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My dad's computer is running OS X 10.5.8, and is almost always unable to open secure web pages from his account. It's not that he can't log in—it's that the servers never even send a reply. This is true from Safari 5.0.6, Firefox 12.0, SeaMonkey 2.13.1, and telnet to port 443. All three browsers report that they are unable to establish a secure connection to the requested website.

But when I'm logged into his machine on my own account with those very same browsers, I can get to secure pages without any problem, and web browsing in general seems to be faster from my account than his.

I've reset Safari for his account, but that made no difference. We've restarted the machine multiple times. His account is not an administrator account and I have parental controls enabled for him to keep him from accidentally modifying his Dock. I've checked for suspicious-looking processes but haven't seen any red flags. If I enable the Web Console in Firefox, it posts the following and nothing else. I have observed this behavior for multiple sites, and over a period of a month or more.

[23:51:21.335] GET https://www.bankofamerica.com/ [undefined 78ms]

I observe all of this while VNC'ed into his machine with Screen Sharing. What could possibly explain this kind of difference in browser behavior between his account and mine?

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2 Answers 2

When any User Account mysteriously acts up, the fastest, easiest thing is ofen to make a new User Account, log in to that and see if the problem reocccurs. It's also a logical troubleshooting step.

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I created a new account, and the problem does not show up. Unfortunately, that tells me nothing about where in the myriad of preferences and settings the problem originates. –  Neil Steiner Nov 28 '12 at 14:49
    
Give the new account admin privileges, copy User folders except ~/Library to new account, (which I give same password as mine) confirm it's working, Repair Permissions, Restart, log in with new account. (BTW, automatic login should be Off.) –  Zo219 Dec 1 '12 at 10:24
    
yes, this is a solid troubleshooting approach, but there is such a huge number of settings in ~/Library that this hardly helps. –  Neil Steiner Dec 1 '12 at 20:00
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Not so. Haven't done this in a while, but every app will make a fresh set of preferences, you don't need the old caches and logs ... think it through, probably Application Support is fine. Containers. Mainly leaving behind Preferences - this is where is pays to keep software keys in a keychain or app. Go down the list of ~/Libary folders. Keychains, copy over, of course ... –  Zo219 Dec 1 '12 at 23:01
    
Zo219, it appears from my answer below that ~/Library is not the culprit after all. I was only using Parental Controls because I needed to keep the Dock from changing, and I found another solution that I explain here‌​. –  Neil Steiner Dec 2 '12 at 1:07
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Apparently Parental Controls interferes with access to secure websites, even when "Allow unrestricted access to websites" is checked: Apple Support Communities

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