{ by david linsin }

November 23, 2009

Finally Running with the Snow Leopard

A little note upfront - this is not about software development, so if you are solely here to read about my take on coding, this blog entry is not for you!

A little more than 2 months ago I pre-ordered Apple's new Mac OS X 10.6 aka Snow Leopard one week before the official release at Gravis. As it turns out, it was a bad idea, because it took Gravis more than 6 weeks to deliver, but I digress...

After finally receiving my Family Pack, I installed the Snow Leopard on my wife's brand new MacBook. The upgrade was smooth and finished after only about 40 minutes. However, when it came to my old MacBook Pro, the tragedy began...

The first attempt to install Snow Leopard resulted in the installer quitting and rebooting the old Mac OS X as if nothing happened. Booting from the 10.6 DVD and then running the installer didn't help as well. I tried a couple of times, but the Snow Leopard wouldn't come out of the cage. Instead, I got an error message like "An error occurred while installing Mac OS X".

My second attempt was borrowing a colleagues copy of Snow Leopard and trying to install it using my built-in DVD. You might have guessed it - it failed as well, with the same error message. The next attempt was getting an external drive, which I hooked up using FireWire. Unfortunately, neither my nor my colleagues Snow Leopard DVD would let me install.

After I spent hours of trying to tame this animal, I decided to leverage my wife's MacBook as a remote dvd drive. It's pretty easy to setup and worked like a charm, however it didn't get my anywhere installing the new Mac OS X. The same problem here: the installer hangs after a while no matter which DVD I tried.

My last resort was using a USB stick/drive for installation. I found a nice description (german) on the web, which included the following steps:

1. create an image of Snow Leopard using Disk Utility (I used my wife's MacBook for that)
2. restore that image to your USB stick (I got an 8GB stick)
3. boot from your USB stick (hold option/alt while booting and select the USB drive)
4. run the installer

My stick didn't work out of the box, I had to reformat it - since it came FAT32 formatted and I had to run "Scan Image for Restore", which you can find under the Image menu in Disk Utility. After getting my USB drive ready and following the steps above, it worked like a charm. The installation took about an hour and went smoothly, without any problems.

Although I had so much trouble getting Snow Leopard installed, it was worth the pain! My system feels much more snappy and responsive now. Snow Leopard needs less space on my quite limited hard drive and Time Machine backups are reasonably fast now.

Overall, I'm quite happy jumping though all those hoops to the new Mac OS X Snow Leopard, although the experience wasn't very Apple-like.



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