I recently updated my computer from Mavericks to El Capitan, and I'm unable to add or remove items from the dock. If I attempt to change the dock, the computer freezes and I am unable to interact with the computer through the GUI.

The machine has multiple users, and I am the only user on this system that has this problem. I suspect that it's an issue with the way my dock is configured. Is there any way to "factory-reset" the dock? Failing that, is there any way to fix a dock that can't be modified?


Using the terminal, you can try deleting your dock preferences, then restarting the dock:

% defaults delete com.apple.dock
% killall Dock

This won't affect the contents of your dock, but it will reset the preferences that you'd normally edit in the Dock panel of the System Preferences.

EDIT: Per comments below, apparently this does reset dock contents for some people, but not for others—not clear why.

  • You said, "This won't affect the contents of your dock" and this is not true! Deleting the com.apple.dock.plist file and restarting the Dock does a full reset while not only loosing the arranged order of apps it also removes all apps that have been added. Your answer is destructive while claiming it's not! – user3439894 Jun 22 '16 at 23:10
  • @user3439894: It's didn't remove all apps for me when I did it. It didn't change the contents of ~/Library/Prefrences/com.apple.dock.plist for example. – Dan Jun 22 '16 at 23:17
  • But it did fix the problem of the dock causing the computer to freeze! – Dan Jun 22 '16 at 23:17
  • @Dan, It totally reset my Dock as if the User Account was just freshly created and logged in for the first time. – user3439894 Jun 22 '16 at 23:43
  • @user3439894: Ah. Well, at least it's only a little bit destructive. – Dan Jun 23 '16 at 1:09

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