Reader James Gibson’s kids have been up to mischief and his Mac has suffered. He writes:
While my wife and kids were playing online Pony games on the computer, she left them unattended for a few minutes. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, except she had forgotten to log them in under their “kids” account, and they were “playing” under the admin account.
Later that evening when doing some work with the iBook running on battery, I wanted to tweak a few energy settings and was surprised to see that most of the icons in the System Preferences App were absent; in their place were file-looking icons containing tiny little system preferences icons at the bottom corner of each file-looking icon! All the preferences still work, but I’d sure like the regular icons back.
It’s pretty clear that, in the absence of parental supervision, the kids fired up Terminal, entered a command that I dare not provide in public, and, after hosing your preferencepane icons and having a hearty laugh over it, spent the rest of their time practicing their best “who me?” expressions.
Your kids know the solution to this one because they’re born with this sort of inate knowledge but, because they understand that they’d become your personal tech support service were they to reveal the depths of the knowledge, you’re unlikely to get anything out of them.
However, as a one-time preschool teacher I have an in with kids so am able to extract this kind of information fairly easily. A four-year-old from down the block provides today’s answer:
go to ~/Library/Caches and get rid of com.apple.preferencepanes.cache
your cache file got corrupted and this will give you a new one that should make your icons okay again
oh, and if you don’t know because you’re so old and stuff, that ~ means your user folder
ps. don’t tell your kids that i told you this cuz we’re suppose to look all dumb and stuff around grown ups
pps. and in case your kids didn’t tell you we’re not really happy about this global warming thing. thanks a lot