Thursday, October 20, 2005

MacOnMacs: Restoring Applications with Pacifist

I've been visiting my sister, Amber, recently and I've been doing a lot of maintenance/optimization work on her computers. With all of the trial applications and settings she goes through using her PowerBook for home AND for hosting on G4TechTV's Call for Help with Leo Laporte, she manages to really gunk up her computer :-) .

One of the strange things that has happened in all this is that she lost the Apple Preview application - the default app for viewing PDFs, pics, etc. Preview is a fast and one stop way to handle these types of files before you need to open anything heavier (e.g. maybe Photoshop to deal with a .jpg) - I guess that's why it's called Preview. ;-) Anyway, she wasn't in the position to immediately do a clean reinstall (too many files she needed, nowhere to back them up quickly) and yet Preview is only available (as far as I could see) from the install disks that came with her computer. So here we were, unable to reinstall a program that came with her PowerBook for free. Enter Pacifist...

Pacifist is a shareware application (you can try it for free if you want to wait for the initial startup delay) that allows you to peak inside packages (.pkg files) and see their contents. Although there are other ways to do this (and Tiger itself increases your Mac's built in capacity in this respect), Pacifist also lets you REINSTALL specific packages from your Mac install disks. This is a fantastic benefit when something has gone totally wonky with a program that came with your Mac.

Pacifist lets you see inside the installer disks, select the packages you would like to install (in our case just Preview, but this is also good for things like OmniGraffle, which comes with newer PowerBooks), and then install them individually without installing the rest of the operating system, etc. This may not be a program you use all the time, but when the time comes that you need it, it can save you hours of effort and can make this potentially difficult task become as easy as pie.
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10/20/2005 11:24:00 p.m.  


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