Nonintuitive and Seamful
January 25, 2008 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Brand new iMac -- After I set up Parent Controls on a new account, my dashboard disappeared. I can't get it back. I found a long thread on the subject at, but none of the solutions worked for me. So - here is my question about Time Machine...

I thought I was supposed to be able to restore my entire Mac to a previous state, right? I can't figure out how to do it. I can restore files and folders, but what I want to do is go back in time and restore my entire Mac, all things considered, to 4:00PM today. How do I do that?

If that's impossible - does anyone have any suggestions about getting the dashboard back that I may not have tried?
posted by crapples to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
A few questions to help diagnose your problem.

Open your Applications folder and look for the Dashboard icon. What happens when you double-click on it? I'm assuming that it simply doesn't launch. But let me know if that's not the case.

When you enabled Parental Controls, did you create a new user account or are you using the admin account? Unless you chose the latter, you will have in effect barred yourself from being able to run admin privileges, including access to all applications. There's an advisory to that effect:

"If you enable parental controls for this user account, the account cannot be used to administer the computer."

But this can be undone in a jiffy.

Option 1 - If you want to continue to have PCs on your admin account but want to re-enable Dashboard

1. Open Parental Controls preferences.

2. Select the account you want to modify, and then click the System button.

3. Select the applications you want to approve in the “Check the applications to allow” section. Click the triangle next to items in the list to view individual applications or utilities. Select the checkbox next to an item to select everything in it. Make sure that Dashboard is enabled.

Option 2 - Restore your admin account to its non PC state

1. In System Preferences, choose "Accounts" and then choose your admin account from the list, clicking on it once.
2. Uncheck "Enable Parental Controls"
3. Create a separate user account that you will use for PC and set it up using set #3 in Option 1.

Hope this helps.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 8:01 PM on January 25, 2008

Errr...using "point" #3 in Option 1.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 8:04 PM on January 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the response. My account is an Admin account and it does not have parent controls on it. This problem started right after I set up an account for my kid that did have PC on it. This is a known issue that is discussed at length on the Apple support boards, and unfortunately the solution that you've presented does not solve the problem.

Answer to your question: The screen dims slightly, the "+" appears on the bottom left. There are no widgets on the screen at all. If I click the "plus" and try to drag a widget to the dashboard layer, it instantly disappears and I'm returned to the normal desktop.

SO - What I really want to know is: How can I take my entire system back in time using Time Machine?
posted by crapples at 8:21 PM on January 25, 2008

This might be helpful.
posted by ddaavviidd at 8:46 PM on January 25, 2008

Anything interesting in your Console? Perhaps a Dashboard crash log in Crash Reporter's logs?
posted by evariste at 11:01 PM on January 25, 2008

This is most likely your problem. Basically, Leopard + Parental Controls + Fast User Switching = b0rked Dashboard. I encountered it soon after I installed Leopard on my compy. It seems they've since suggested a solution, though (when I had the problem the solution was "don't enable fast user switching," which was too little, too late). Namely:
1) Temporarily deselect Parental Controls' "Only allow selected applications" option in the account(s) that use it via Parental Controls preferences in System Preferences. This will restore access to widgets for all users.

2) Re-enable Parental Controls' "Only allow selected applications" for the account(s) that use it.
Good luck! No advice on the full system restore, though. Sry.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:24 AM on January 26, 2008

Ooh, looks like ddaavviidd got the full system restore thing. That'll come in handy. Thanks!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:25 AM on January 26, 2008

In conjunction with ddaavviidd's link you may find this helpful for future use. You can use the Restore function in Disk Utility with your Leopard DVD to make the Time Machine drive bootable so you can restore from the TM drive without needing the DVD. I just did that yesterday. But you need to start from a blank drive from what I understand.
posted by 6550 at 7:35 AM on January 26, 2008

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