Only Administrator Can Use Some Apps

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Hi All!
I am really sorry to pester you all with this problem, but I am stumped. On my wife's Mid 2006 MacBook Pro, running OS X 10.6.8, all of a sudden two of the three user accounts can not properly use some applications. Only the administrator account can use the apps successfully.

I had posted these problems separately last week before I realized it was a global problem & when I thought they were separate glitches. Sorry about that!

At first, I noticed that Stickies.app would not save her new stickies, nor save color changes, re-arrangements & stuff like that. Preferences for Stickies also did not work. I had to give "Everyone" permission to use the program in the Info pane's Sharing & Permissions in order for the program to save her changes. I know that ain't quite right!

Then Safari would not save changes, such as Preferences, Home Page changes, new bookmarks; and it would not clear data or reset. No changes to the Info pane permissions & access helped. We're still stuck on this one.

Adobe Flash will not let the user clear data. Removing & re-installing it did not help. Removing it and removing the Library/Macromedia folder also didn't solve the problem.

Now, I find that Text Edit is wonky, as is Preview app and iTunes- All are basically exhibiting the same symptoms. Preference changes will not save, new files will not save and some access to features is denied. I didn't check every program on the computer.

Looking at Info pane shows that the individual users do have permission to read-write for each application. I also tried a few Disk Utility permission repairs, as well as repairing from within Onyx. Onxy maintenance scripts and cleaning of everything on the lists didn't help. I ran updated ClamX AV to see if some evil program was running around wrecking stuff. Nothing was found.

A couple that do work properly are Virtual Box (and the virtual Windows inside) and Office 2004 programs.

This all started on the same day.
So, I am now wondering it there was some sort of change, perhaps access or permission based, made somewhere to the Administrator account to block the other programs from proper use?

A bunch of hours' worth of searching on line came up with some articles about re-installing the OS. If at all possible, I'd like to avoid wiping out the hard disk and re-installing her files. But...

And, if I do end up reinstalling OS X 10.6, will the existing software updates still be available for download since Apple stopped issuing updates for 10.6? (I could not find out this answer at Apple.)

I can't go to the next OS X version for her. The computer's not compatible past 10.6.8 (according to the Apple site).

Some articles talked about using Terminal CHMOD -RN and some other commands to fix permission & access. But, each had people arguing with each other about syntax & stuff, so I got confused really fast. And, there's no way I'm going to mess with any Terminal commands without advice from you folks.

Again, I apologize for pestering you all today and for my earlier individual posts when I thought it was a bunch of separate issues.

What do you all think my next step should be?

Thanks For Your Ideas!
Paul
 
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Right-click on the Applications folder and select "Get Info". At the bottom, you should see the same as what's in my screen cap below (from an admin account).
screenshot_76.png

If yours is different at all, please post a screen cap or list what it says exactly so we can see if something is amiss. This is fixable, but I'd like to dig some more to ascertain what's going on.

One point to make... be sure you are using the root Applications folder, found in Macintosh HD/Applications. Users can also have their own Applications folder found in their home directory, and typically only that user can access and run those apps.
 
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I'll be out for a bit, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend trying the app ACL Fix. It hasn't been updated in some time, but I can vouch for it being compatible with Snow Leopard. This should set things straight.
ACL Fix for Mac | MacUpdate
 
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Thank You LifeIsABeach for taking time to help out.

Thanks to your advice, I think we're almost there! Nearly all programs are now working fine.

My Get Info access list was identical to yours, but I noticed the Modified date was 02-17-2015. That is the date the problems started. Interestingly, nothing was changed in Applications folder (by us anyway. Who knows if a program updated & changed the Modified date??)

I took your advice and ran ACL Fix. It worked great. Unfortunately, the log file came back empty. I was curious to look at it. Almost all of the offending programs are now working perfectly.

The only problems that remain, as far as I can find are:

Adobe Flash still refuses to clear Local Storage and Browsing Data & Settings except when logged into the administrator account. The error message is attached to this reply.

I could not find any folders saying Adobe Flash Player to check the Get Info access list..
I checked for Get Info for Macromedia. From in the user accounts (non administrator) it has the user as Read/Write & Everyone as Read Only. From the administrator's library it has administrator's name as Read & Write and Everyone as Read Only.
Those access settings match my computer which will allow all users to clear the data via System Preferences

I don't know where Adobe Flash stores this data, so I could not check that folder to see if data is cleared from user's folders for Flash when the administrator clears the data. I am able to delete the Macromedia folder form Library/Preferences and I am successful in saving storage settings.

I did try removing Flash Player and Macromedia once again to see if a reinstallation after a re-start of the computer would help. No luck. The same symptoms remain.

Safari is still a bit wonky. Some of the problems are fixed and it developed a new problem. It will now save a new home page. It will also save a new bookmark, neither of which it would do before ACL Fix.

But, in all except the administrator account it still will not clear "Cookies & Other Website Data". If the button is pushed to clear the data, the list repopulates immediately. For example, if it says 8 sites have stored data & I clear it, immediately all 8 will return. Oddly, if I go to a web site that diid not have anything on the list of data and clear the data, when it repopulates, the original data comes back, with new stuff from the site I'm currently on.

If I go to 'Details" and click Remove All, they come back. But if I click them one-by-one & click Remove, they stay gone. Checking Safari/Local Storage, stuff remains, but it remains on my computer too. Reset Safari does not remove stored data, and it does not on my computer either so maybe that is normal.

The new thing Safari is doing is to reload the page after it initially loads. It will only do this once per page. And, it will only do this on the non-administrator accounts.

Get Info for Safari shows that System has Read & Write Wheel has Read Only and Everyone has Read Only. The individual users aren't listed. For fun, I checked my computer and its permissions for Safari match my wife's.

