Snowball effect in progress...

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
One thing leads to another. So I decided to change the startup icon with a program I downloaded. Simple thing. Find a icon and change the icon and restart. Bam! Can't find the system folder. That's unexpected; I always have my custom startup screen in OS 9. No problem, don't panic. I reinstalled OS X and choose to archive the old system. Booted up, but some of the programs needed files that were no longer there. Simple, just drag&drop everything from the backup except the file I changed: "BootX" (Keep the original) and everything should work. Wrong. Some error about files in use/no permission. So on an external hard drive I installed OS X again and booted off it. No better luck. After hours and hours of piecing together a scrapbook OS, I would like the computer to try to boot off it or even recognize it!

How do you make a computer see a system? (like re-blessing for OSX) Is there a way to point directly to it? Oh, and was there an easier way to restore my old OS or did I totally screw the pooch on this one?



The best thing I like about OS 9 is its simplistic design. Preferences in on folder, extensions in another and everything system related in one folder. In OS X, there are like 3 "Library" folders and thousands of files I have no idea what they do.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    why not just reinstall X?

    it won't hurt anything. keep your copy of the BootX file.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    alcimedes is right. You need to reinstall.

    Messing with the BootX file is VERY BAD. It's like messing with the System file in Classic Mac OS. You should never ever touch it unless you know exactly what you are doing. This file is hidden and write-protected from you for the very reason that, hey, it's not to be messed with unless you're a professional.

    You like OS9's simplistic design? So, it's good to be simplistic in that everything applies to everyone and everyone has permission to do anything with anyone else's files? Global everything. Simple, sure. Better? I don't think so.

    I've explained the rules of the Library hierarchy a few times here at AppleInsider. The Library system is very powerful and useful if you know how it works. Keep in mind that learning how Mac OS X works is no different than learning Classic Mac OS -- I think it's just that you have too much experience with Classic Mac OS and are stuck in that Classic frame of thinking. You have to keep a very open mind because Mac OS X and Classic Mac OS are different on the most fundamental levels.

    No offense.

    Anyhow, here's a copy of my Library explanation:


    Here's a brief crash course in the Library inheritance system.

    There are four levels of Library folders:





    The first contains things belonging only to Apple and the core of the system. The contents here apply to all users. Users and administrators both should *never* touch what is inside this folder. It should always remain "clean" and safe. In fact, the permissions are set here so that you *can't* modify the contents without explicitly changing the access rights to it first.

    The second is only writable by administrative users. Like System, its contents apply to everyone, but if there are ever problems and the system has to be booted into safe mode for repairs, this Library will be ignored and only the known safe items in the System folder will be loaded.

    The third is the preferred folder for installing things on a per-user basis. Contents of this folder only apply to the user it belongs to. It too would be ignored in safe mode.

    The fourth is rarely used and can be ignored unless you are using a special network setup with Mac OS X Server and a bunch of Mac OS X client machines.

    Now, what exactly *do* these three Library folders contain? Good question. There are two basic kinds of things kept here: application settings and application/system add-ons.

    By default, an application saves its preferences in the home Library (the "/Users/yourname" one) because, as I explained above, in the hierarchy this one applies only to the current user. The preference files here are simple text documents and are completely inert. If you delete an app, you can safely leave its preferences file in the Library forever and it will not affect anything until you reinstall that app.

    Things that you yourself may place in the Library folders include items such as screen savers, alert sounds, fonts, extra preference panes (for System Preferences), printer drivers, and plug-ins or add-ons for other software. If you browse the contents of the Library folders, you'll see that there are already subdirectories appropriately labeled for some of these things.

    Let's consider a couple examples:

    Q. You download a new screen saver. You are the administrator of this machine and want to install it so that all users have access to it. Where do you put it?

    A. /Library -- more specifically: /Library/Screen Savers

    Q. You buy some fonts. You want to install it so that only you can use them. Where do you put them?

    A. /Users/yourname/Library -- more specifically: /Users/yourname/Library/Fonts

    Does that help?

    The Library system seems a little strange at first, but once you understand how it works, I believe you'll come to appreciate it. It's a very logical layout.

    Hope this helps.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    That does help. Thanks.


    Originally posted by Brad

    This file is hidden and write-protected from you for the very reason

    Yea, huh. You have any idea how hard it is trying to get around that kind of stuff? I think I need a crash course in "WTF is unix and how does it control my life" Anyways, I learned my lesson. Let sleeping dogs lie... It it ain't broke' don't fix it... Fortunately I saved 90% of the installers I used since I got my G5.

    In a way it is not as bad as it sounds. I've taught myself every program I know with the exception of 2. Causing/fixing problems like these are how I became so good with OS 9. Unfortunately I have to remind myself this is NOTHING like OS 9.

    Oh, and by simplistic design I mean you can drag the same copy of a OS 9 folder to most of my computers and it will work. There is a icon called system that is the system, others for extensions, preferences, the Apple Menu and so on. I do realize the benefits and security of what I understand of OS X I just wish there was a intuitive structure to the system.
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