I Love Archive & Install


Last Sunday night I crashed my powerbook. Before all the mac haters jump and say “HAH!”, sit back down. In the 3 years I’ve had my powerbook, I’ve crashed it twice – both were my own fault. Hacking things I shouldn’t have been…

So back to the story. I’d tried changing some plist settings to rewire the way the ENTER key on my keyboard works. (I want it to work as another FUNCTION key – uControl doesn’t do it in Tiger…) Well I rebooted and my keyboard wasn’t recognized.

First thing I did – Panic. I back up my system weekly, and always before I go out of town, so my last backup was only a couple days old. But I was hugely disappointed because I’d taken a couple hundred pictures over the weekend, being up in the mountains with my family. Not the end of the world, but I’m very protective of my photos.

Next thing I did, was to try to boot to Single User mode (CMD S at boot up) to run fsck. Oh! Keyboard isn’t recongized…Can’t type anything at the prompt. Crap.

Ok, let’s try booting to the OS install disc (C at boot up) and running Disk Utility. No luck after running it.

Then my brain kicked in, and I ran an Archive and Install from my Tiger install disc. All I have to say is Thank Goodness Apple watches out for it’s numbskull users!! An hour later my system was back up and running. I had to tweak a few apps (reinstall, etc) to make everything work properly again, but I was saved.

Moral of the story – FIND ME A WAY TO SAFELY REMAP enter TO function ON MY POWERBOOK!

Wait, that’s just a wish list item.
Moral of the story – Don’t forget about the Archive and Install option when things go wrong!



If you had Remote login enabled you could have perhaps SSH-ed in from another box and corrected the problem.

This has saved me more than once.


Of course, if you were editing plist in your account, you could just boot into another account. You really should not be editing system wide plists.


Don’t think that you need to go getting into EMACS just for learning keymaps… just use the “sane” ones everywhere else…

CTRL-A – beginning of line
CTRL-E – end of line
CTRL-K – delete (kill?) to end of line
CTRL-U – delete to beginning of line
CTRL-Y – paste kill buffer…

That’s what I use in bash / Terminal anyhow… apparently Firefox ignores these by default.

Jason Terhorst

I guess I don’t pay enough attention to my keyboard use, but I never realized that Fn + Del is a forward delete. I’ll have to keep that in mind. I’m currently on a desktop, but will maybe get a MacIntel portable after I graduate.

Kevin Broderick

Note that most Cocoa apps support some emacs bindings by default, and you can add more by dropping a file in ~/Library/KeyBindings. For me, C-d (CONTROL-D) deletes the next character, m-D (meta-D / option-D) deletes the next word, etc. Check out gnufoo.org for the instructions and more cool info on mapping keys under Cocoa.

Nick Santilli

On my powerbook, I just don’t use Enter, for Enter. Pre-Tiger, I used uControl to map it as Function, so I could easily hit Function + Delete for FORWARD delete.

oh well. I’ll live.

Jason Terhorst

Good ol’ Archive and Install. I had to use that after installing that retarded Security Update that messed everything up. But why did you want to remap the enter key? Hmm. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the pro keyboard.

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