The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade process

The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade process

Summary: Last night I took a trip to my nearest Apple store (a five hour round trip) and came home with a new Mac mini. This Mac mini came pre-installed with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, but in the box with the Mac was an OS X 10.5 Leopard CPU drop-in DVD disc. This gave me the perfect opportunity to experience the Leopard upgrade process!


Last night I took a trip to my nearest Apple store (a five hour round trip) and came home with a new Mac mini. This Mac mini came pre-installed with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, but in the box with the Mac was an OS X 10.5 Leopard CPU drop-in DVD disc. This gave me the perfect opportunity to experience the Leopard upgrade process! The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade process

Check out the Leopard upgrade gallery here!

Since this was my first Mac OS X upgrade I didn't really know what to expect. I've carried out countless Windows upgrades and a lot of Linux upgrades and know the process very well, but if I'd been upgrading a working Mac with data on it I might have taken more precautions than I did. This being a totally fresh Mac I simply shoved the disc into the drive as soon as it booted up and got going with the upgrade immediately.

Note: If you're upgrading a system with data on it I recommend that you take the necessary precautions to prevent data loss.

The Upgrade Process

Overall, the process was a flawless one. Pop the disc into the drive, click a few times, reboot, wait, select a few options and the job’s done. I didn't get the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) that some had reported. The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade process One thing that did strike me as odd though was how long the process took - both the step where the disc was being verified and the actual installation process moved with a speed only slightly faster than continental drift. Compared to upgrading XP or Vista, upgrading Tiger to Leopard is mind-bendingly slow. Sure, I could have skipped the DVD verification process and saved 25 minutes, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. The actual Leopard installation process took 46 minutes and the final setup process was over in 3 minutes. This means that the entire process took 1 hour 17 minutes. The upside (I hope) is that reinstalling Leopard is not something you have to all that often ;-). Seriously though, this isn't something I'd like to do at the start of a day if I was expecting to get any The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade processwork done before lunch time. This is a process you want to be carrying out when you've got plenty of time on your hands (and maybe a glass of red wine in hand). I'm glad I didn't run into any problems with the upgrade, especially the BSODs that some have reported, because it seems like a real bear to fix - I think I'd have just swept the Mac mini back into its box and sent it back to Apple. However, everything worked perfectly. After installing Leopard I checked for software updates and found a whole bundle of them. I downloaded and installed these without any issues (a process with took a total of 19 minutes). I expect that over the coming weeks that there will be many more updates coming down the tubes.

Leopard - Initial Thoughts The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade processI've only been using Leopard for a few hours so it's far too early to write any kind of meaningful review (although this hasn't stopped many others from doing so). However, here are a few initial thoughts and feelings I want to pass on:

  • The "Time Remaining" display on the installation screen is useless and seems to be driven by a random number generator. I was initially told that the install process would take 2.5 hours.
  • The registration information screen asks for a LOT of personal information, and filling in this info seems mandatory. I really couldn't see Microsoft getting away with asking for so much information and I'm surprised that Apple does.
  • The Leopard has landed - The Mac OS X 10.5 upgrade processEven with the Mac OS it's clear that Apple is interested in selling services - .Mac is right up there in your face right from the start.
  • Leopard is snappy, really snappy. Even on the lowly spec of the Mac mini.
  • The interface has had a subtle but much needed face lift. While I quite liked Tiger, I always thought that the grey UI was a little bleak.
  • While Leopard is undoubtedly different to Tiger, it doesn't feel (at least on the face of things) like users will be faced with a steep learning curve to get up to speed with the new OS. It's been a few months since I last drove a Mac but coming back to it, even on a different OS, has been pretty straight-forward.

Overall, I'm thrilled with the experience and looking forward to getting more hands on time with Leopard and my Mac mini. Watch this space for more thoughts and information. Thoughts?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Happy Motoring!

    D T Schmitz
  • Installation disasters - possible cause

    I read the thread on the Apple board that AKH referred to. It seems that the problem arises due to some 3rd party system enhancements (not applications but AKA "haxies") installed. Seems the files installed are called:

    /Library/Preference Panes/Application Enhancer.prefpane

    It seems that the 3rd party things take advantage or modify or install some of these. It also seems to be a PITA to get to these if you install an upgrade without trashing these first.

