My mac has a black box
July 1, 2006 9:03 AM   Subscribe

How can I get rid of a static odd translucent black box on my mac user account? Picture of it here

I think that it's possibly a widget that's gone wonky? I've not got any widgets open but my mate who has another profile on my mac says it's similar in size and location of a widget he had open (now closed). I can't click on it at all and if I do, it just clicks on whatever is underneath it.

Does anyone have a clue about how to get rid of it or what it is?? I've restarted a few times to see if it dissapears but to no success.
posted by floanna to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
That definitely looks widgety. Weird! Tried removing your mate's widget from Dashboard?
posted by evariste at 9:34 AM on July 1, 2006

Here's some info on disabling and enabling the dashboard. See if that makes a difference.
posted by boost ventilator at 9:41 AM on July 1, 2006

Looks like Growl.

Try going into System Preferences, and seeing if you've Growl in 'other'.
posted by jamescridland at 9:43 AM on July 1, 2006

it's either a bad widget, or monkeys will start worshiping that thing pretty soon
posted by matteo at 9:44 AM on July 1, 2006

I agree with jamescridland - looks like something growl-ish.
Is open? If so, do you have Mail.appetizer installed? I had a similar issue with it once. Upgraded Growl and Mail.appetizer and it went away.
posted by zerokey at 10:37 AM on July 1, 2006

If disabling Growl doesn't work (and it does look like Growl), try going to System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items, and disabling all the stuff that's loading itself when you log in. If that gets rid of the box, bring them back one by one until you find the culprit.
posted by chrismear at 11:19 AM on July 1, 2006

P.S. If this is your first time in the Login Items pane, note that you actually have to actually select each item and click the 'minus' button to remove it. The little checkbox next to each item (confusingly) just tells OS X to hide the apps when they load, it doesn't actually disable them.

And make a note of the apps you remove, 'cause you'll have to remember what they were when you come to adding them back again.
posted by chrismear at 11:23 AM on July 1, 2006

great answer Matteo
posted by CCK at 11:39 AM on July 1, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I'm running 10.3.9 so don't have dashboard/growl. I've now completely deleted all widgets AND removed all start up items on my profile but the bloomin thing is still there.

Any chance that it could be my mate's profile conflicting/causing it?

It's been on there for about a week and I don't think we've downloaded anything that might cause it.

Matteo - no chimps yet lol
posted by floanna at 11:44 AM on July 1, 2006

Install Developer Tools (possibly called XCode Tools these days) from your OS X CD and there's an app in there called Quartz Debug. Select Window List from the menu and your black square should be in there somewhere, with an indication of where it's from.
posted by cillit bang at 11:54 AM on July 1, 2006

Reboot with the shift key down - this is Safe boot. Does it show up then?
posted by filmgeek at 12:00 PM on July 1, 2006

Response by poster: Well I've done it.

I think that it was something in the startup items in mate's profile. There was a script called 'system events' in that that I suspect might have been the cause, although I don't know what it was for. It could have been the widget engine though because that was still in his startup items even though i'd deleted all of the widget items.

Thanks for you help guys :)
posted by floanna at 12:03 PM on July 1, 2006

System Events isn't a script, but an application that provides an AppleScript interface for a suite of commands. It ships with Mac OS X:


I'm not sure how that got into the list there, but it should definitely be removed, regardless of if it's the source of your problem or not. It won't do anything if you attempt to launch it.

However, System Events doesn't have this kind of UI, so I don't think it was the actual source of the problem. (This was a bit of a shotgun effort, so causality is murky.)

boost ventilator: Disabling the Dashboard should NOT have been an early suggestion. Jumping into the deep end. A few, more appropriate things to do first:

1. Examine console.log and system.log for clues.

2. As other posters suggested, check out the list of login items.

3. Create a new user and see if the issue exists for the clean account. If so, the shift key method is a good thing to try next (as was suggested, as well).

With this odd window visible, it would've also been interesting to see the output of:

$ ps -uxc

(And if inconclusive, with the -a switch, too.)

Just sayin' . . . hidden system hacks (even if it's done with Apple software) isn't the first step to give someone unless you know they've at least looked through log files first.
posted by secret about box at 7:07 PM on July 1, 2006

It wasn't System Events. That's supposed to be there and it doesn't produce a black box.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:31 PM on July 1, 2006

There is no reason for System Events to be in login items. It doesn't launch like normal Foundation or GUI apps.
posted by secret about box at 10:16 PM on July 1, 2006

Disabling the Dashboard should NOT have been an early suggestion.

I hear ya...bit of a cowboy move on my part. I just happened to be doing it myself when I read the question.
posted by boost ventilator at 12:46 PM on July 2, 2006

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