Apps Crashing in Mac OS X Snow Leopard

by Eric Pena on September 25, 2009

Apps crashing

After upgrading my MacBook Pro to Mac OS X Snow Leopard, I immediately noticed many of my applications keep crashing a few minutes after using them. Some of these apps are Adobe Photoshop CS4, Firefox, SnapNDrag and even Apple’s own Mail and Disk Utility. I haven’t tested all my apps yet but there could be more as I have seen in various Internet forums where many users are having the same problems with many other applications. You can check

I tried many suggestions but none of them seems to work. Finally, I came across one suggestion that worked for me albeit requiring some manual tweaking to get back my original application settings. I think something got corrupted after the upgrade.

What I did was create a new User Account.


The problem with creating a new user account is that it also create its own preferences, desktop items, and so forth. All your previous application configurations are lost and you have to re-create them again. Not even doing a Snow Leopard clean install and migrating your old user account solves the problem since the user account preferences itself is corrupted. The only way is to manually copy all your old user account sub-folders (Desktop, Document, Movies, Music, Pictures, etc.) except the Library folder to the new user account.

Note: You cannot just copy the entire Library folder under your user account because some files are being used by the system.

But before you can do that, you need to change the permission of the old user account folder.

  1. Right-click on the folder and click “Get Info“.
  2. Click on the padlock icon at the bottom and enter your system password.
  3. permissions

  4. Click on the “+” sign to add your new user account and change the Privilege to “Read & Write“.
  5. Select the newly added account and click on the “gear” symbol drop-down and click “Apply to all items…“.
  6. You can now copy the contents of the old user account sub-folders (Desktop, Documents, etc.) to the same sub-folders in your new account.

You can do the same to the important Library sub-folders such as some of the application folders under Application Support in order to get back your old customized settings of some of your apps. You have to do it to your Address Book, Mail, Safari and/or Firefox Bookmarks, etc.

Using Target Disk Mode to Copy the Library Folder

If you have an extra Mac or even a Hackintosh, you can use Target Disk Mode to copy the Library folder from your old user account to the new one. Just connect the two computers with a Firewire cable. With the other Mac or Hackintosh already up and running, start your Mac and press and hold the “T” key until it displays the Firewire sysmbol on the screen. From the other Mac or Hackintosh, you can now view and access the disk drive on your Mac as if it is part of the local drive. Copy the Library folder from your old user account to the new one. Make sure you have the proper permission before you copy the Library folder.

Using Your iPhone to Sync Your Address Book, Mail Accounts, Etc., to Your Mac

If you don’t have an extra Mac or Hackintosh to make use of Target Disk Mode but you do have an iPhone, then you can just connect your iPhone to your Mac and sync your Address Book, Calendar, Safari Bookmarks, Notes, and Mail Accounts. Just make sure you have the latest info on your iPhone. If not, then just login again to your old user account and sync your iPhone. Just hope iTunes is not one of the apps crashing when using that user account. Then login back to your new user account and sync your iPhone again.


Now hopefully you aren’t experiencing application crashes anymore and you have retained your old preferences and custimizations.

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