Last night I upgraded my iMac to Leopard. Some notes about the process:
- I spent the evening before the upgrade running SuperDuper to backup my entire hard drive to an external disk. Especially given this was the first OS upgrade I’d ever done of a Mac, I wanted to be extra-sure I had good recovery options. SuperDuper worked great, but the backup was extraordinarily slow – I got about 6MB/sec transfer speeds over a USB 2.0 connection. Amazingly, I could boot off the external USB drive just fine, although it was a lot slower loading.
- I’m not quite sure what the purpose is of running the Leopard installer application on your existing Mac OSX installation, rather than just booting off the DVD. As best I can tell, it just sets your startup disk to your DVD drive and reboots. The only contrary evidence I have is that when I launched the installer from my external USB 2.0 drive, after the reboot the installer didn’t see my internal hard drive at all as an upgrade option. I rebooted a 2nd time, turned off the USB drive and used the Cmd-key to boot off the DVD again. This time it allowed me to select the internal drive.
- I never saw an option in the installer to pick between an upgrade, archive install, or to wipe the drive and install clean. I wanted to try the upgrade first, so it didn’t particularly matter, but I still don’t know how to do a clean install if I wanted to, short of wiping the drive before running the installer.
- In an amazing display of trust given it was my first OS X upgrade, I answered the initial questions and went away for an hour or two, had dinner, gave out candy to trick-or-treaters, etc. I have no clue how long the installation actually took.
- When I finally did return to my iMac, I was stuck at the now somewhat-infamous Macintosh blue screen of death. Apple’s knowledge base article on the issue was all I needed to fix it, but it certainly wasn’t the most reassuring environment for a fix. Single user mode on Leopard is just like single-user mode in Linux: text based, read-only filesystems you need to fsck, etc. I was particularly amused by the instruction to “Restart normally” – how do you restart “normally” when there’s no OS X GUI? I know to type reboot, but not everyone does…
- Aside from the BSOD, I had no issues upgrading. So far it feels snappy and has some very nice additions, but I’m still exploring, so I’ll leave it at that.