A recent software install corrupted Mac OS X 10.5.2 on my primary computer so severely that my system became unusable. While I don’t have definite proof, it’s possible that a recent software update from Apple, either the Time Machine and AirPort Update 1.0 or Security Update 2008-002 v1.1, contributed to the problem.
What I immediately noticed was that many functions and applications stopped working in a normal manner. For instance, System Profiler displayed the computer serial number rather than the installed OS version number. I couldn’t install or mount any other pieces of software because the OS lost its ability to run the DiskImageMounter file that is stored in the System Library folder callled CoreServices. Instead of opening, Backup greeted me with an error message while Mail, Disk Utility, Safari, and iTunes just beeped.
When I clicked Software Update from System Preferences, I was greeted with a message that my system was up to date. When I selected Startup Disk, I could see and select my boot drive which appeared without a version number.
A responder from the Apple Discussion Board suggested that I try installing the OS X 10.5.2 combo updater using a workaround procedure posted on MacFixIt:
Tuesday, April 01 2008 @ 10:30 AM PDT
Time Machine and AirPort Update 1.0 prevents Mac OS X 10.5.2 combo installation; fix
Further review disclosed that others experienced a similar problem in OS X 10.4 (Tiger):
I ended up resolving the OS problem by reinstalling Leopard using the Archive and Install method.