Some sort of user-profile level corruption is causing Safari 5.1.8 in Snow Leopard to display any web pages as just plain text, formatted mostly in a single column, with only small thumbnails of graphics or no graphics at all, while the same web pages on the same computer look perfectly fine in FireFox and Chrome.

The corruption is only in my friend's main administrator user profile. When I create a new user profile for testing purposes, Safari works fine and displays pages correctly.

I have tried resetting Safari, in all categories, flushing all the caches and rebuilding permissions.

I have also "blown out" and deleted the user account, saving the home folder, and created a new user account with the same name, migrating the old home folder back to the new user account. Nothing helps.

Any suggestions as to how I might find and repair the corruption in the user profile that seems to be causing this?


I have solved my own problem.

Enough snooping around for .plist files got the job done. I identified all the .plist files with "Safari" and "com.apple.Safari" in the name in ~/Library/ and /Library/, and moved them to the Trash. Then I found a couple of invisible files in /Library/ with "Safari" in them and likewise moved them to the Trash. Then I rebooted. Safari now works correctly.

I wish I had thought of that first. I have wasted hours on this problem.

  • did all of these files end with .plist? including the "couple of invisible files?"
    – zerohedge
    Oct 26 '14 at 11:48

I had the same issue, what solved it for me is changing the DNS settings in System Preferences -> Network -> Wi-Fi -> Advanced -> DNS.

I removed the two DNS addresses and They were replaced automatically by my ISP's settings and now all sites display correctly.

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