Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

Posted
8 March 2009 @ 6pm

Ghosts in the Mailbox

So, Mail won’t commit any preferences changes.

Account changes roll back at next launch: If I add, rename, or delete accounts, it “takes” the change, but as soon as I quit and relaunch, it reverts it: added accounts disappear, deleted ones are resurrected. I’ve watched the plist file live as Mail does the delete: it removes the account entry, but the file is getting reverted somehow.

Any other changes revert immediately: changing the mail check interval, then closing preferences, and re-opening shows the old interval. Update: they’re changing on disk when I change the option, and reverting on disk when the window closes.

Permissions on ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist: 600, and my user is the owner.

Ideas? I’ve tried last night’s backup of Library/Mail and the mail.plist (thanks to rooSwitch for letting me keep my existing working set around), to no avail.

MobileMe sync is on: preferences, but not Mail Accounts. I’ve disabled it, no changes. OS X 10.5.6, nothing particularly weird about the machine’s config. Not seeing this with any other applications. 200 GB free disk space, in case anyone tries to link this. Google is giving me nothing useful.

Update: @boredzo asked about Bundles and InputManagers: no, and yes, respectively; no change in behaviour with InputManagers moved aside.

Some preferences won’t even bother looking like they commit: checkboxes are frozen in their current state, and immediately revert to whatever they’re set to when you try changing them. Also, Preferences always opens to Signatures, no matter what tab I’m viewing when I close it.

@ryannielsen asked about fs_usage: yep, the preferences on disk change for account changes and other options, and plutil dumps into Changes show the options changing. They revert as soon as I close the preferences window. fseventer isn’t showing any other FS movement, so it must be writing out the bad one from in-memory copies.

Update Two: found it. A binary-type search of ~/Library found two old, old Mail preferences in ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost. No idea why they were being used, but they seem to override anything in ~/Library/Preferences.