Help help.... what part of the OS writes the dock and desktop changes to memory in the .plst files associated?

I've tried rewplacing .plst files, reinstalling the 10.5 and running 10.5.8 combo updates, gone line by line thru user prefs comparing to my working laptop using the same software, but nothing works. What I have noticed is that on my working OS10.5.8 on  my MacBookPro the Dock.plst file gets updated everytime I restart. Something is broken in the ability for my MACPRO tower to write to the .plst and .db files associated with screen settings such as what folders are left open at closedown and any changes to the dock. I completly reinstalled 10.5.4 OS from the cd saving my user info because I have a lot of music software on here that I seem to be losing through all this, but the reinstall did not fix this problem. It just took a long time to get everything back to 10.5.8. The .plst files are in there from last month or last week and the just don't update. I replaced them in a test from my working laptop and they make everything look llke the laptop dock but then when I change them they don't save. Where is the app that saves these changes to the dock and desktop? If I knew I could see if that script/app etc would look like my laptop. Line by line I've tried to  compare in all system and library folders, cashes preferences, but I can't seem to find it. Anyone here deep enough into this software to help me. I would be so very grateful... very...  P.S.the dock reverts to an old setting and the screen looks like it did when I shut down about 3 weeks ago. Nothing I do is saved on these parts of the mac. I've redone permissions etc...
steve

no change....
I even went to the other user name I just set up where things work and put all the dock system etc  and desktop .db & .plst files into the main user name where I'm having the problems and it opens upon restart looking like the other users settings, but when I make a change in views or dock or windows open on desktop they do not get saved when I restart. It's frozen as the one I put in there. I need to know what part op the OS writes to these .plst and .db settings so I can replace it or parts it needs to do this. It might be another part of the user  Preferences as it only happens in my older user name. But that name has so many plug ins and apps tied to it, it would be insane to try to change all that......   maybe I can drag my older preference folder to a new user and see what happens.....

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