The Archive and install does the same kinda thing but saves the preferences.
If you do an archive and install without saving settings and preferences, you will end up with just the default settings until you actually use an application.
All of your data and third party apps will remain intact.
By all means create a new account and see if the problem persists when you sync your contacts, which you may not be able to get to because they are in the original account.
Try the Archive and Install route too
I am currently running 10.5.8 on a new 13" MacBook Pro. I am having an issue syncing contacts to my iPhone. On the first sync when I plug the phone in, iTunes syncs without issue but if I try to sync again, the sync process stalls on contacts for about 10 minutes.
I have made several visits to my local Apple Store. The Genius Bar technician swapped out my iPhone to eliminate that as a cause and removed several preference files but the problem remains. Their best guess is that there is a damaged preference file in my Home/Libraray/Preferences folder but they can't figure out which one it is. They suggested doing an Archive & Install without saving User settings and preferences but that will entail a hugh amount of extra work for me to load all of my third party apps, data, etc.
I was thinking that I could accomplish the same end result if I created a new user on the MacBook and copied the clean Home/Library/Preferences folder from the new user into my "real" user library and then let the system rebuild all of the preference files as I use the applications, etc. When I look through my Preferences folder I see a lot of old, probably unneeded files anyway from when I migrated to the MacBook Pro from my old G5 iMac so I would be getting rid of a lot of "junk" file at the same time. I realize I will lose all of my application settings but that seem slike a small price to pay compared to rebuilding the entire system.
My question is, does this plan seem to make sense or is there more to the Preferences folder than I am aware of and will I get into more trouble?
Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated.