Application launching woes

Over in this forum post, reader quinnzz posts about issues opening certain applications:

Lately my Macbook Pro has been acting quite odd. For some reason, many of the Apple applications (iPhoto, iMovie, Final Cut, even Disk Utility) do not open at all. They just bounce in the dock once or twice and then cease trying to start up. There is no error message. Some Apple apps, like Safari, iTunes, Mail, and iChat, work fine, but most of them do not. Also, I noticed Software Update wasn’t running so I checked on it in system prefs. When I click on the icon an error message comes up, stating: “Could not load Software Update preference pane.” Any ideas?

My first suggestion: Login as another user to see if those problems continued. Unfortunately, quinnzz’s System Preferences application crashed when he tried that. A quick glance at Console (in Applications -> Utilities) showed that the crashes referenced a missing “DiscRecording” framework. In that case, I recommended a new course of action—back up and reinstall, as it seemed a key piece of the system was damaged. Unfortunately, quinnzz hasn’t posted a follow-up in the forum, so it’s unclear if the problem was resolved or not.

However, in that same thread, several other forum members jumped in to post that they were having issues running applications that utilize the Code Fragment Manager (CFM). This would include applications running under the Rosetta emulation technology (PowerPC apps on Intel-based machines, like Office 2004) as well as other Carbon (non- Cocoa ) applications. (System Preferences is one.) The issues seem to have started with the QuickTime 7.2 update (which Apple is looking into ) and/or the iTunes 7.3.1 update.

A couple of posts referenced a possible solution, based on this post on Apple’s discussion site as well as this blog entry. If you’re having this issue, download the 10.4.10 combined update, reboot and then login in Safe mode (holding down the Shift key while logging in), use Disk Utility to repair permissions, then run the installer and reboot when it completes.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, you might have to try a brute force approach in Terminal, as Apple documented in this Apple Support document. Open Terminal and type sudo update_prebinding -root / -force, providing your password when prompted. When the process completes in a few minutes, reboot the computer. Note that you should try this after reinstalling the 10.4.10 combined update. Also, note that Apple’s document only refers to issues with Rosetta applications, though others were reporting issues with both Rosetta and Carbon applications.

Finally, if none of the above worked, and you’re a registered Apple Developer who has installed the Java 6 beta, you may have to remove that, too. You can find instructions for doing so in this post in the same Apple Discussions thread as linked above. Note that those instructions are quite brief and assume a level of knowledge that would come with installing a beta version of Java in the first place.

If you’ve tried everything and you find you can’t run Rosetta and/or CFM applications, then you may have to resort to an archive and reinstall/reupdate of OS X. Remember to update your backup first, just in case things go wrong.

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