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How to trash preferences

If an application in Mac OS X fails to load or exhibits strange behavior, a common way of fixing the problem is to trash preferences. But what does this mean?

Application preferences such as window layouts and sizes, user-selected options, etc, are all stored in a preferences file ending in .plist. There is a different file for each application. When you delete this file ("trash" it) and fire up the relevant application, the app will notice that the file is missing and create a new one with default preferences. This can solve many issues.

Below is a table of common professional applications and where their preference files are located (note that ~ refers to the current user's Home folder):

Final Cut Pro~/Library/
DVD Studio Pro~/Library/
Soundtrack Pro~/Library/
Apple Color~/Library/
Adobe Photoshop~/Library/Preferencescom.adobe.Photoshop.plist
Maya 7~/Library/Preferencescom.alias.Maya.7.0.plist
Maya 8~/Library/Preferencescom.alias.Maya.8.0.plist
Vue 5 Infinite~/Library/Preferencescom.e-onsoftware.vue5infinite.plist
Vue 6 Infinite~/Library/Preferencescom.e-onsoftware.vue6infinite.plist

Additional Final Cut Pro settings are stored in the ~/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data directory. You need to trash "Final Cut Pro 6.0 Preferences" (and any previous versions), "Final Cut Pro Obj Cache" and "Final Cut Pro Prof Cache".

After deleting the files, empty the trash and fire up the application again.

Update 4/4/08:
We now have an application called Preference Manager for trashing, backing up and restoring preferences.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Dec 25 2007 to Apple, Software, Final Cut Studio