There hasn't been a significant change in the code that saves teh options. What version were you using?
as for disabling the plugins, it is easy to disable all the plugins, though it might not make your site look good
if you can get a handle on a series of steps that cause the issue to happen, I can look at it in more detail, but if it is random it is hard to determine or even recreate.
what version of Atahualpa were you on?
What version of WP?
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Juggledad | Forum Moderator/Support