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I have a friend who's having problems with her Mac. There are three user accounts on the machine, every time the admin account attempts to open an application (safari, pages, numbers, etc.) it quits unexpectedly in less than 30 seconds.
This is not an issue with the other two user accounts. The admin account is the only one having problems.
Have tried reinstalling the OS, the installation failed.
Have also tried System Updates, but that failed as well.
Any suggestions?

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"Have tried reinstalling the OS, the installation failed." Do you mean you failed to install the OS, or the OS reinstall went through but failed to fix the problem? Also, is it all apps that quit unexpectedly, or just a select few? – chrisaycock Mar 2 '11 at 3:36
when you "tried reinstalling the OS", do you mean you tried installing over what was already there or you formatted the partition first? – fideli Mar 2 '11 at 6:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try using the existing admin account to enable administrator privileges for one of the other accounts (or create a 4th account and give it admin privs). If that works better, use that account to fix up the original admin account.

If you can't keep System Preferences running long enough to enable admin privs on another account, then reboot the machine while holding down Cmd-S to enter "Single User Mode". This gives you a shell prompt with root privs. Follow the on-screen instructions to remount the boot drive read-write, then rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone && sync && reboot. This will cause the first time out-of-box setup assistant to run again, and you'll be able to create a new admin account from there.

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thanks for the answer, she still hasn't gotten the computer out of the shop yet (as far as I know) but I will tell her about that. – Nate Koppenhaver Mar 18 '11 at 21:09

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