Panther’s Mail: Freeze and then reset to defaults

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
January 7th, 2004 • 5:15 am

Speaking of Mac OS X’s forgetfulness

It now appears that Mac OS X’s bad habit of forgetting preference settings extends to individual applications as well… Today, I was in the middle of reading an e-mail message in Mail, while Mail was checking my accounts in the background, when all of a sudden everything in Mail froze, and the mouse pointer turned into the spinning pizza.

The rest of Mac OS X appeared to be unaffected, so I force-quit Mail, which was, of course, “not responding”. And I relaunched it.

Upon relaunching, Mail reopened the window of the message that I was reading (thanks, mate) and… nothing else. No Viewer Window. No Activity Viewer window. Nada.

I went to the “File” menu and opened a new Viewer Window. Mail opened an new Viewer Window… without the mailbox drawer on the side (which I always leave open), and with all the column settings back to their default values!

It’s bad enough that Mail doesn’t let you specify column view settings on a per-mailbox basis (which might help it remember them better). But this generalized forgetfulness of Mac OS X and its applications whenever some minor disruption (application crash or freeze) or hardware failure (system crash or power outage) is starting to get on my nerves.

It is not the first time that this freeze happens to me in Mail. But not all freezes lead to Mail forgetting its settings.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why these settings are not stored in a safe place that will be unaffected by application crashes or power outages. That’s what a hard drive is for, for heaven’s sakes. Is it because Mail and Mac OS X leave all kinds of preference files permanently open, thus causing them to become corrupted when minor disruptions occur?

It’s not like I change my Mail viewing settings every other hour… I set them once and for all, and I expect Mac OS X to remember them! This is all rather annoying.

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