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Standalone Utility: Administration and Repair

Deactivating Corrupt System Preference Files

You can instruct the standalone utility to verify all system-wide preference files which affect all user accounts, and deactivate all files which are detected from the outside to be corrupt. Nothing will be deleted during this step. The damaged files will be deactivated by renaming them, so that they can no longer have any effect on macOS and applications which use the affected preferences. This is equivalent to a strongly simplified version of the feature User > Preferences > Check Files of TinkerTool System, limited to system-wide settings.

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 1 to call the function Deactivate Corrupt System Preference Files.
  3. Wait until the final results of the verification or repair steps are shown on screen.

Deleting System-Wide Input Managers

This function is equivalent to the item Delete User-Related Input Managers of the menu Work with User Accounts. Here, all Input Managers which are installed system-wide and affect all users will be removed, however. Perform the following steps to delete all Input Managers which have been installed system-wide without looking at them:

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 2 to call the function Delete System-Wide Input Managers.
  3. Wait until the final results of the deletion are shown on screen.

Detailed notes on the function of Input Managers can be found in the chapter Work with User Accounts.

Deactivating System-Related Caches

This function is equivalent to the item Deactivate User-Related Caches of the menu Work with User Accounts. Here, all caches will be deactivated which are active system-wide for all users. Perform the following steps to annul all system-wide caches temporarily or permanently:

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 3 to call the function Deactivate System-Related Caches.
  3. Wait until the final results of the deactivation are shown on screen.

Detailed notes on the function of caches can be found in the equally named chapter.

macOS distinguishes between two internal cache areas for system-wide tasks. The standalone utility is respecting this. For this reason, certain status and error messages of this feature might appear on screen twice. This behavior is normal.

The internal caches of the operating system won’t be deactivated if the feature System Integrity Protection has not been switched off for your computer.

Reactivating System-Related Caches

After removing the contents of system-wide caches, macOS will run slower because the caches must be rebuilt internally. If deactivation of caches (from the previous section) did not have the expected success, the affected data can be restored completely by a simple key press, avoiding loss of performance.

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 4 to call the function Reactivate System-Related Caches.
  3. Wait until the final results of the reactivation are shown on screen.

macOS distinguishes between two internal cache areas for system-wide tasks. The standalone utility is respecting this. For this reason, certain status and error messages of this feature might appear on screen twice. This behavior is normal.

Rebuilding XPC Helper Caches

As noted in the chapter The Pane Caches, macOS makes extensive use of Cross-Process Communication, using Apple’s XPC technology. In cases where the caches of the operating system needed by XPC have been damaged or removed, many system-related services may fail. This can even include TinkerTool System, so you might not always be capable of repairing the XPC helper caches with the full application. If this should happen, you can still repair the system via the Standalone Utility, by performing the following steps:

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 5 to call the function Rebuild XPC Cache.
  3. Wait until the rebuild procedure has completed and you see a confirmation message on screen.

Rebuilding the XPC helper caches can take a few minutes. During this time, no new messages appear on screen.

Resetting Managed Preferences (MCX)

If your computer is part of a macOS network where management features (MCX) or the Profile Manager of macOS Server are used, situations can arise where the management is not working as expected. A restriction which is defined via management might not become active on a computer, or, the other way around, a limitation which is no longer predefined by management is still blocked on a certain computer. Such problems can be resolved by resetting all managed preferences. If the system is still connected with the managed network, the computer will learn the managed settings anew, and will activate them again with an up-to-date state. If the system is no longer connected with the network, the managed settings will be released and can then be modified locally again. Perform the following steps to reset the managed preferences:

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 6 to call the function Reset Managed Preferences (MCX).
  3. Wait until the final results of the reset procedure are shown on screen.

Resetting the Login Screen

Technical issues with the reliability of the login screen can occur. It is possible that invalid preference settings for this screen create a situation where successful logins at the graphical user interface become impossible. This can make the system basically inoperable. You can resolve such a problem by resetting all preferences of the login screen to clean factory settings. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 7 to call the function Reset Login Screen.
  3. Wait until the final results of the reset procedure are shown on screen.

Removing Custom Startup Objects

Many user applications which provide services at the system or hardware level often install additional programs in the operating system which become active automatically in the background during each startup. We use the term Custom Startup Objects for such services. Has such an application been removed “improperly”, i.e. without using the official uninstaller of its vendor, obsolete startup objects may remain in the system which are no longer of real use. These objects may consume resources or can even cause problems. When using the macOS Migration Assistant, it could also happen that inappropriate startup objects are unintentionally taken over from an old onto a new computer.

The standalone utility can be used to display all common types of system-wide custom startup objects, removing them if required.

The term “custom” should indicate that we are speaking about a startup object which is not part of the official installation of macOS, but has been installed by a third-party application. The standalone utility intentionally does not support any operations on built-in startup objects which are part of macOS.

Attention The manual removal of startup objects should be used in cases of emergency only, if you know that a certain object is causing technical problems and cannot be removed by other means (e.g. by an uninstaller of its vendor). For technical reasons, the standalone application cannot detect any interdependencies between startup objects, or assess if a startup object is fulfilling an important service.

Perform the following steps to remove custom startup objects manually:

  1. In the main menu, type 3 to choose Administration and Repair.
  2. Type 8 to call the function Remove Custom Startup Objects.

A table like the following will appear. It is divided into three sections:

Startup objects compatible with Mac OS X Tiger and earlier systems:
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        [1]        Object 1
        [2]        Object 2
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General startup objects:
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        [3]        org.example.three
        [4]        net.example.four
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Startup objects per login session:
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        [5]        com.some-company.agent
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Enter the number of the object you would like to remove or [0] to cancel:

The first section shows objects stored in a technical form which can be used by Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and by later versions of macOS. These objects are usually described by clear text, based on the descriptions provided by their vendors. The second section contains “more up-to-date” objects which are incompatible with Tiger and become active during each startup of macOS. The third section lists objects also running in the background, but becoming active not at startup time but for each new login session. Note that the third section does not refer to login items of users, but to system-wide services per user which cannot be modified by these users. The second and third section use unique identification names for each of the objects, complying with a naming scheme defined by Apple. Some of the tables might be empty, in case no associated objects are installed on your computer.

The objects are numbered consecutively. After entering the shown number and pressing the return key, the selected object will be removed from the computer. After that, the table will be displayed again (possibly using new numbers), giving you the chance to remove additional objects. If you don’t like to delete anything, enter a value of 0.