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I have an account that's unresponsive. When I login with this non-admin user, everything hangs. Even Dock won't show up. Just the spinning beach ball.

Back-story:

  • This is occurs every couple of weeks. I reinstall OS X ontop and everything back to normal for a while. I even blew away and reformatted entire HD, followed by installation of very few applications (Office 2016, BackBlaze, HandyPrint, NPM, Node, and a few other developer tools). All software is legit and purchased through official channels.

  • I am on El Capitan 10.11.1 at this point (this problem persisted throughout upgrades from Yosemite)

  • There are no hardware issues found by AHT utility test. No bad sectors on HD.

  • I just blew away everything in users's Library/Launch* (there were only two items (com.office...plist and com.google...plist)

  • I blew away user Preferences

  • Admin account works fine.

  • I have gone though this cycle about 5 times so far - works for 3 weeks, then problem comes back. I find nothing interesting in Console log, top, or opensnoop.

How do I diagnose this problem? I have a working admin account that I can use to look at all the files from the affected user, and make any modifications necessary for debugging purposes.

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I ended up burning that user.

There was definitely something something in ~/Library that caused this. I fiddled a bit with deleting more stuff out of ~/Library but didn't narrow down exactly to which setting/app caused it. Finally when ~/Library was half empty, the user started to work. I moved ~/Documents, Downloads, Desktop over to a new account, burned the afflicted and renamed new user back to old name. At least now I know where to start digging next time it occurs.

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