Restoring Order

Reader Mark Waldon has moved something he shouldn’t and seeks advice for putting things back in order. Here’s his story:

Somehow, I’ve moved my OS X 10.3.4 System Preferences application from the Applications folder to the root level of my hard drive. It’s not causing any trouble, but I understand that OS X is pretty persnickety about where important items reside. I’ve tried to move it back after a safe boot — by starting from an external HD, and with FileBuddy — all to no avail. Sometimes I get an alias, sometimes it will duplicate itself but without all the panels it’s supposed to contain.

How can I restore it to its proper place with all its panels?

When you move the System Preferences application to the root level of your hard drive and then attempt to move it back into the Applications folder you’re allowed to do so — sort of. When making this attempt you’ll see a message that reads:

“One or more items have special permissions and cannot be copied. Do you want to skip them?”

Click Continue and a copy of System Preferences will move into the Applications folder. This seems fine, but during the process the application’s permissions change from System/Wheel to yourusername/staff. To put things right you should change these permissions.

To do so, click on System Preferences after you’ve copied it to the Applications folder and press Command-I to produce the System Preference Info window. Click the triangle next to Ownership & Permissions and then the Details triangle. Click the Lock icon next to Owner and choose System from the pop-up menu. Enter you Administrator’s password when prompted, click OK, and then choose Wheel from the Group pop-up menu. System Preferences should now be happy.

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