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TJ Skywasher Level 1 Level 1

I recently upgraded to a 15 Inch MBP with Retina Display and I have a problem with desktop wallpapers.  I migrated everything across from my old mac and when I go into System Prefs > Desktop & Screen Saver there is a list of all the folders I've added with all my wallpapers in.  I've deleted these out because the wallpapers are no longer suitable for the new display.  I've then added in a couple of new folders with retina wallpapers in and everything is fine.  The problem occurs when I quit System Prefs and go back into it, all my old folders have reappeared and all my new folders have disappeared.  Due to this problem sometimes when I boot up my MBP the wallpaper has changed to something random.


I'm getting a bit fed up with removing and adding the folders back in now, is there any reason why it might be doing this or is there a solution?

MacBook Pro with Retina display, Mac OS X (10.7.4), 2.6GHz, 8GB Ram, 512GB, 1GB NVIDIA
  • softwater Level 5 Level 5

    First of all, repair the permissions on the volume with Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities/Disk To do that, open Disk Utility, choose your volume name (probably 'Macintosh HD', and click 'Repair Disk Permissions'.


    Secondly, force the OS to make a new Sys Prefs file (it sounds like the current one is corrupt and not saving your changes). To do that, open (Applications/Utilities/ and paste this command into the Terminal window:


    rm ~/Library/Preferences/


    press 'return' on your keyboard.


    Restart your mac.


    You'll need to set up your wallpapers (and other settings in Sys Prefs) one more time, I'm afraid.

  • TJ Skywasher Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for the advice.  I tried doing this but it doesn't seem to have fixed the problem.  When I go into Desktop & Screen Saver all my old folders are there, I delete them and add in the new ones, I quit and go back in and it's removed all my new folders and added in the old ones again

  • thomasfrombuckeye Level 1 Level 1

    TJ, create a new user on the computer and see if a new user can have their changes be saved inside System Preferences. If the new user has no issues, you'll want to reset the Home folder permissions and ACLs with the Reset Password utility.


    To do this, boot to the recovery drive ( ), choose Utilities from the menu bar, then Terminal.


    In Terminal type in




    then press return. From here, select your hard drive, select your user account, then click the Reset button.


    Hope this helps.

  • TJ Skywasher Level 1 Level 1

    Still no luck, I tried creating a new user and testing out their system prefs, but any folders I add into the Desktop section just disappear upon relaunching System Prefs.

  • thomasfrombuckeye Level 1 Level 1

    If it is happening in a new user as well, and you've already repaired Disk Permissions, you need to reinstall the operating system.

  • smersh7 Level 1 Level 1

    It's been happening on my mbp retina as well.

  • dariusenigma Level 1 Level 1

    I purchased a Macbook Pro (2012, non-retina) and I have the same issue.


    I went to the Genius Bar, and we went through the same steps I took before (deleting plist files, repairing permissions). The issue is system-wide; My admi account, Guests, new Users all experience it.


    We could not solve the issue. The Genius' best answer was that this generation might have a bug in its particular build of 10.7.4. I ultimately had a choice of waiting for Apple to discover the bug, or live with it.



    I'm about to attempt a reinstall of Lion. I doubt it will help with anything, since I can't download a fresh copy from the App Store (apparently having 10.7.4 preinstalled means I can never have access to a fresh copy).


    I'm concerned, as I have no idea if this sort of issue is contained only to this preference, or if it can end up screwing with me later on, say in the middle of an iPad app I'm developing.



    The only work-around I can suggest: Don't close System Preferences for the entire time the Mac is on. If you log out or reboot, you'll have to set up your folders again, but if you never close System Preferences, they will remain.

  • thomas280 Level 1 Level 1

    You can install a fresh copy of lion. Instructions are on

  • TJ Skywasher Level 1 Level 1

    I'll wait till Mountain Lion comes out in the next couple of weeks see if that solves the issue, if not then I'll consider re-installing Mac OS X.

  • dariusenigma Level 1 Level 1



    I just tried the Lion Recovery, and it did not fix the issue.

  • Yan Zhu Level 1 Level 1

    I have the same issue...I just did a fresh install and update all patches as soon as the system up. I didn't install any thing. So far it's stable...

  • Dantre Level 1 Level 1

    Same problem here, but under Mountain Lion. Have checked permissions, reinstalled ML from Recovery, and tried the terminal instructions as per earlier post, but none of my changes to Folders in Screensavers/Desktop "stick."


    I think the bug is more serious and can under certain conditions prevent start up. In the left hand menu under iPhoto one can select either events (yellow icons) or album/folders (blue icons). I've found that if I have selected an iPhoto event for my desktop the system will freeze on restart. I get the "users" log-in screen, can enter my password, but after accepting my password, the system will freeze on a black screen. I have to hardstart.

  • dariusenigma Level 1 Level 1

    I did a 7 pass erase on my hard drive, then a clean install of mountain lion.


    Same thing.

  • Dantre Level 1 Level 1

    oops... it's selecting iPhoto folders (blue icons) that does it; not the events. Got myself reversed there... apologies.

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