General Troubleshooting Tips

General Troubleshooting Tips

The following is a summary of tips I have collected. They are specific for the Finder Quit problem, but contain some good general trouble shooting tips. Currently there is a Forum on MacFixIt where you can search for more solutions and also post for help.

I suggest you print this out. Use it as a guide. Check off what you try. Make notes. The more info you collect the easier it will be to find a solution.

Don’t try to do everything at once. Don’t expect to do everything here. It’s a general guide to solving problems.


1. Use DiskFirstAid and Alsoft’s Disk Warrior, if you have it, so you start with a stable system.

2. Trash the following preferences:

  • Finder prefs
  • Find File prefs
  • MacOS prefs

3. Install the OS. Be sure to update your drivers using the latest Drive Setup. Apple recommends using only Drive Setup 1.7.3 with Mac OS 8.6. According the article at, using an older copy of Drive Setup (i.e. 1.7.2) can “reintroduce problems resolved with 1.7.3” This may also explain the file corruption. Apple recommends running Drive Setup 1.7.3 to update drivers after installing Mac OS 8.6. Hard disk drivers are loaded at boot time, and are constantly active, increasing the opportunity for old drivers to cause problems.

4 Zap the PRAM and restart. Use TechTool, or hold down these keys at startup: Option + Command + R+ P.

5. Make sure you have installed any firmware updates for your specific machine… including BWG3, iMac, ATI, etc. Check Version Tracker’s list of Apple’s latest updates. Check for ATI, ROM, USB MRJ and firmware updates.

General Troubleshooting Tips


First I would suggest you do a little preventive maintenance:

1. Use DiskFirstAid and Alsoft’s Disk Warrior if you have it.

2. Update your drivers using Apple’s Drive Setup.

3. Rebuild the desktop completely. Make the files visible, you can use a number of utilities, such as ResEdit to locate the files and change their visibility to visible, and then you can manually drag them to the Trash. Better, just use Trash*Desktop, which does all that for you. Conflict Catcher also has this function.

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Note: On the first reboot after trashing the desktop, restart with extensions disabled (see below), so that no startup processes can interrupt the total desktop rebuild.

Do steps one and three on a regular basis to keep a stable system.

Disabled extensions

Start up the computer with the shift key held down, to start without extensions. As soon as the “Extensions Off” shows in the welcome screen, release the shift key and press down the Command and Option keys until it asks you if you want to rebuild the desktop.

Assuming that rebuild completes successfully, then restart the computer normally. The desktop rebuild will happen again automatically this time (because you rebuilt the desktop with Macintosh Easy Open, or one of its successors, disabled).

Next try trashing these preferences (not necessarily all at once). Remember you will need to restart and Zap the PRAM to get all new preferences. Evidently some preferences need the zap to create all new prefs. Don’t forget to empty the trash. Needless to say don’t try to delete a file that is in use – this is where booting from another disk helps.

  • Finder prefs
  • Find File prefs
  • MacOS prefs
  • ASLM Prefs
  • System prefs
  • File Exchange prefs
  • General Control Prefs
  • Expansion Manager Prefs
  • TSM Preferences
  • Desktop Pictures Preferences

Removing the Fonts and Preferences folders from the HD:System Folder is an easy way to eliminate a corrupt font or pref file. These can be some of the most difficult problems to diagnose.

The OS will recreate empty font and pref folders and testing will determine if there was a problem with either. Copy the fonts from your OS CD to the new empty font folder. The fonts should be copied to a closed system folder, so the Finder puts them in the Fonts folder. Otherwise font id conflicts are possible.


  • Finder
  • System
  • System Resources
  • MacOS ROM file (Be sure it is the most current version. Check Version Tracker’s list of Apple’s latest updates.)

Keep a “fresh” set of prefs to avoid having to reset prefs. Note: Keeping these “fresh” copies in a “disk.img” allows them to be handy, yet not confuse the Mac.


