Check MacOS X Preference Files

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Johnathon Nathan is a prolific developer of Applescripts and utlities for the Mac; there are 29 listed on his web page, including "Preferential Treatment", the subject of this review.

Preferential Treatment is a healer of bunged-up preference files. There is a utility that comes with MacOS X called "plutil" which does a very basic validity check on preference files. Preferential Treatment is a "wrapper" of plutil — a nicer interface — which lists suspect files and allows you to reveal them in the Finder or move them to the trash. It'll also allow you to open them in the application of your choice and to save the results of a scan to a text file. Trashing a corrupt preference file is generally safe, since when the associated application is next opened it will create a new one with default values.

Preferential Treatment is a run-only program available as freeware under the GPL. It requires MacOS X, and there are issues to do with permissions that need to be understood before trying it. It has been reviewed and commented upon in a number of Mac publications, has been downloaded tens of thousands of times, and has achieved a 4.8 out of 5 rating from those who have rated it. Corrupt preference files can be the cause of application misbehavior: this is a good tool to have on hand to find out if preference files are causing problems on your Mac.

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