    I'm guessing that, if a user has installed any system modifiers, it would be easiest to do an archive and install of the present OS and then do either the upgrade or archive and install of 10.5.
    • Always start fresh

      Back up your info, then install the OS fresh. Why risk problems when you can install it fresh and have everything work. Never did an update with Windows or Linux and don't plan to with my Mac.
      • It seems

        that the people having problems chose "upgrade" rather than "archive & install" or a total wipe. Whether they all had this "APE" thing is unknown.

        I've been installing Mac OS longer than I should admit. I always found that the old Mac Clean Install (similar to the OSX archive & install) was just fine and saved a heck of a lot of time and headaches (usually involving reloading 1000s of fonts). I never had a problem.

        Since we've been using OSX I've only done one or two system reinstalls/upgrades. I used archive and install and have had no problems.
      • Always?

        I didn't bother with the "archive and start fresh" frame of mind. I
        personally have had few problems in the past with the OS X
        upgrades and this was no different. I upgraded cleanly on Friday
        after receiving my disk through FedEx. The install process took
        less than an hour for me all told, though not by much.

        I will say that Leopard is quite different from Tiger in many ways,
        but most of the changes seem to be improvements on the old
        and some of them seem to be designed for the Enterprise users.
        Spaces, for one, allows you to have up to 16 desktops available,
        letting you maintain a large number of open applications and
        files while reducing the clutter on any one desktop if you choose
        to use the feature. You can even dedicate applications to a given
        Spaces desktop so that it always opens there, keeping your
        primary desktop reasonable clean.

        Now if I could only convince WoW to recognize I have multiple
        • I saw various problems

          I did two upgrades this weekend, to a MacBook and a PowerBook, with both minor and major glitches.

          The MacBook install was clean and had one problem: It lost my keychain. I gather that if I had performed a System Update that would have been fixed, but I chose to blow away the keychain and reconstruct it.

          The PowerBook install had a serious problem, but not BSOD. The single user account lost its admin privileges. This precluded installing either updates or the "optional" software (which includes all the applications like Mail, a number of which are not really very optional).

          A number of people had this problem and there are instructions out there on how to fix it but a non-sophisticated user would be SOL, especially if this was their Internet machine. Apple's recommendation is a wipe and reinstall, which is awfully drastic.

          Not realizing that the problem was not unique I reasoned through a solution on my own, with some help from Google. It took about half an hour, knowing nothing about MacOS X account management before I started. While it was not that hard to fix it was definitely a "maze of twisty little passages" kind of thing.

          Regarding "archive and install" versus "upgrade", my practice with MacOS X has usually been "backup and upgrade". (With Windows it is "backup, wipe, and install" because the odds of something going seriously wrong with the registry approach 100%.) This time, however, I didn't even bother to backup either system. The last seven or so in-place upgrades, going back to OS X 10.1, had gone flawlessly. Even so I tried it on the relatively expendable MacBook first. My primary reason for upgrading is to get Time Machine, which going forward should help me maintain current backups.

          I haven't done the Big Mac yet, the one with all my important files. That one is backed up regularly so it will be relatively low risk.

          The one thing that I have noticed doesn't carry forward with the Leopard upgrade is printer configurations. This is not a big deal usually (in fact the printer configuration process is vastly improved in Leopard) but on the machine I perform my photo printing with there are dozens of special print profiles. Losing those is going to suck, so the upgrade has to wait until after I am at a point where that won't matter so much.

          Regarding the length of the upgrade process, I think the reviewer neglects to consider the time spent reinstalling applications on Windows. I could do a Vista wipe/install in about 45 minutes, but it takes another 10 hours to get all the software reinstalled and the backup restored. (That kind of time is why I always image the Windows boxen after doing an OS install!) I have to compare this to 1.5 hours for the MacBook Leopard install, or 2.5 hours for the troublesome PowerBook. All the applications, drivers, etc. came through without trouble.

          Actually, while on the subject, the 2nd Mac you buy is always a pleasant surprise. Apple's "copy stuff from my other computer" process is nigh perfect at cloning the previous machine. You let it spin for awhile (20min or so for my last one, although more data means more time) and when it gets done it's like you never left, except it's faster. After doing that once you will cry the next time you get a new Windows machine. Microsoft doesn't even [i]try[/i].
          • Why bother...

            ... installing Leopard at all? There are only a few games that work on it and it is a poor OS for work. Microsoft does everything, why purchase a seconf OS just to do a few things on in a different program? Whenever you need a specific program it is unlikely it has been written for Apple.

            Was this upgrade free? Are the new bells and whistles worth a half day of impatient waiting?