Try deleting an invisible file called “shutdown check” Disable “Defender” a virus extension

Remove the Microsoft OLE Extension and place an ALIAS of it in the Extensions folder the Microsoft Folder (within Office). Microsoft OLE Extension, is obsolete on PowerMacs. This code was intended for pre-PPC Macs. It is now replaced by Microsoft OLE Library.

Turn off “Flash icon in menu bar” on Remote Access, Check for the Autostart virus, Bad RAM can cause this behavior. You should check your RAM. GURU and TechToolPro can test your RAM, but sometimes they are not 100%. If you can, switch out the RAM, or try removing to see if things improve.

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Don’t forget to try reseating RAM. Trash the Apple Menu options. Try BeHierarchic (shareware) in place of Apple Menu.

Check for Kaleidoscope scheme named “Simpl”. Select another scheme. Use File Buddy to remove any extra copies of an invisible file called OpenFolderListDF. Apparently any extra copies of this can confuse the finder and cause it to freeze or restart. The valid file is in the system/prefs folder. Any extra copies (look at the root level of HD) should be trashed.

Conflict Catcher 8’s demo will run for 7 days and is an easy way to find an extension conflict.


1. Do the preventive maintenance tips listed above.

2. TURN OFF all of the “Remember the last…” options in the Apple Menu Items control panel.

3. Try to avoid navigating the Finder using “cascading list views.” Navigating the Finder windows this way means the Finder prefs (for how to display window contents) are constantly being updated… increasing the likelihood of a corruption.

4. Keep up to date on all your applications.

5. If you are running OS 8 or higher, check your extensions folder for ObjectSupportLib. DELETE This EXTENSION!!!!

This file is no longer needed under Mac OS 8, as a newer version (v1.2.1) has been incorporated into the System file. Keeping this file will cause crashes. To keep it from being installed by some software get the following script or set CC to lock OSL from being loaded. There are a bunch of older apps that install it — PageMaker, Nisus, Netscape, PaperPort, Now Contact….I can’t remember all of them.

To prevent further complications use…. ObjectSupportLib Check or……….. OSL Watchdog or………… use Conflict Catcher to lock out OSL

Finder Memory Fix

This fix is not supported by Apple. It has been reported to help on the Mac-L list. I am unaware of any complications using this fix. As always use with caution. Make a backup.

1. Copy your Finder (in System Folder) to the Desktop.

2. Launch FileBuddy; Open the Finder on the Desktop with the utility.

3. Change its file type from FNDR to APPL. Once changed, you will be able to Get Info with access to Memory. Change the RAM allocation to something in the 3000k range. Probably wise to increase the Minimum setting to around 1500k (I always use multiples of 512 – therefore, my settings became 3072
and 1536 respectively).

4. Now change the file type back to FNDR.

5. Remove Finder from your System Folder. Stick it somewhere safe in the event something happens that requires you to abort this whole procedure and revert to nominal status.

6. Place the altered Finder in your System Folder and Restart.

System Folder Lock

Do you get the infamous ? at startup? Are you having problems with a damaged system folder? The problem can be traceable to corrupt font(s) or something that happens internally where the System File is damaged. The flashing question mark is the Mac’s way of saying ‘Where’s my nice useable System File?”. Locking the System File will end the symptom (but not the problem).

1. Locate the System File (it’s in the System Folder)
2. Click once on it to select it. Under the File menu in the Finder’s Menu Bar, select ‘Get Info’, or type Command-i. A dialog box will appear and in the bottom left corner will be check box called ‘Locked’. Click on it to check it, and then click on the go-away box to close the dialog window. The System File is now locked.


The printer choice is stored in the System file. If you have more than one printer or use PrintToPDF, you will have to unlock the system file in order to change printers.

Label names and colors are also stored in the System file. Changes to these won’t stick either with the System file locked.

If you want to add sounds to the system folder, you will need to unlock to add.

Helpful Mac Sites, Links, Tutorials:


Version Tracker (more than just updates has lists of what’s needed when you upgrade etc.) Click on “Forums”. It will open up to their general forum. Then click on “Help and Tips” to see their help forum.

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General Mac talk list Click here to join mac-l. Zap PRAM article