For over six weeks, I’ve attempted to help a client (let’s call him Bill) resolve an apparent bug that causes Entourage 2008 to crash during normal use. The crashes first started to appear after Bill upgraded his OS from Leopard (10.5) to Snow Leopard (10.6). According to Bill’s email, the crashes appeared to involve the Objective-C Runtime file called libobjc.A.dylib.
Before contacting me, my client called AppleCare and Microsoft tech support. He was told that the problem could be caused by a third-party haxie (which my customer insisted was not installed on his Mac). He was instructed to delete the Entourage preference files and reinstall Office from the original media. Both of these measures stabilized Entourage for a short while and then the crashes returned.
I initially asked Bill if he was in danger of exceeding the maximum number (one million) of emails that Entourage could maintain in its database. Bill said he had just started using Entourage a month or so ago and was in no danger of hitting the limit.
The first things I had my customer try were the usual set of fixes:
1. Make sure United States is selected as the default region in System Preferences (Bill claimed that it was).
2. Install Rosetta from the Mac OS X Install DVD (Bill said Rosetta was already installed).
3. Run Microsoft AutoUpdate to make sure the latest version of Office is installed.
4. Install the Mac OS X 10.6.2 combo updater.
5. Rebuild the Entourage database (hold down the Option key while starting the program).
6. Test Entourage using a new user.
7. Repair permissions.
8. Remove duplicate fonts and clear font caches.
9. Verify that only one copy of the Microsoft Database Daemon is listed in the Login Items pane in System Preferences.
None of the above procedures, either done separately or in succession, prevented Entourage from crashing during startup or in use.
While searching the online discussion boards, I discovered a third-party software utility called Emailchemy that converts proprietary email file formats into portable formats that can be used by any email application. I forwarded this info to Bill, who thanked me but demurred on buying the program.
A few days ago, Bill wrote back and said to forget about trying to find a permanent fix for the Entourage problem. He concluded by mentioning that his wife’s laptop is able to run Entourage 2008 without crashing. He thinks that may be due to the fact that her Mac isn’t set up to run Parallels Desktop 5 while his is.