Uninstalling the Front Row hack

A Web site posted instructions detailing a hack that enabled one to install Apple® Front Row on Macintosh® computers that did not ship with Front Row installed.

After applying the Mac® OS X 10.4.5 Update or the Security Update 2006-001, a number of Mac OS X users began reporting problems that have been attributed to installing the Front Row hack. These include:

  • Menu extras — the icons on the right side of the Apple menu bar — do not launch.
  • Repeated crashes of the SystemUIServer process, which manages menu extras.
  • The Spotlight™ icon does not appear in the Apple menu bar.

The hack's author failed to provide any instructions for uninstalling the hack should it cause problems. The hack has since been pulled from the Internet as it violated Apple's intellectual property rights. Installing Front Row using the hack is probably also a violation of Apple's intellectual property rights.

Note that if you are having problems with menu extras or SystemUIServer, but have not installed the Front Row hack, consult our "Troubleshooting Startup and Login Items" FAQ.

There are two methods for uninstalling the Front Row hack:

  • Perform an Archive and Install.
  • Selectively reinstall affected Mac OS X system components.

Perform an Archive and Install

Follow the instructions in our "General advice on performing an Archive and Install" FAQ to perform an Archive and Install of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger®. This method is suitable for all users.

Selectively reinstall affected Mac OS X system components

This method is generally suitable for advanced users of Mac OS X. If this method does not resolve the issue, perform an Archive and Install of Mac OS X.

You will need:

  1. One of the following discs, hereafter referred to as your Tiger Install disc:
    1. Your Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger Install DVD.
    2. Your Software Restore and Install discs if your Mac shipped with Tiger installed.
  2. The shareware application Pacifist.
  3. The Mac OS X 10.4.x Combo Update corresponding to the version of Mac OS X you are using.



Using Pacifist, reinstall the following Mac OS X system components from your Tiger Install disc:

  • SystemUIServer.app
  • BezelServices.framework
  • Search.bundle

Pacifist has excellent documentation: you should have no difficulties using Pacifist after familiarizing yourself with such. Its Edit > Find menu choice will help you locate the components cited above.

2. Reapply the Mac OS X 10.4.x Combo Update corresponding to the version of Mac OS X you are using.
3. After restarting, launch Disk Utility and Repair Disk Permissions on your Mac OS X startup disk. For step-by-step instructions, see Step 3 of the Procedure in our "Resolving Disk, Permissions, and Cache Corruption" FAQ.

Credits and references

The instructions concerning selectively replacing Mac OS X system components are based on a variety of posts from fellow contributors to the Apple Discussions, Dr. Smoke's own efforts to help others with the problems caused by the hack, and an analysis of the hack itself. The following Apple Discussions topics contributed to the selective reinstallation instructions:

These topic links will eventually expire as the topics are removed from the Apple Discussions due to age. Kudos and thanks are extended to all those in the topics above who contributed the ideas incorporated in this FAQ.

Did you find this FAQ helpful? You will find a wealth of additional advice for preventing or resolving Mac OS X problems in Dr. Smoke's book, Troubleshooting Mac® OS X.
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