A Warning to Mac Users

I'm a Mac user, and I recently decided to upgrade to the new operating system, OS X Leopard. I thought it would be relatively simple to upgrade. But it wasn't. I've spent the last two days stuck in front of my computer working out all the kinks. So I thought I'd post a warning to help any other people in a similar situation avoid the mistakes I made.

My big mistake was apparently my choice to simply upgrade the existing system. It took an hour or two to complete the installation process, but then, instead of seeing an improvement, the performance of my computer slowed to a crawl. It was like swimming through molasses. I kept getting an endlessly spinning beach ball whenever I tried to do anything. A few times the finder froze. I have a relatively new computer -- an intel mac mini -- so the hardware should have been able to handle the upgrade. I was thinking, "Wow, this new system sucks!"

After some slow searching on the internet, I discovered that other people had been reporting the same problem. The solution was that instead of simply upgrading the system, you had to do a clean install. This meant wiping out everything and starting new. So that's what I decided to do. The problem was, this meant backing everything up first -- something I should have been doing on a regular basis anyway, but hadn't been.

So I spent an entire day backing stuff up, doing a clean install of the system, and then reinstalling everything.

Long story short, I'm back in business, and the new operating system works really well. But it took me two solid days of messing with this to get it to work.

Obviously the experience of others may vary. But I'd definitely recommend doing a clean install right away, and not even thinking about choosing the "upgrade" option. But now that the system is working correctly, I do like it.


Posted on Sat Jan 19, 2008


As far as I now this was true with the first versions of leopard. Revisions do not have problems.
Posted by Ksho  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  10:40 AM
I read that whole entry in case you were talking about an interesting hoax, but you weren't. Don't you have a personal weblog?
Posted by Lamont  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  01:12 PM
it just works.
Posted by Nick Normal  in  Queens, NY  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  01:15 PM
Sorry you had problems... most don't. I installed Leopard on three machines: an old Mac mini, a PowerBook G4 and a iMac Intel core duo and none of these had a problem. I installed Leopard over Tiger... none of these had problems going in and had no problems after the installation of Leopard. I am on several Mac lists and have heard a few stories similar you yours... many are saying (ex PCers) are saying to do a fresh "clean" update.... I've just never had to do that with any... Panther, Tiger or Leopard. I do make sure there are no quirks going on before installation and I verify permissions and verify the boot disk about every other week.

Posted by Roy Crockett  in  Virginia Beach , VA  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  01:59 PM
Thanks for the warning Alex. I haven't switched to Leopard yet so I think I'll wait a little longer unless, as Ksho said, it's just the early versions that have the problem.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  02:03 PM
Please update this post - It's really not necessary to do a clean install, but I agree that the Upgrade is unwise.

The best option these days is 'Archive and Install' as long as you have a few gigs free. It moves aside the entire old OS, while keeping your apps and data intact. Saves you a lot of time, and it's 99% as safe.

Also, if a disk doesn't appear in the menu for you to install to right away, just wait. There is a bug, and your USB drives etc could appear sooner than your internal ones, as illogical as that might seem.
Posted by Pellucidity  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  04:54 PM
Some USB-drives have the weird tendency to switch back to USB-1 speeds (yep, the 1.5 Megabyte per second version). And yes, this is also forum-material, not frontpage.
Posted by Jerry S  on  Sat Jan 19, 2008  at  11:45 PM
On any operating system, it's always a good idea to back up your whole hard drive right before making any serious changes to the system folder/files. I've been using Macs since 1989 and haven't encountered this particular problem yet, but funny things happen when you're changing your OS.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Round Rock, Texas  on  Sun Jan 20, 2008  at  01:45 PM
I upgraded to Leopard out of necessity; my hard drive died, and I was in the middle of moving and couldn't find my reinstall discs. All I can say is, if you have the choice, upgrade. Today. It's fantastic. Fast, responsive, great features (Time Machine and Stacks alone are worth it). Just install it properly, and you'll have no worries.
Posted by Edward  on  Mon Jan 21, 2008  at  01:42 AM
A mac? you disappoint me Alex
Posted by Mr.R  on  Mon Jan 21, 2008  at  05:57 AM
My wife and I both id the upgrade (as opposed to "archive and install" or a clean install) and lucked out pretty well. But before i did mine, I diabled a lot of third part apps I was using as enhancements to the OS. VirtueDesktops (now handled by spaces anyway), Shape Shifter (which is a resource hog as it is, but the hack breaks in Leopard anyway) and the unsanity APE that went with it, and a couple others. For every "upgrading didn'work" story, I her a "mine was fine story", so it appears the experience varied pretty widely. In any case, I'm glad yours is working fine now.
Posted by Nat  in  Detroit-ish  on  Mon Jan 21, 2008  at  10:27 AM
I installed Leopard on the new family Mac the day I bought it and I had no problems. I just made sure that Tiger was fully updated before I did so. That took me a good couple of hours. Leopard took about half an hour from inserting the disk.

Haven't tried it on the Mac Book yet ...
Posted by Gentleman John  in  UK  on  Mon Jan 21, 2008  at  02:02 PM
You had me worried there for a minute. I have heard some horror stories about Leopard, and I just got around to buying it. I have an iMac with a (full) 250gb HD so a complete backup was not an option, as I only have a (full) 160gb external drive. It took Leopard over an hour and a half to install, but it seems to run fine now. Sorry it didn't turn out that well for you.
Posted by Salamander Sam  in  Chicago  on  Wed Jan 23, 2008  at  11:08 AM
Also, just a sidenote, it seems odd to me that there is a Windows Vista advertisement on this page when the thread is about Macintosh.
Posted by Salamander Sam  in  Chicago  on  Wed Jan 23, 2008  at  11:10 AM
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