Ask Max: All Web browsers crash
I have recently gotten an issue anytime I start a browser on my iMac running OS 10.2.2) whether it is Explorer, Netscape or Safari. I get the message "The application has unexpectedly quit" and it has. What is causing this and how do you recommend I correct it?
Because your problem happens to many different applications, I think it is a bigger problem than a faulty application. Any time you have a widespread problem like this one, and you have not updated to the most recent point version of the OS, I would recommend running Software Update to bring your OS to the latest version. If the problem continues past upgrading to Mac OS X 10.2.8, then I would create a second user account with which to test. Make the user account an Administrator account, and then log out of your main account. Next, log into your new test account and see if you get the same problems. If you do not have the same problems, then it is some setting in your main User account's preferences. Go through your main account's Preferences folder in the user's Library folder and remove anything having to do with networking or Internet connectivity. Keep testing as you remove each item.
If the problem occurs in both accounts, then it is probably a system problem. Upgrading to OS 10.3 or 10.4 via an "Archive and Install" will often help resolve those issues. You can also do an Archive and Install in OS 10.2, if you have the system discs. Here is a link to Archive and Install instructions and further info.