Dock and Finder frozen on MAC with fully updated SnowLeopard

From time to time I encounter some really nasty and irritating problems… most often they are illogical and typically related to conditions over which I have no control…
One such problem occurred to me today after the workshop I had together with Piotr Walczyszyn.

Triggered by something completely unapparent to me and in a way unlike something I had seen before, the Finder App and the entire Dock on my 4 days old MacBook Pro froze… but ONLY when I tried to start the build-in Mail App.

No matter how many KillAll I exposed the poor Dock to in the Terminal and no matter how many Relaunches of the Finder app, just as little did it help… there were no other solution every time I wanted to check email, but to restart… however, this didn’t solve the problem satisfactorily because every time Mail tried to spawn a Window as a response to me trying to Reply or Forward an email… nothing happened !!

After some messing around I found the “com.apple.dock.plist” system file which I tried to remove followed by what I had decided would become the very last KillAll Dock this afternoon.

Immediately following a completed KillAll (and intrinsic Relaunch of the Dock) everything just worked perfectly. I had lost my preferences for the Dock, but since it was a meager 4 days since I had bought the damn thing, not much was lost and all my Dock preferences could be recreated in less than a minute.

My next solution would have been to reinstall / repair the Operating System from System Disk, so naturally I was happy to find this solution which is why I decided to share it…

The file to delete can be found here: “[User]/Library/Preferences/” (where User should be replaced by your User’s ID).

Good luck taming your SnowLeopard !