View Full Version : Need to restore System\Library folder on my iMac!

02-21-2009, 12:11 PM
Yes, I've done something incredibly stupid--I accidentally deleted my Library folder (NOT the User folder, but the one in the System folder).

Please note I am new to macs and am not incredibly familiar with their inner workings, so I apologize if any of this sounds inaccurate in any way.

With that out of the way, here is the HOW and what happened thereafter part that you may just skip over, as the fact remains that I deleted the folder. I was trying to add (many, many) fonts to the Font folder, I dropped it straight into the System folder with intent to move, had to authenticate or whatever (put in my password). After having attempted to copy them further into the font folder (which didn't work), I highlighted and deleted them, unknowingly also dragging the Library folder into the trash, and authorized it because I thought it was just fonts and that they were being silly about being deleted. WELL I noticed soon after and clicked the small "x" to try and cancel the delete, and even hit command+z, but the folder did not come back. I tried digging it out of the trash, but ALAS it was not there. Soon thereafter, the finder shut down, and I could do nothing but hard boot the computer. Upon booting it back up, I got a series of images--the apple, a folder with a "?" on it, and a "no" sign (circle with slash through it).

I have triumphantly recovered my OS discs (10.4) and now I just need to know what to do with them. I contacted apple support, but they were little help. Anyhow, I looked through the steps for an OS install, and came across the "Archive and Install" option. However, when I select it, the check box for "preserve users and network settings" remains grayed out. This kinda makes sense to me if I deleted the network settings and such when the Library folder was trashed, but would my user info be deleted? My files? Honestly, my #1 priority is making sure my files are safe (and they appear to be, the same amount of space is taken up on the hard drive as before). I would prefer, however, that I don't lose my user/network settings if I don't have to.

So--is there any other course(s) of action I can take? What would be the consequences of an "Archive and Install" (I am more familiar with PC formatting, etc, so I really don't know what will happen if I do what and apple support has not been all the forthcoming)? If I just "Upgraded" my OS, would that work just as well or better (or would I have to have a genuine upgrade disc--i.e. Leopard)? Or is there a simple repair/restore option for the missing OS files? Would the Disc Utility, etc. help in any way?

Thank you!

02-21-2009, 01:11 PM
You talk of Leopard but you have the 10.4 (Tiger) disks.
What version of OS X is (or was) installed on your Mac?

I'm a bit surprised that the "preserve users" checkbox is greyed out.
But if you have Leopard (10.5) and you are trying to reinstall with 10.4 disks, maybe that's why.

Given the weirdness of this situation, it'd be best if you somehow made a backup of your user files (under /Users) - e.g. you could do this by mounting your Mac's disk on another Mac using "target disk mode": http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58583

And with a backup in hand, you could proceed to do the reinstall and then restore your files.

By the way, for future reference, you should never be adding (or removing) anything (fonts or otherwise) into the /System folder - that is Apple's domain.
Anything you want to have available system wide goes into the /Library folder (the one at the top level of the drive.)

02-21-2009, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the swift reply!

10.4 is what the computer came pre-installed with, I have the OS discs, and it is what is currently installed (or kinda not) with updates. There is no version confusion. I only mentioned Leopard because I have a disc lying around somewhere. But I mentioned selecting the upgrade option because instead of completely removing/overwriting what is left of the OS (if there is anything at all if the system folders are gone) and re-installing, I dunno it would be kinda like an upgrade? Adding content. Then I wouldn't have to worry about losing my files. I think. This is my ungrounded theory.

But regardless, the "preserve users" box is grayed out. I really wish it was not.

About backing up my files/target disc mode (an excellent idea!), is there a possible way I can transfer the files straight to an external drive? I was looking at Disc Restore (?) and it had something like that...I think, I can't find description of what that utility actually does. I have a Passport, but not a firewire cable, unfortunately. But I could buy one if need be, I suppose. I do like the sounds of this disc mounting business!

And, well, I certainly know not to mess with that folder now. Just, ugh, being lead around by my PC sensibilities. Disasterrr! But now I see where the Apple folk were confused--they thought I was putting my fonts in the proper place! Oh how wrong they were...

Again, thanks SO much!

02-24-2009, 02:33 PM

I bought a firewire (6-pin) and did thus to fix my issue (for the [few] out there who may make my same mistake):

First, the computer I trashed is an iMac (the target drive), and I (luckily) also have a Macbook upon which I mounted said drive.

I followed the mounting instructions on the Apple support website that hayne kindly provided a link to.

I had the OS disc still in the iMac, and it showed up among the mounted drives on my Macbook. That said, I had direct access to the files on the OS disc, and copied them straight into the iMac drive System\Library folder. NO this did not make the computer run happily, however, the OS discs did go straight to the Update option and VIOLA! My computer is back, everything intact.

A question, though--the deleted Library folder is in the trash: should I chance to restore it? Nothing that I can tell (yet--haven't looked thoroughly) is different from before. But there must be some differences, no?