            I would wait until I bought a new computer before getting Leopard or Vista.

            I have owned XP since 1 year after it was introduced and have had no serious problems. Security software is freely distributed on the internet. As I browsed through this discussion board many Apple users have upgraded several times, and suggest that a clean install is the only efficient way of upgrading. XP and Vista are a snap to upgrade. Try it when you are finished fooling around.

            If Microsoft is the issue, I think Apple users would be better off with Ubuntu. It is as functional as Apple. A new version with all of the new updates is freely offered every 6 months. Most of the software is freely attainable off of the internet as well.

            What is the big deal with Boot Camp? It is a joke. I can do the same thing with multiple copies of any combination of Linux and Windows OS's on a regular PC. Place whatever OS's you want on separate hard drives and use your bios to select the hard drive to boot from. Most newer bios' have an F12 function to directly choose the booting drive.

            Apple is far too expensive considering the significantly reduced number of functions it can perform. The hardware is too expensive and the software is as well. Why waste your time? I have noticed that generally it is arrogant people who think they know more than everyone else who want to be different no matter what. In most cases the public gravitates to the easiest, least expensive most functional thing to use. I am sure that is why Windows/Vista is the most popular computer.
        • WoW in windowed mode

          Spaces doesn't seem to work with applications that are true full screen applications.
          However, if you run it in maximized windowed mode, it will work fine.

          Luckily for me, other than FCP and WoW, I don't use the computer for much else, so
          I did the upgrade and it worked flawlessly. If I was using this computer like I used
          to with tons of alterations...then, no, I'd have likely been more judicious.

          Still, WoW runs great. FCP runs great. and everything is actually a tad snappier in
          Leopard. Moreover, Leopard seems MUCH more multiprocessor friendly as disk
          activity used to grind WoW to a halt. I actually launched it right after setup and it
          ran fine...while the drive was indexing. That NEVER would have worked with Tiger
          as all extraneous disk activity had to be ruthlessly monitored and ended.

          Seems Leopard has the improvements where I really wanted them: Under the hood.

          And for the anti-gamers: You'd be hard-pressed to find a better application to
          hammer... and I do mean HAMMER the many parts of your computer than one of
          the immersive games out like WoW, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and others.

          With respect to the MacPro, I was able to really understand how the OS used
          memory (and buy more as a result) without spending hundreds or thousands of
          dollars on test bench software (ya, there's freeware, but this is a production
          machine, so any test I do I have to be able to certify the results and while I can't
          really talk about WoW as a test app, per se, I can bring benchmarks from relevant
          sub-systems to any discussion)

          Anyway, WoW and spaces don't play well in full screen mode. Works fine in
          maximized windowed mode. If you run Fubar or Titan, the extra bar prolly won't
          bug you too much.
          • Edit: not clear on disk activity

            Leopard seems much more multiprocessor friendly. Yes, that's true. AND, it seems to
            be willing to function during periods of heavy disc access. I believe that's a
            multithreading issue, not a multiprocessor issue, my mistake.

            Still, the example stands. I played WoW during the disk indexing and saw no
            framerate hit. I would have noticed before.

            Carry on.
          • Apple...

            ...has some work to do to catch up to Vista.

            Upgrading and clean installs are slower than XP or Vista.

            All of the games can be played on Vista. It multitasks and processes like it was designed for that purpose alone, which is amazing because it is a FULLY functional platform. Music and movies are all playable on Vista or XP. Business programs work on Vista/XP. Programs available on the internet, let alone the internet itself, function on Vista/XP. Any specialized programs (like AutoCad for drafting) are designed for PC's. Hardware is far cheaper for PC's, because more of it is made.

            The difference between these two OS's is clear in my mind. If you only want to spend money on only one of them and you want to have the capability to do everything, the choice is clear.
          • different people, different OS....

