Missing Applications/Utilities


I am running 10.4.2, but I had a copy of an older version lying around and wanted to see which it was since it wasn't labeled. I opened all readme files, the installer application and even dug in a couple folders to no avail. So I rebooted from the cd. Still no indication to what version! I advanced all the way to actually doing an install, but no version! When it said "Checking Disk", I quit, for fear of having my system written over in an older version. When I reboot, I get a circle with a slash through it. I mount the computer on another computer as a firewire drive (holding "T" at startup). The system has been replaced with an empty system, a folder called "Previous Systems" is now where my old system is. I move all files (including hidden files and folders) with terminal back to their original location and reboot. My systems starts up flawlessly exactly as it was before I booted from the cd (I still have no idea what version is on that thing!) except for one problem:

All my custom applications and utilities including some Apple utilities are nowhere to be found. Apps like Chess, Calculator, Disk Utility, etc. are there. Apps like Adobe Acrobat, IPNetRouter, iTunes, etc. are gone.

The dock shows them but when I click on them a transparent question mark overlaps the icon. I tried doing a recursive grep for some application names, wondering if they are somehow buried or hidden somewhere. Only thing I found was a link to Apple Printer Utility that neither the link file nor original are actually there (weird).

Also, I did try fsck -f in single user mode, and repair permissions in disk utility. Both cleaned up errors, but did not fix the problem. Also, I logged in under my backup admin account and they still don't show.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to have to start my collection of good stuff over from scratch!
Back up and reinstall. The install-of-the-unknown-version process obviously went farther than you expected, and it's going to be a huge pain to try and find every file that was overwritten/deleted/modified and substitute a known good file.

If the Applications are gone, they're gone. Unless you want to try expensive data recovery services or try some downloadable data recovery software, your system has been altered an unknown amount and may exhibit problems down the road, if not now.

You can try an Archive & Install, as that would preserve as much of your older system as possible in some inactive folders, exactly like the "Previous System" you have now. I would still suggest a complete reformat and reinstall of the system, though, as that's a guarantee you'll end up with a system with no problems.

BTW, if you want to check what version of OS X the install CD is, simply mount the CD, then do a "Get Info" on the "Install Mac OS X" application. The version should be reported under "Version."