Reinstalling Apple Applications

Have you ever wanted to reinstall Apple’s Mail, Safari, or other included application without resorting to re-installing the entire OS? Apple doesn’t make this easy, but thankfully, the fine folks over at CharlesSoft have provided us with a $20 shareware program called Pacifist.

Pacifist is an application that opens Mac OS X .pkg package files, .dmg disk images, and .zip, .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, and .xar file archives and allows you to extract individual files and folders out of them. This is useful, for instance, if an application which is installed by the operating system becomes damaged and needs to be reinstalled without the hassle of reinstalling all of Mac OS X. Pacifist is also able to verify existing installations and find missing or altered files*, and Pacifist can also examine the kernel extensions installed in your system to let you see what installer installed them, and whether the installer was made by Apple or a third-party.

Pacifist is a great tool to have in your bag of tricks if you ever have a problem with just one application.


Mac Keyboard Shortcuts (useful during machine startup)

Keystroke Description
Press X during startup Force Mac OS X startup (if there are other operating systems on the disk)
Press Option-Command-Shift-Delete
during startup
Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk)
Press C during startup Start up from a CD that has a system folder
Press N during startup Attempt to start up from a compatible network server (NetBoot)
Press T during startup Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode
Press Shift during startup start up in Safe Boot mode and temporarily disable login items and non-essential kernel extension files (Mac OS X 10.2 and later) (note this takes a LONG time!)
Press Command-V during startup Start up in Verbose mode. Very useful if your machine isn’t booting, at least to techy-types. It lets you see everything the Mac usually hides from you during startup.
Press Command-S during startup Start up in Single-User mode. Be very careful here!

Clear the Mac OS X Font Caches

If your fonts don’t look right, try these steps.

Download Font Nuke


Get it here: Once downloaded, drag it to your Applications Folder.

Launch Font Nuke


Click anywhere on the black screen to continue

Click Nuke Font Caches


This step enables the program to look for font caches on your machine.

Click Update Caches List


This step takes a while, and builds a list of all of the fonts your machine has cached over time.

Updating Cache – progress window


Process Complete


The program shows you how many cache files it found. The number found on your will be different! Click OK.

Next, click Nuke Font Caches


And note you may have to enter your Login Password and a restart will be required.

Please use this feature (Reset Spotlight) with caution. This feature will purge all Spotlight indexes without a forced rebuild. This is recommended ONLY if you understand fully the contents of /.Spotlight-V100. Volume re-indexing may take minutes to several hours.

Heed the warning, and then Continue


Once the process is complete, restart, and try again to see if the problem has been fixed.