar wouldn't keep its changes after modifying it.
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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ibook_steve
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Jan 18, 2011, 02:11 PM
 
Maybe it would just be easier to try creating a fresh new account for her and move all her stuff over to it then delete this messed up account.

Steve
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 18, 2011, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by ibook_steve View Post
Maybe it would just be easier to try creating a fresh new account for her and move all her stuff over to it then delete this messed up account.

Steve
I'm beginning to think you're right. I created a "Test" account to see if there would be any similar prefs problems with it, and it's been flawless.

I'll give that a shot tonight. If the problems persist, or if anything else strange happens, I'll report back.

Thanks, fellas, for the help and suggestions.
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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Jan 21, 2011, 03:35 PM
 
I'd check permissions on her user > library folder. If necessary I'd propagate read/write all to the whole folder. I've seen many instances where the system cant write to that folder because either th efolder or certain prefs within the folder have incorrect permissions.
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B3NN3TT  (op)
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Jan 21, 2011, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Moderator View Post
I'd check permissions on her user > library folder. If necessary I'd propagate read/write all to the whole folder. I've seen many instances where the system cant write to that folder because either th efolder or certain prefs within the folder have incorrect permissions.
Thanks; that was actually one of the first things I tried, but had no luck.

We have now created a new user account, and just de-authorized all of the documents/downloads, etc from her old account and copied them over. Everything's running perfectly since then, so I'm going to just delete the bad account in a few days.
Andy • www.B3NN3TT.com
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