Simmons Consulting, the Website of Toby Simmons

OS X System Preferences icon size mismatch


Just recently I noticed a problem in my System Preferences on my Mac (I use both Windows XP and OS X Tiger at the office.) For some reason, my icons had become inconsistent when I opened system prefs. Some were normal, whilst others were tiny.

After living with this for a few days I decided to search for an answer. I couldn’t find anything, either through Google or the Apple discussion boards, that related to my problem. I decided to hunt for an answer on my own and started digging through the various configuration and cache files to find the key. After trashing several preference files to no avail, I finally went to /Users/HomeDirectory/Library/Caches/ and deleted the following two files:

Voilà, my system prefs panel is back to normal!

Here are the before and after images of the system prefs panel:

Before and after screens of system preferences

Comments (5) »

  1. rcv says:

    thanks for this tip!
    it helped me from system prefs problems too
    it’s so simple if you know how!

  2. Jdonovan says:

    Talk about weird. I had the same problem on my pear PC mac emulation I’m trying to use now, and of all the places to find the answer.
    Regardless, thanks for the tip.


  3. D says:

    thanks. had the opposite issue with a new tiger installation. big icons … everything is back to normal now.

  4. Thanks. I had a different problem – my “Print & Fax” icon was changed into a ‘light switch’ icon. Deleting these files fixed the problem.

  5. Jeroen Besse says:

    Thanks. Had something similar as Thomas (but then for the “Speech” icon, and it was too large to fit decently). All better now!

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