Blue Screen

I don't know who'd have thunk it but the release of Mac OS X "Leopard" has, amongst other things, brought along with it the most ironic thing the Mac world has seen thus far and that is the blue screen you get when sometimes you do an "Upgrade" installation from a previous version of Mac OS X. So, I mean, you can pretty much take it as a good rule of thumb (and a good rule it has been for a good four years now) that you should do an Upgrade installation only if it is absolutely, positively necessary. The Mac OS X Installer does use it by default because it is supposed be the most seamless and painless way to get into a new installation, but it's actually not worth the kinds of troubles it can cause.

Here's my Leopard story. I had installed it successfully on my own MacBook and I was living the Mac dream, with the three-dimensional Dock, the translucent menu bar, the Finder losing its ability to automatically remember whatever little window state information it previously could... wait, scratch that - "nightmare" is a better fitting word. (Yes, I am being deliberately pessimistic and am, in reality, enjoying Time Machine, the multi-threaded Finder, etc.) Anyway, I came back home with a Leopard disc hoping to install it on my computers at home during break.

My dad's MacBook Pro was first in line for installation. Now, as I said earlier, you better have a very good reason if you want to do an Upgrade installation and I rather fancied I had one. This is the point when I should have had all my limbs amputated because of the absolute terror that was to follow. The Upgrade installation went just fine and the computer rebooted. This is when I got the blue screen. I waited and waited but apparently patience was not the tool of choice for this game. Did a Google search and found out that Apple says it can be due to "Application Enhancer" installed on the previous installation. Get into command line mode, look in the folder they mentioned and there's nothing. Disappointed, I boot the Leopard disc again and do an Archive and Install. At this point, the disk, which had little space to begin with, does not have enough to do an Archive and Install unless I check off everything but the Essentials. I do so, go out for dinner and come back to see that Archive and Install says it has failed to set the drive as the startup drive and that I would need to reinstall again. I hit the Restart button in despondency knowing that I only have 250MB left on the drive right now and that is nowhere near enough for any kind of re-installation unless I command line in again and delete the Previous Systems folder. Anyway, I reboot and Mac OS X starts up anyway.

Everything is fine and dandy, so I install all the Software Updates and restart. Now, the damned thing is showing me the question mark and folder icon signifying that it cannot find a disk to boot from. This scares the willies out of me because I think the disk has crashed and I know there's no backup. Cold boot the computer, reset the PRAM, no avail. Boot using the Leopard disc again and thank heavens, the disk shows up in Disk Utility. Repair Disk, Repair Permissions, set as Startup Disk, reboot. Everything normal.

And has been as such to date. There are a few lessons to be learned from this; they are as follows:
(a) Don't be a git; do an Archive and Install
(b) Don't be a git; if you have Leopard, keep a backup
(c) Don't be a git; use a Mac (because it's got FireWire Target Disk mode) 

Comments (3) Posted on at  

  • » Keeping a backup is fine... But some phases of the "bad experience" has really snatched away my joy of upgrading in the near future
  • » I did an upgrade install and although I ran into a few problems, they were largely fixed with the 10.5.1 update.
  • » The only problem I've had with leopard is glitches with the dock not drawing correctly. But that's just superficial. Oh and IB3 is really buggy. But nothing major.