Skip navigation

Can't open anything from my desktop.

4455 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: Mar 10, 2011 4:21 PM by WZZZ RSS
1 2 Previous Next
Diana Rivera Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 6, 2011 11:10 AM
Background: I recently installed 10.5.6 on a Power Mac G5, then immediately downloaded the upgrade to 10.5.8. (Had been running Tiger.) The installation of 10.5.6 from the DVD seemed fine, but when I restarted after the 10.5.8 download, I had kernel panic, and ultimately had to archive and reinstall 10.5.6 (twice) and repeat the upgrage to 10.5.8.

All is apparantly well now, except that nothing I put on my desktop will open; not files, not folders, not even the HD icon. I can open everything from other location on the computer, or can drag a file from the desktop to an application that opens it. But I'm finding it inconvenient not to be able to use the desktop as I always have, plus this just can't be right!

Insights, anyone?
Power Mac G5, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Carolyn Samit Level 10 Level 10 (84,095 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 6, 2011 11:28 PM (in response to Diana Rivera)

    Probably a good time to boot from your install disc to check the startup disk in case it needs repairing.

    Insert your install disk and Restart, holding down the "C" key until grey Apple appears.
    Go to Installer menu and launch Disk Utility.
    (In Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you must select your language first from the installer menu)
    Select your HDD (manufacturer ID) in the left panel.
    Select First Aid in the Main panel.
    (Check S.M.A.R.T Status of HDD at the bottom of right panel. It should say: Verified)

    Click Repair Disk on the bottom right.
    If DU reports disk does not need repairs quit DU and restart.
    If DU reports errors Repair again and again until DU reports disk is repaired.
    When you are finished with DU, from the Menu Bar, select Utilities/Startup Manager.
    Select your startup disk and click Restart

    While you have the Disk Utility window open, look at the bottom of the window. Where you see Capacity and Available. Make sure there is always 15% free space.

    If you cannot boot from your install disc, try booting in Safe Mode

    What is Safe Mode

    27" iMac 3.2GHz i3 MBAir iPad iPhone 4 iLife iWork / AirPlay ATV2 AiportExtr, Mac OS X (10.6.6), QTPro Intuos Epson Olympus Airport JBL
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2011 9:38 AM (in response to Diana Rivera)
    I seem to be recommending this to everyone today. First verify the drive and repair Permissions from Disk Utility. Then apply the 10.5.8 Combo while you are booted in Safe Boot (hold the shift key down at startup.) After you restart, verify the disk and repair Permissions again.

    Note: there is a known Permissions bug in the 10.5.8 Combo. To avoid this issue, when you are finished installing the first time, run the update again from Safe Boot, then repair Permissions booted normally. In other words, run the update twice back to back. Do not repair Permissions in between.
    iMac 21.5" 10.6.5, iMac G3/400 10.4.11
  • T5GP5Ox32 Level 3 Level 3 (590 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2011 2:30 PM (in response to Diana Rivera)
    Did you try opening anything from the Desktop in Safe Mode?

    Could also try booting from the Install DVD and resetting the ACLs and Permissions of the Home Folder.

    Choose your Language
    Go to the Utilities menu at the top and click Reset Password
    Select your HD and account and then click on Reset ACLs and Permissions of the Home Folder with the Reset button.
    Macbook Air 11", Mac OS X (10.6.6), iPod Touch 4G
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2011 3:11 PM (in response to Diana Rivera)
    My recommendation was to install the 10.5.8 Combo twice back to back and then repair Permissions. But, since applying the Combo didn't help with the Desktop problem, I wouldn't at this point bother doing that. It's even possible Apple has since fixed this bug and that it probably wasn't a serious error to begin with. I just thought it would be best to avoid it.