Your suggestion of using ACL Fix really helped a lot, as if by magic. I'd love to get rid of the lingering problems especially since they involve web sites leaving stuff laying around my wife's computer.

Again, i sure appreciate your help. I am learning quite a bit. Any day one can learn something new is a good day!

Paul

View attachment Adobe Flash Error Message.pdf

View attachment Applications Root Screen Shot Grace's Computer 02-21-2015.pdf
 
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The next thing to try ACL Fix on is the User accounts. I would start with just the Library folder in each user account, then the root Library folder if need be. (EDIT: if you used it before just on individual apps, run it on the Applications folder instead).

It should also be mentioned that you should have a backup in place... just in case something goes horribly awry. Very low risk, but you never know.

One other thing to consider is that you may have a failing hard drive that led to all this happening. A low probability perhaps, but something to look into. The basic SMART testing done by Onyx and Disk Utility aren't thorough and usually only warn off when the drive is in its death throes. You can do more advanced SMART testing with DriveDx, SMART Utility, or SMART Reporter. I use and prefer DriveDx, but you can't go wrong with any of these. SMART Utility's UI is a but awkward and the developer has been promising to overhaul it for far too long. All of these have a free trial. You'll want to run the "long" or "full" SMART test on your drive. This can take a couple hours, but a much more thorough analysis will be done of the drive's health.
 
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One Step Closer!

Thanks for your thoughts & ideas, LifeIsABeach. I am sorry for my delayed reply. I got called away & am just now able to try out your suggestions.

For Safari I think you solved the problems
I used ACL Fix on each User/Library (Not the administrator's since it works fine)
ACL Fix Log reported "chmod" /Users/User's Name/Library : Permissions denied

After the Library fix, Safari will once again let each user save preferences, such as changing the home page. All preferences stayed set even after several restarts.

But, the website data still popped back as soon as it was cleared. via these steps in order:
Safari - Reset
Then Safari - Empty Cache
Then Safari - Preferences - Privacy - Remove All Website Data or by opening the sub window & choosing Remove All

All the data that was cleared by Remove All popped right back, even if I did not go to the page that left the data this session. (I worded that a bit clunky. For example, if I went to vintageccm.com, it will leave vintageccm and MrBike behind. If I clear everything and close Safari, the open it and go to, for example, Mac-Forums.com, MrBike & VintageCCM return, along with any new stuff.)

I found the data in User Name/Library/Cahces/Metadata/Safari and did an ACL Fix on each user's Metadata folder all by itself. The ACL FIx log simply reported "Done"

After that ACL fix, I think that problem is also solved...
Now, I can clear the data (after reset and cache clearing) by using Preferences - Privacy - Clear Website Data.

A few lingering items remain in User/Library/Local Storage after a reset, cache clearing & website data removal. eBay, Amazon & Google leave many things behind even if the sites are not visited.

But, items remain in Local Storage on the administrator's account and on my MacBook Pro as well. That must be normal Safari behavior.

For Adobe Flash I am still stumped. It's still refusing to clear its data. The same error message I posted a screen shot of still appears on the two user accounts, but not the administrator.

The part of the error message telling me the files are locked by another program has me confused, since browsers and media players are ll closed. I studied Activity monitor very thoroughly for signs of open programs which may be using Flash.

Next, I tried repeating the ACL fixes for Macromedia folders without success. I don't know any other folders to try to fix the ACLs on.

I'll buy & run DriveDX when I can have my wife's computer for a few hours. If no problems show up, at least we can keep an eye on the drive & hopefully replace it before it quits completely and becomes an emergency fix.

So To Summarize-
Almost every program is working fine in every user account.
The sole exception is clearing Adobe Flash stored data.

Thanks Again for sticking with me on this unusual problem! I truly appreciate your help & the knowledge I gain. (I'm sure others do also!)
Paul
 
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Just keep working backwards up the tree of folders. You may have to just run it on the entire user account(s) and maybe even the entire hard drive (just drop Macintosh HD in the app). That actually may be best to try because if there is a fatal flaw in the permissions from the root level, it may keep propagating back down into the user accounts. (EDIT: yes, do that... I haven't used this app in so long, I forgot that I have in fact done that myself and recommended the same here).

Also, no need to buy DriveDx outright. It has a free trial that you can take advantage of before deciding to do so. I also forgot to mention that to get a definitive answer on a drive's health, running a tool that can check each sector on the drive can be done with tools like TechTool Pro. These aren't cheap though.
 
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Thank You LifeIsABeach!

I'll try sending the HD to ACL Fix and see what happens. It may be a few days until I'm home long enough to give it a go, but I'll be sure to report back & let you know that the problem is solved. (I have faith!)

I will also get the trial of DriveDX and test it out. I have a program that came with my computer called tech Tool Deluxe. I can try that, too just to see if it finds something. Truthfully, I've never used it before.
 
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Thank You LifeIsABeach!

I'll try sending the HD to ACL Fix and see what happens. It may be a few days until I'm home long enough to give it a go, but I'll be sure to report back & let you know that the problem is solved. (I have faith!)

I will also get the trial of DriveDX and test it out. I have a program that came with my computer called tech Tool Deluxe. I can try that, too just to see if it finds something. Truthfully, I've never used it before.

TechTool Deluxe is a light version of TechTool Pro. If it has the option to do a surface scan, that will be definitive as to the health of the drive. It takes quite a bit of time to run it though.
 
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Good Morning! (Or afternoon, or...)
I apologize for not answering in the last few days. They've been quite wacky, so I've had no computer time.

As soon as things settle down, I will use Tech Tool and see what I find. I'll also be sure to follow your suggestion about sending the HD to ACL FIx. (After a fresh, new re-clone.)
I'll be sure to report back.
Thanks Again!
Paul
 

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