Get Info sees different "Open With" for the same file on different computer

I've got a laptop (17") and a desktop, both with OSX 10.4.3. I had a disk problem with the laptop, but was able to get everything off the disk, reformat it, and put it all back. Everything's been working fine until today, when I tried to use the Equation Editor in Office. It wouldn't work. As I tried to chase down the problem, including reinstalling Office, I realized that my laptop was seeing certain Office files using GetInfo as "Open With" Netscape. I compared this with the settings on the desktop, and they were different. Different applications, different icons, even.
Then I noticed that when I have the CD in the laptop and do GetInfo on a file there, or even look at the icon, it's different from what appears when I look at the same file on the desktop. So it appears to be an OSX issue, not a Microsoft issue.
I've rebuilt permissions several times. I changed the OpenWith settings, but that didn't solve the problem. But I think it's because other Office files are being misread by the OS, too.
If anyone has a diagnosis (and hopefully, a cure), I'd really appreciate it.

Hi, Jim.
You wrote: " I realized that my laptop was seeing certain Office files using GetInfo as "Open With" Netscape."If you are seeing more than just Office documents displaying the incorrect default application, this could indicate a corrupted Launch Services cache or preferences on the affected Mac.
In associating documents with applications, Finder employs Launch Services. Launch Services employs several files to associate documents with applications and vice versa. When these files become corrupted, this can result in problems including:
- The wrong applications being launched when double-clicking a file.
- Multiple copies of a single application appearing in the Open With menu for a given document.
- Incorrect icons appearing on files, folders, or other objects.
The following steps will remove all of the files used by Launch Services. Be sure to read these instructions entirely, including the Notes, before proceeding.
1. Quit all running applications.
2. Trash the following two files in the Computer > Macintosh HD > Library > Caches folder:
where xxx is the uid number for the affected account in the NetInfo database. Type your Admin password when prompted to authenticate the deletion of the first file. See Notes [1] and [2].
3. Trash the file in your Home > Library > Preferences folder. See Note [3].
4. Restart your Mac.
5. Log in to your account.
6. Empty the Trash.
Do not empty the Trash until after you have restarted your Mac.
[1] Step 2 will result in you being prompted to approve the launch of the application associated with a document the first time you double-click a document. These alerts are a result of the security feature in Mac OS X. The list of applications which you have previously approved are saved in the caches deleted in step 2.
[2] The first user account defined on your Mac is generally uid 501, the second uid 502, and so forth. For example, the second file ID for the first account would can find the uid number for any account as follows:1. Launch NetInfo Manager, which is in the Computer > Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities folder.
2. Select users in the middle column of the NetInfo Manager window.
3. Select the desired user account in the right column of NetInfo Manager.
4. The data for the selected user, including uid, is displayed in the lower pane of the NetInfo Manager window.[3] Step 3 will reset to default values all associations you have created between specific file types and applications. For example, if you set PDFs to open in Adobe Acrobat instead of Preview, they would now open in Preview again until the association of PDFs with Acrobat is reset. You may want to skip step 3 to see if the other steps resolve the problem. However, if skipping step 3 does not resolve the problem, running steps 1-6 again, including step 3, should resolve the problem.
Note that some of the information above is from the "Applications" chapter of my book, Troubleshooting Mac® OS X, Tiger Edition.
Dr. Smoke
Author: Troubleshooting Mac® OS X
Note: The information provided in the link(s) above is freely available. However, because I own The X Lab™, a commercial Web site to which some of these links point, the Apple Discussions Terms of Use require I include the following disclosure statement with this post:
I may receive some form of compensation, financial or otherwise, from my recommendation or link.

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