View Full Version : How do I restore when Finder is broken?

02-17-2008, 12:38 PM

I have a sad tale, and I hope you can help. My Finder won't launch and the menu bar is absent. I am at 10.5.2, and this started 3 days ago. After reinstalling Leopard twice to no avail, the Apple Care technicians are now saying to start all over again by uninstalling ALL 3rd party applications. This seems like a wild guess and will take me days if not weeks to accomplish. At the end of this I have added a thread I am on with ehMac, who are much more helpful.

Anyway here is my Shirt Pocket question.

Before my initial Leopard upgrade, I purchased SuperDuper and did a full backup to a USB attached external drive. After Leopard had been running fine for a few days, I did a Smart Update. (Should have done a full backup, but I didn't). Is the backup I have usable since the base is 10.4.11 and the Smart Update is 10.5.2?? If the backup I have is usable (to restore only the system files I hope), then how do I do it?

Thread from ehMac:

Thanks for your suggestion, which I tried, but it didn't work. The Apple Care technician (who recommended the same thing) couldn't resolve this either, and recommended reinstalling Leopard.

I have now done that twice, with no success. Here is what I did:

Reinstalled 10.5.0, downloaded and installed the 6 recommended updates (including 10.5.2 combo), and had the exact same problem. Called back Apple Care and the next technician suggested downloading the testing each of the 6 updates individually.

So I reinstalled 10.5.0 and verified that it worked ... it did. the problem with the finder did not appear. I surfed, emailed, launched apps, opened folders to my hearts content.

I then individually downloaded and successfully tested updates to Remote Desktop Client, iLife, Front Row, Quicktime, and iTunes. These all worked fine and the Finder problem did not manifest.

then I downloaded and installed the 10.5.2 combo and to my dismay the Finder problem reappeared. So I called back Apple Care.

The third technician suggested removing all third party applications and trying again. I found this suggestion less than satisfactory to say the least. I have not done this and plan to call again today to see if I can get another tech with a more sensible idea. This sounds like a stab in the dark.

Here is a more complete description of the symptoms.

Finder won't launch. Menu bar not present UNLESS there is an application running. Time machine won't launch. Finder keeps trying to start, but fails. I think this all started after I was exploring time machine. To my knowledge I didn't run time machine.

Would you have another suggestion??

02-17-2008, 01:25 PM
You can't really just restore Finder and expect it to work. I think I'd suggest an archive-and-install of 10.5.0, updating to 10.5.1 and not 10.5.2 if that's where your issue seems to be...

02-17-2008, 02:21 PM
thanks for your quick reply on a Sunday afternnon! ... i'll try that. If I have to erase my disk and start all over at some point, what can I recover from my supersuper backup?

02-17-2008, 02:42 PM
If you need to do that, I'd migrate from the backup when it prompts you to "copy from another Mac".

02-19-2008, 10:28 AM
Hi .. I got the OS back to 10.5.1 and it worked fine. Then I did a full SD backup to my USB connected eternal drive and (silly me) tried to upgrade to 10.5.2 again. Same problem recurred. So now I have a base system on the backup drive that works and is reasonably current. So back to my original question, how do I restore from that backup when the finder doesn't work? Sorry I don't understand the restore process, never having done it and not really understanding what is going on under the covers.



02-19-2008, 11:36 AM
Start up from the backup and do a "Backup - all files" (or use the "Restore..." script if you're side-by-side with a Time Machine volume) from the backup back to the internal drive.

02-19-2008, 01:07 PM
ok. how do I start from the backup? it is a USB connected drive. the Mac does not recognise it when I connect it with firewire.

02-19-2008, 01:52 PM
Are you sure the drive itself is properly partitioned for the Mac, using the "GUID" partition scheme (you can check in Disk Utility - select the drive hardware and look at the lower right side of the window, next to "Partition Scheme").

If so, you can start up with USB, just select it in the startup disk preference pane, or hold down Option during power on and pick it there.

02-20-2008, 05:55 PM
This onion is bringing tears to my eyes. So no the drive wasn't partitioned properly, but now it is, and yes I can boot from it!! Thank you for the education.

another question if I may. I think I'll have to erase and install to get rid of the conflict causing Finder to fail, which I am told is with one of my applications, but noone can help narrow it down. So I'll have to start clean and reinstall one at a time .. the question ... can I simply drag each application over from the backup volume to the newly created OS X volume?

Thanks again for your help ... it isn't only the application that's SuperDuper!

02-20-2008, 06:09 PM
No, you can't do that, Peter, for most apps. Can't you archive-and-install, as I suggested before?

02-27-2008, 01:35 PM

Just to finish this off, I have erased and installed a clean 10.5.0, installed all the updates, reinstalled almost all my applications, copied over all my files from my SuperDuper backup and am happily running 10.5.2 at last. I have no idea what caused the problem in the first place. I did clean out a lot of old junk which I had downloaded, used once and then forgot about, so maybe it was in there somewhere. Guess I'll never know.

Thanks for your suggestions and help along the way.