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I don't want my apps to open previous windows. When I go into Prefs/General and unclick "Restore windows when quitting...," and close preferences, it doesn't save it. When I re-open Prefs/General, it's checked again.

I can't change the preferences in anything. Safari keeps opening the same last two windows and when I go into Safari Preferences and change "New tabs open with:" to 'Home Page'; once I close and open up again, it's back to 'Top Sites.'

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This sounds like a bug that Apple would need to fix, however, it could also be a permissions problem. Can you open Console.app, reproduce this, and report any error messages that appear in Console? –  bneely Aug 27 '11 at 17:48
    
bneely...sorry that's out of my league. I can open Console.app (why are there two?) but after that I'm staring at a box of rocks. This is a new MacBook Air and I have been having some permissions problems that were caused when the Apple Store created a "test" account to transfer files. Might be time for another one-to-one visit. Thanks! –  KLOS Aug 27 '11 at 20:25
    
I would check ~/Library/ and ~/Library/Preference's permissions so you can read and write, because that's where all the preferences are stored. –  Vervious Aug 28 '11 at 4:54
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1 Answer

Need to reset permissions? Try the following:

  1. Turn off computer
  2. Reboot Mac into Recovery (press and hold Command+R when you hear the chimes until a screen loads)
  3. Select "Disk Utility" enter image description here
  4. Select your "Macintosh HD" volume on the left and press "Repair Disk Permissions" enter image description here
  5. Once that has finished, reboot your computer
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