Mysterious apps starting in Mac OS X

I’m baffled. I just had to go through a nightmare to get my TiBook (Titanium Powerbook, for those of you not Apple-heads) back to life and somehow it seems to launch background applications that I don’t want, and can’t track down.

The culprit I’m trying to figure out currently are the Palm Desktop, and the Palm Transport Monitor. The only place that locate shows the Palm Desktop application existing is in the Applications folder, which makes sense, but somehow it’s started up each time I log in. How?

The last four days, technologically, have been a huge drag, actually. On the last day of Waterside I decided to update my Mac OS X to the latest version, 10.2.5. Big, big mistake: I update the OS, restart, and within five minutes get a kernel panic. This is the Mac equivalent of the BSOD (blue screen of death) on Windows. it’s very, very bad news. Reboot and it happens again. Even Ric Ford talks about these kernel panics at his cool MacInTouch news site.

“Alright,” I think, “there’s some incompatibility with my default apps being started up, so I’ll nuke ’em all.” Except being able to log in to safe mode (boot with the SHIFT key depressed) and clean out everything from my PreferencePanes folders (where, as far as I can tell, all the startup apps are listed) didn’t stop the kernel panics.

So there I am, oodles of miles from my office, with a dead laptop. Big drag. I spent a few hours fiddling around while on the Amtrak home (a lovely ride, otherwise, particularly cruisin’ through the Sierras during a snowstorm) but couldn’t get anywhere.

So today I grab a few key files off the disk (thank you Apple for firewire target mode!) and then reinstall the original Jaguar onto the laptop (10.2) and download the 10.2.4 combo updater (which brings any version of 10.2.x up to 10.2.4). Now I’m running 10.2.4 and it’s stable and happy, as I hoped, except it wants to start up Transport Monitor when I log in, and fails with an error window, and also starts up Palm Desktop.

But I just don’t see how.

*sigh* A mystery, but having a fully functional laptop again is a huge positive in my book. Too bad it’s so ugly to get back here, but at least I preserved my User accounts and all my personal files and directories.

Anyone want to suggest a method of tracking down these two pesky apps so I can stomp on ’em and make them go away pronto? Thanks.

And a moral to this story: don’t apply updates on the road!

4 comments on “Mysterious apps starting in Mac OS X

  1. Hey, Dave, the Transport Monitor is in with the other Palm stuff, probably in a folder called “Palm” (that’s where it installs by default — mine was in the “Applications” folder). I found this page looking for “Transport Monitor” clues and although my problems weren’t anything as awful as yours, your post gave me enough to go on that I realized that reinstalling the Palm Desktop would probably fix the problem. I’ll let you know shortly — it’s re-installed and I have only to restart to find out if that silly “Transport Monitor will not start” error has gone away.

  2. Yep, that did it. No more nasty “Transport Monitor” error. FYI, I deleted the entire Palm folder before reinstalling the Palm Desktop application. Oh, and you’ll have to re-install StuffIt too — the engine got screwed up somehow and wouldn’t expand the .sit

  3. Hi Dave and Cindy –
    I was unable to get the uninstall to remove that nasty Transport Monitor bug, and am still unable to HotSync. I have tried the uninstall 3x and have been unable to HotSync since I upgraded to Tiger. Any other suggestions please?
    Thanks much!

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