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Thanks for everyone's input today regarding the stuffit problem. Someone recommended a clean install and THAT DID IT!!! After all the different attemps, a simple clean install fixed the problem. I guess I will never figure out what initially caused the problem but at least I can unstuff now.
Joe
 

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also a good technique to diagnose your system.

installl clean system while old system is still on the hard drive

the old system will be de-blessed and re-named by the new system installer.

if you want to try the old system again, just pull the Finder file or the System file out of the System Folder, rename it to say "System Folder - clean" and rename the old one back to "System Folder". Open and close the System Folder and it should be "blessed" again and you can boot with it.

This way you can go back and forth between systems.
 
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