Magical unticking ticky boxes in Leopard
May 20, 2008 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm running OS X Leopard on my beloved shiny Macbook and there's one thing that I find irritating. I love using F9, F10, F11 etc to bring up Exposé, Dashboard and the Desktop, but every now and again they suddenly stop functioning. It's normally when the computer's been on for a few days - I hit the keys and nothing happens. So I check in Keyboard Shortcuts of the System Prefs, and all the boxes in the "Dock, Exposé and Dashboard" are magically unticked. I can tick them again, and everything's fine and dandy for a few days. Alternatively, I can reboot and it's back to how it should be. (For a while...) Why is this happening, and how can I stop it?

I'm running 10.5.2, although I have a vague feeling it used to do this in Tiger as well. I've tried googling to no avail. So I'll be left with egg on my face if it's something really obvious, but barring nefarious computer-use whilst sleepwalking, or me regularly hitting a certain evil combination of keys without noticing, I can't work out why this is happening.

Please, O Marvellous Hive Mind. Enlighten me!
posted by badmoonrising to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
This happens to me occasionally, and only after I play World of Warcraft. There's a utility that purports to work around it, but I've never tried using it. I just doggedly go back in there and set the function keys again.
posted by majick at 3:12 PM on May 20, 2008

Response by poster: Huh. That's weird - I have never ever played WoW, so it can't be related to that. I'm glad to know it's not just me, though.

Any other suggestions would be gratefully received...
posted by badmoonrising at 3:43 PM on May 20, 2008

I'm running tiger, and it happens to me all the time. I don't play WoW, but I do leave my computer on for days at a time. I don't know why it happens so I don't have any answers, I'm just here to confirm that it isn't you.
posted by necessitas at 5:16 PM on May 20, 2008

It happens for me after I restore a file with Time Machine. The Genius Bar has no idea. I just reenable after I recover a file.
posted by :-) at 9:06 PM on May 20, 2008

Sounds like you might have a corrupt .plist file. Look in your Users folder for Systemprefs.plist (or something like that... I *gasp* no longer have access to a Mac, so am unable to give you the exact name of the file you should delete.). It could also be the HIToolbox .plist (if memory serves me correctly that's the Human Interface .plist). Usually what I do, is do a shotgun deletion of .plist files that may coincide with my issue. I do, however, know which ones I should NOT delete, so please use caution if you do decide this is a course of action you would take.

If you're unsure as to the necessity of a .plist file, you should drag it out of the folder (to your desktop or something) and then log in and out. If it mucks up a setting you need, you can simply copy it back (overwriting the new one), and get it back. You shouldn't mess around too much in the System Library though, stick to your Users/Library... If that doesn't fix it, and you have the time, you can troubleshoot it futher by creating a new user and see if the problem is recreated. If the issue goes away, it is something specific to your User, if the problem persists, it is indicative of a more global, system wide problem, that if it is a total nuisance, may only be remedied by downgrading/upgrading to another version of the OS, or by doing a reinstall of the system.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:33 AM on May 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, Debaser626. I had a poke around in the user library but the trouble is that the problem seems to occur randomly; if it were happening regularly then it would be easier to tell if moving any of the .plist files had done any good, but as it is I'll just have to wait and see.

Oh well, thanks for the answers everyone.
posted by badmoonrising at 8:35 AM on May 27, 2008

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