iBook crash - can I just replace "System"?



I was opening a large TIFF file (4.5MB) with Preview, and the rainbow color pinwheel just kept spinning and spinning. I could hear the hard drive repeating some kind of cycle, over and over, like a drum machine pattern. So, I clicked Command-Control-PowerKey and forced restart. Nothing was the same after that. I got the screen with the dark grey Apple in the middle, with the little spinning circle of gray spokes thing at the bottom. That went on forever and ever, again accompanied by the repeating audible hard disk activity.

Ultimately, I was able to boot from the OS X install disk (Panther) and run Disk Utility. It reported that it had succeeded in repairing the disk itself. I then repaired file permissions as well.

Now I can boot from the HD again, but it's slooooow. The gray apple screen takes longer than usual. During the startup screen, when it gets to "Waiting for Printing Services," it sits there for a good two minutes before moving on to loading the login screen. Menubar draws, and slowly but surely all the icons on the right appear (monitor, battery, etc.). Desktop takes awhile to come up. Eventually, everything is there. I can open folders, run apps, print pages, surf the web -- all with normal performance. It's just the startup that takes forever...

I do have a backup of the HD on an external FW drive, but it is a couple of days old. Would it be possible to just copy the "System" folder (The OS X one) from the backup to the internal HD, or are there other things that need to be replaced as well? I'm trying to avoid wiping the whole drive and restoring from the backup.