This is under version 10.4.11 on a G4 PowerBook.
The user's main account on the machine will appear to load OK, but no applications will actually launch, instead only giving the spinning beachball.
Another account on the system can be used to log in without any trouble at all.
Not being someone who normally works on Macs, I'm at a loss as to how I can diagnose or repair the problem.
Where to begin?
I did find some information on enabling the root account and I was going to use that to tar the contents of the user dir and attempt to populate a fresh user account with those materials, but the HD isn't large enough for that. I could transfer the files remotely but that will take quite a long time (the system is used for video production--there are gigs and gigs of files).
Attempting to verify permissions turned up a few bad permissions, mostly on Firefox plugins for some reason, but no smoking gun. However it did stop responding at about 60%.
In system.log I found something similar to:
nfs server automount  not responding ns1