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On a mac laptop running Snow Leopard, for some reason the programs in Applications->Utilities have all been removed (possibly because owner thought they could to free up space)

What's the best and easiest way to get them back properly?

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Who knows what else is missing? Best option may be to reinstall the OS. It will go into Archive and Install mode, as discussed at the Apple Blog:

Should one need to archive and install (which is where your previous system files are archived in a separate location and a new system is installed in their place), the installer will it automatically [sic] when it detects an attempt to install the same operating system as is currently found on the Mac. When installation is complete, Snow Leopard cleans up after itself and doesn’t leave users with an ugly “Previous System” folder as before.

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