    Another thing you could try would be to move these files located in your Home Folder Library in Preferences to the Desktop and restart or log out and back in. I'd try them one at a time to see the effect. If this works, you may have to restore some of your settings afterwards. If this doesn't work, you can just move them back where they were. When they are removed, these files will automatically be recreated with fresh ones. The idea is the current ones may be corrupt.


    iMac 21.5" 10.6.5, iMac G3/400 10.4.11
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2011 7:32 PM (in response to Diana Rivera)
    When you get a second wind, open Terminal in Utilities and type

    "killall Finder"

    space between the two and no quotation marks

    Or Option-Click on the Finder icon in the Dock and select Relaunch.

    Note: came across this article for the reset suggestion, which recommends running several commands from Terminal before doing this.

    If you try any of the sudo commands in Terminal and you have never used sudo before, you will get a warning about using it. This is normal. But beware: you must type in the commands exactly as written, observing all spaces and case. Best to copy and paste. Sudo gives you complete, instant access to the deepest system files and typos can be disastrous. Also, when you enter your password, you won't see anything on the screen. This is also normal. Just hit enter after. The killall Finder command to relaunch the Finder is pretty harmless. I'd try this first.

    Message was edited by: WZZZ
    iMac 21.5" 10.6.5, iMac G3/400 10.4.11
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2011 8:01 PM (in response to WZZZ)
    BTW, what are the Permissions on your Home Folder? Select it and do a GetInfo (Cmd-I) Go to Sharing and Permissions.

    Also, open a Terminal window and type "ls -l" (that's the letter l after k with a space between the ls and the -l) Important: leave a space after the -l, then open your Macintosh HD icon and drag the Home Folder icon (the little house) inside it into the window and hit enter. Can you copy and paste the results.
    iMac 21.5" 10.6.5, iMac G3/400 10.4.11
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 8, 2011 3:15 PM (in response to Diana Rivera)
    First thing: did you try to relaunch the Finder?

    I must say, I am no Unix guru, by any means. I may have to call in bigger guns if necessary, or hope they appear here. Those Permissions, at least from GetInfo, look OK. (Doing some research, "unknown" for the group appears to be something inherited from the Tiger OS you had been running before, and the Archive and Install. I don't know if that might be contributing to your problem or not. Probably not. In Leopard, the group should be "staff.")

    The actual Unix Permissions will give much more information. I know Terminal can be intimidating, but it's really very simple to execute basic commands. First thing: the mouse doesn't do anything. The basic keys to use, at least for these commands, are the spacebar, the delete key to, well, delete; but won't be necessary here) and the enter/return key. For other occasions, you can use the up/down arrow keys, as well.

    So, to get a closer look at the Permissions on your Home Folder you open Terminal. That's it, you don't have to do anything else. You have an open window now ready to go. Everything you type or paste in will appear just after the $ sign. That's the prompt for a new command. So you copy and paste "ls -l" then use the spacebar to leave a single space after the -l. The command you gave to Terminal is asking Terminal to show Permissions, but Terminal wants to know which Permissions, where ? Next, you open your HD Folder, find the little house icon in Users, and simply drag that into the Terminal window. The Home Folder icon won't be disturbed in the least by doing this. This will automatically create the "path" (the which and where) written in Unix text for the command you have entered. Once you see that text, which will be /Users/yourusername, you simply hit the return/enter key and it will give you the info you asked for.

    I won't try to explain how to interpret that information right now.

    So far, there is really nothing you can do that will damage your system in any way. You are not asking to change anything. You are just having a look.

    (And, it may eventually be worth trying the Home Folder ACLs and Permissions reset.)
    iMac 21.5" 10.6.5, iMac G3/400 10.4.11
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 8, 2011 3:48 PM (in response to WZZZ)
    EDIT: When you are finished, you can type in "exit" and hit enter, or in this instance, just close the window.

    And you know you don't have to use Terminal to relaunch the Finder. But it's a very simple command to try out your basic Terminal skills.

    Message was edited by: WZZZ
    iMac 21.5" 10.6.5, iMac G3/400 10.4.11
1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.