What follows is my real-time trouble-shooting of a Mac OS X problem I had two mornings ago. I was unable to find a solution online, but I did manage to get things back to normal. I’m posting this so that it might help someone else with a similar problem.
My OS X Dock isn’t there. It just vanished. Also:
- Command-tab doesn’t work
- My desktop is just black
- Files and folder appear on the desktop, but there’s no wallpaper
- Right-clicking on the desktop doesn’t do anything
- Mission Control/Exposé doesn’t work either
Trying to kill/restart the Dock process from the terminal doesn’t work:
$ killall Dock No matching processes belonging to you were found
Activity Monitor shows the
ReportCrash process running and using ~10-11% CPU. It respawns after I kill it.
Reboot doesn’t help. Everything is fine if I log in as another user.
System seems fine otherwise. If it wasn’t for LaunchBar, I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything on this MacBook.1
Seems that this issue started when I added a new folder of images (from Solid Color Backgrounds2) to the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane. The folder was full of 1000+ tiny 1×1px PNGs. Or maybe it was the folder of 1000+ 640×480px JPEGs. The folder was added to the preference pane just fine, but trying to use one of those 1000+ images as the desktop wallpaper didn’t work. That seems to be what killed the Dock and made the desktop non-functional.
I deleted the folder of images I had added to the preference pane. I removed both the reference to the folder in the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane and I deleted the folder itself from Finder. Shortly after that, the desktop appeared and the Dock came back.