I noticed when I went to System Preferences / Desktop & screen saver that it paused for a second, and sounded like it was accessing the drive, I am assuming that it is looking for Desktop pictures, and my iPhoto / Aperture library.
Are you having any issues with iPhoto? Have a large iPhoto, or pictures folder? Corrupt image files?
What happens if you create a new user, log in with that user and try the Preference?
I will see if I can narrow down exactly which .plist file that pane uses.
I found this on MacForums, which might be relevant.
Since you are upgrading from an older system, did you by any chance upgrade to iLife09 from 08?
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I had the same problem, but more specifically it would freeze because it tried loading the iphoto screen saver. I found that in:
I had two plist files that pertained to iLife (which contains iphoto)
I got rid of the older one, now it works.
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Again for credit this was posted on Macforums.com
Hope this helps.
As a test when I go to Word of the Day within System Preferences | Screen Saver I initially get a blue image where the Screen Saver should appear and then it stalls for awhile. Then it runs very slowly for awhile before stalling again and I am left with the spinning beach ball.
If I go a Pictures folder (any) within System Preferences | Screen Saver I start with a black screen where the Screen Saver should appear and then it runs very slowly before the spinning beach ball.
Please forgive my ignorance?
What is "Word of The Day?"
Is this something you added on?
I am also wondering if perhaps your iPhoto library somehow became corrupted.
I am trying to see if I can create a non destructive test for you, that will make the desktop / Screensaver pane forget about the current iPhoto library..
Will get back to you
Word of the Day is one of the Apple Screen Savers
Rebuilt the iPhoto library - no luck
The Sys Pref | Screen Saver \ Pictures that I select are a folder rather than iPhoto. The folder contains various jpg's. I have been the the folder and the jpg's all seem to open quite happily.
I have got a Mac Book Air and use ChronoSync to sync all of my folders. The Air System Preferences works fine looking at the same folder.
I am glad I am keeping you from getting bored!!!!!
Scratching for other ideas....
On my old iMac G5 I was running Screen Spanning Doctor so I could run two screens:
I ran this for 4 years without issue and a PRAM reset it
I have the same problem. Used Migration assistant for a new Mac mini (Nvidia), and Screen Saver panel gets the spinning ball. I think is an iPhoto related problem because the Screen Saver tab gets unresponsive when trying to find photos from iPhoto Albums libraries. Deleted all libraries but no luck. I have MobileMe and some libraries can not be deleted because they are syncing online. Logged out MobileMe, but still libraries are syncing.
I am seeing the same behavior. Moved from a Power Mac G5 to a Mac Pro Intel (2.66 Xeon Quad core) machine yesterday.
Can't seem to find a plist file deletion that changes anything.
I'm guessing here. I did remember that iPhoto was an "Intel only" app. When I bought iLife '08, I had to download a previous iPhoto that would work on a G5. Maybe it has something to do with Intel and PPC differences? Moving preferences from a G5 to Intel architecture means something got corrupted? But I have no idea where to look.
Just to say I have the same problem. Used Migration Assistant to transfer user settings etc to new MacBook (2.0 Intel) from new(ish) iMac (2.66 Intel), which in turn were transferred from old iMac G4 last year. Everything works fine on the new and old iMacs. Both new macs running 10.5.7, old iMac running 10.4.11. Only difference I can see is that the MacBook has iLife 09 against 08 on the new iMac.
As soon as I go to Desktop & Screen Saver in System Preferences on the MacBook and try to change the screen saver from the default 'flurry' (which is the only one that works properly) I get the spinning ball and more often than not have to 'Force Quit' the System Preferences. The first couple of times I used the 'The application quit while unresponsive' dialogue box to 'report' the issue to apple, but then gave up.
I've tried deleting DesktopScreenEffectsPref.prefPane from HD/System/Library/PreferencePanes on MacBook and copying file from iMac. Also tried deleting and re-installing all screen savers from HD/System/Library/Screen Savers.
The screen Savers I have installed are:
Flurry.saver (works OK)
Word of the Day.qtz
MobileMe and RSS
I've also tried deleting relevant com.apple.screensaver*.plist files from HD/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/ByHost/
And tried deleting com.apple.systempreferences.plist from HD/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/
And tried deleting com.apple.preferences.desktopscreeneffect.plist from HD/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/
And tried deleting com.apple.ScreenSaver.Engine/Cache.db from HD/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/Caches
And tried deleting com.apple.systempreferences/Cache.db from HD/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/Caches
I've also used the Disk Utility to verify disk and disk permissions.
There are other Caches in the HD/System/Library/Caches, but not sure if they're relevant?
Visited the apple store in Southampton yesterday to try to bend the ear of one of their 'Genii' but was told I should have made an appointment and also that it was NOT an known issue, in response to which I had to beg to differ. They also suggested 'phoning the applecare help line, but I've tried that before and life is too short.
I might have time to go back to the apple store next week, but would rather not have the inconvenience!
It's not the end of the world, just a tad annoying.
Any more thoughts?