Mac: Fixing the Command-Control-D Dictionary Lookup

As I posted earlier, I figured I’d try calling on Apple Support to see if I could get a resolution to my shortcut key problem for the Dictionary Lookup. I had tried numerous things to resolve the problem, finally culminating in calling Apple’s support team, to no avail.

Yesterday afternoon (2 days after I initially contacted Apple) I got a call from John at Apple’s Austin Texas support group. Super nice guy, saw my support case and he wanted to see if he could solve it. He mentioned to me that he had tried it on 20+ machines in their labs and found it to be a problem on 5 of them, though there was no consistency that indicated it was a specific build of hardware.

His suspicion was that my OS X installation had been corrupted in some way. The first question he asked was whether I used Time Machine or not. When I answered yes he said "Great!" then he asked me to run an Archive and Install using my original OS X 10.5 disks.
I ran through the process which I’ll admit I was a little concerned with because he said that some of my applications may need to be reinstalled in order to work properly – mainly those that place files in the system folders. Since I had a long stream of backups in Time Machine though I had the confidence to try this technique. I told you Time Machine was cool!
It took me just under 1.5 hours to run the entire process, which includes cycling through both of the install disks that came with my MacBook. The progress screen gives a very pessimistic assessment of how long it will take – mine indicated 2.5 hours.
Once the process completed I was the proud owner of a Mac downgraded to 10.5 (from 10.5.2) and the Dictionary Look Up Shortcut now worked! It is a cool feature.
I immediately went about running the Software Update, which I had to run twice because there were further updates that depended on what I was doing; that added another 30 or so minutes.
After all of this I had to re-add my printers and reload my Logitech mouse software, then reconfigure my mouse. I haven’t been through all of my applications yet but the few that I tested seemed fine.
So how did Apple’s Support do?
I’m really pleased with the level of support I received from Apple. This was a particularly thorny problem, one that I could not find an answer to by Googling it up. It was pretty darn minor since it was only one keyboard combination that was not working – everything else worked fine, yet John seem to take this on as a personal challenge. It was really refreshing to get that level of support.
I give them a 9 out of 10 on this one. It would have been 10 out of 10 had the first person I spoke to (Kim) not dropped off the call and had someone else take over.
Do you have this problem on your Mac?
For those of you that have also had this particular problem you want to make sure you try all the usual trouble shooting (check preferences to ensure the feature is on and mapped to the right keys, make sure the Dictionary application is in the Application folder, not a sub folder, etc) before you try an Archive and Install. Make sure you have a good backup of your entire system before you try this too.
Once it’s done you will have a new folder on the root of your boot drive called Previous Systems and under that a folder with the date you ran the update. Mine contains 2.06GB of my older system files, which I’m going to leave until Time Machine does a full pass again.
If you run Time Machine it will be very busy after an Archive and Install; mine ended up backing up about 21GBs.
Oh yeah, and that feature? Hitting Command-Control-D and just moving the mouse over words and getting a pop-up dictionary immediately? Very, very cool!