I have a Macbook with Mac OS X 10.4.11 here, with an annoying problem. After starting the computer and logging in, the finder keeps stealing focus. You can go back to your working app, but a minute later, it steals focus again. Even as I'm typing this message, I had to reslect firefox two times.
At some point it stops, but how often it pops up/steals focus first is kind of random, it seems.
The finder menu at the top of the screen also flickers sometimes when it does that, so it seems it's not just the window that opens, but that finder completely restarts. (the behavior is the same when I press shift-command click, and then restart the finder).
Can anyone point me in the right direction? I already looked under startup items in accounts/login, but that all seems normal. I also removed com.apple.finder.plist, as was suggested somewhere.
edit: Upon examination, it seemed that finder kept crashing. Here is a crashlog:
Host Name: monster Date/Time: 2010-07-15 10:42:01.318 +0200 OS Version: 10.4.11 (Build 8S2167) Report Version: 4
Command: Finder Path: /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder Parent: WindowServer 
Version: 10.4.7 (10.4.7) Build Version: 3 Project Name: Finder_FE Source Version: 5292900
PID: 231 Thread: 3
Exception: EXC_BAD_INSTRUCTION (0x0002) Code: 0x0000000d Code: 0x00000000
Thread 0: 0 libSystem.B.dylib 0x9fe48cd7 mach_msg_trap + 7 1 com.apple.CoreFoundation 0x9082d227 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 2014 2 com.apple.CoreFoundation 0x9082ca42 CFRunLoopRunInMode + 61 3 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x92df1878 RunCurrentEventLoopInMode + 285 4 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x92df0f82 ReceiveNextEventCommon + 385 5 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x92e39a74 _AcquireNextEvent + 58 6 com.apple.HIToolbox 0x92e398bc RunApplicationEventLoop + 150 7 com.apple.finder 0x00007deb 0x1000 + 28139 8 com.apple.finder 0x00004c6b 0x1000 + 15467 9 com.apple.finder 0x000515b6 0x1000 + 329142 10 com.apple.finder 0x000514dd 0x1000 + 328925
Thread 1: 0 libSystem.B.dylib 0x9fe65d5c kevent + 12 1 ...ple.CoreServices.CarbonCore 0x90cb8d0c PrivateMPEntryPoint + 51 2 libSystem.B.dylib 0x9fe63227 _pthread_body + 84
Thread 2: 0 libSystem.B.dylib 0x9fe638c7 semaphore_wait_signal_trap + 7 1 ...ple.CoreServices.CarbonCore 0x90cb8eb2 MPWaitOnQueue + 198 2 com.apple.DesktopServices 0x9271f943 TNodeSyncTask::SyncTaskProc(void*) + 143 3 ...ple.CoreServices.CarbonCore 0x90cb8d0c PrivateMPEntryPoint + 51 4 libSystem.B.dylib 0x9fe63227 _pthread_body + 84
Thread 3 Crashed: 0 <<00000000>> 0x90024689 0 + -1878899063
Thread 3 crashed with X86 Thread State (32-bit): eax: 0x017ca000 ebx: 0x017ce977 ecx: 0x00000000 edx: 0x017ce9c1 edi: 0xffffffff esi: 0xffffffff ebp: 0x017cbff8 esp: 0x017cbf9c ss: 0x0000001f efl: 0x00010296 eip: 0x90024689 cs: 0x00000017 ds: 0x0000001f es: 0x0000001f fs: 0x00000000 gs: 0x00000000
Binary Images Description: 0x1000 - 0x2ccfff com.apple.finder 10.4.7 /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder 0x5b5000 - 0x5b6fff com.apple.textencoding.unicode 2.1 /System/Library/TextEncodings/Unicode Encodings.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Unicode Encodings 0x14f01000 - 0x14f6efff com.DivXInc.DivXDecoder 6.6.0 /Library/QuickTime/DivX Decoder.component/Contents/MacOS/DivX Decoder 0x8fe00000 - 0x8fe4afff dyld 46.16 /usr/lib/dyld 0x90000000 - 0x90016fff com.apple.CoreVideo 1.4.2 /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreVideo.framework/Versions/A/CoreVideo 0x9002a000 - 0x90348fff com.apple.QuickTime 7.6.0 (1290) /System/Library/Frameworks/Qu
If it is Finder that is crashing, you should see fresh crash logs in
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/Finder.crash.log. You can use the Console application (
/Applications/Utilities/Console.app) to view the file.
The stack traces from such crashes might give you a clue as to why it is crashing.
If the crashes consistently indicate some third-party code (e.g. a “haxie” or similar “injected” code), then you might try quiting/uninstalling whatever application is injecting the code.
If you are also seeing crashes of various other applications, it might be a hardware problem (i.e. bad memory). You could also check
/var/log/system.log (system.log in Console) for things like disk I/O errors, etc.
Peek into the log files: see Applications, Utilities, Console.
Though removing your current account's Finder's
plist didn't help, maybe create a new account to see if things are the same for a fresh user? System Preferences, System, Accounts.
Check the digital signature of Finder. Copy the first line into Applications, Utilities, Terminal:
codesign --verify -vv /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app
...which (on 10.6.3, maybe this is not present on 10.4 yet?) should give you:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app: valid on disk /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app: satisfies its Designated Requirement
Enable the "Quit Finder" menu option and quit Finder. Finder should then only (automatically) come back if you stop all other applications as well. Does it still come back while you're using your browser? (Quitting Finder will also temporarily hide your Desktop. No worries!)
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