            Funnily enough, you could almost rewrite your message and interchange Windows
            XP/Vista with Mac OS...
            Lets face it, it really depends on your IT needs. Personally, I have been a
            Windows/Linux user for > 10 years and just recently went for Mac. The reason? In
            my case, it regroups the best of both worlds: Windows for hardware support and
            Linux for Unix type of scripting/open source soft and codes, etc. I must had here
            that I do scientific computing and that Windows is really poor in the domain (to be
            nice). This why I've been a Linux/Unix user for years. That being said, I could never
            really get rid of Windows since some applications just wouldn't make it under Linux
            or some of my hardware was simply not supported by open source OS's. This is till I
            updated to Windows Vista.... I have more compatibility issues between XP and Vista
            than between XP and OS X (not kidding)!!! Most soft now run under Mac. In my case,
            it simply is spot on. In your case, you can even run your windows specific
            applications using Boot Camp or Parallel Desktop. So, while I understand why one
            was restricted to Windows due to software compatibility issue with Mac a good
            while ago, I don't think that it is relevant anymore.
            I must disagree on one point here though: I just upgraded from Tiger to Leopard
            (upgraded, not fresh install - where did you get this idea???) and it just went
            flawlessly. I also installed Mac OS X from scratch on another machine and, trust me,
            it was so much easier than installing Windows on a blank hard drive.
            If Windows fits your needs better than Mac OS X, great and good or you. I also
            agree that hardware is cheaper if you go for a PC. I don't think though that you
            can objectively put Vista ahead of Leopard when it comes to stability, security or intuitive use.
            My two cents....
      • I don't think you always need to start fresh

        I installed Leopard on a macbook pro I've had for a year. The installation took 45 min and went flawlessly. None of my applications needed to be reinstalled--it even remembered all of my wireless networks. If you haven't installed any of the 3rd party system extensions I don't think a clean install is necessary. You have to weigh all the time it takes to reinstall all of your applications, network settings, etc., using the clean install option. I think OSX, unlike Windows, and Mac OS 9, was designed to be upgraded. After the upgrade was finished, it only found one system update the next day. So, if you are installing over an up-to-date Tiger, there are very few patches that you will need to upload.
    • Some people got caught

      The ApplicationEnhancer has been the main cause from what I have
      seen. An Archive & Install takes care of the problem - I know,
      because it was on one of the computers I moved to Leopard and
      learned the hard way! The A&I approach worked well.
      • Some other stuff too

        On the Apple discussion boards some people found
        things related to "divx" that had to be removed before
        things worked.

        Others have had problems with the dvd not mounting.
        One guy noticed that the dvd seemed thin. He put it
        into a macbook and turned the macbook upside down.
        The dvd mounted. Others followed that and were also

        Another guy returned the dvd to the Apple store and got
        a replacement and everything then worked. It's possible
        that the outfit (s) that made the dvds for Apple ran some
        bad batches or got faulty blank disks from their supplier
        of blank media.
        • Glitches are there

          I can understand faulty DVDs - learned a long time ago (when
          studying standard deviations in a Stat class) that there is no 10%
          perfect level of production. With the push to get millions of
          copies out for last Friday there were probably some other factors
          thrown in as well.

          I don't remember if our install DVD was thin, but it has now been
          through a PowerBook, 2 MacBooks and an iMac. If there are thin
          ones out there then it seems like a supplier threw them in and
          I'm sure Apple will be talking to them in the very near future. :)
    • That's generally a good plan anyway.

      There are other applications than APE plugins that use the same basic approach, and they also need to be uninstalled. Antivirus software (if you're forced by idiot IT departments to run it) is another class of software that is extremely dangerous.

      The best plan is to uninstall any such tools before upgrading, and wait for Leopard-compatible versions to come out before reinstalling them. If there is any doubt, archive and install.
      • no problems with Symantec Antivirus

        I installed Leopard over Tiger that was running Symantec Antivirus with no problems.
        • WHY?????

          "I installed Leopard over Tiger that was running Symantec Antivirus with no problems."

          Viruses don't exist for OS X... Why clog your system with Symantec??? There is no need... If you are running MS Office 2004 (for the mac)... And you get a doc of XLS with a virus embedded, it cannot spread nor can it execute while it is on your mac... Only if you forward it so someone running Winderz... and that is their fault for running winderz in the first place...

          But seriously... don't run Symantec on a Mac.. That's like giving porn to a monestary full of monks... no class.
  • Personal Information

    Adrian...there is a way to avoid sending the information collected to Apple. It's been
    a year since I picked up my MacBook and had to do this but I think it was as easy as
    ensuring the system was not connected to the Internet so it couldn't transmit the
    data. Not as nice as having an opt out check box but it works.
    • re: Personal Information

      or just hit the cancel button and it goes to the next step. when setting up other installs, I've had to wait for it to connect to the internet, so I just hit the cancel button and it continued on.

      by registering OS X, I've gotten calls from apple offering some discounts on their apple care and other products. :-)

      gnu/ choice to the neX(11)t generation.
      Arm A. Geddon