Screw you Leopard

Leopard is the latest version of Apple’s Macintosh operating system. Last Wednesday I decided to install it. Little did I know what I was in for.

Like most folks, I have limited backups of stuff, and my mac laptop is the home of some pretty critical data – project timelines for my staff, project sheets for each of the major projects we have, a huge knowledge base full of all kinds of info related to my day job, and more. So I go to install the upgrade, choose the ‘archive and install’ option, and let it start. An hour later it pops up a very helpful ‘the upgrade has failed for unknown reasons, press to restart’ message. Aigh! I press to restart and the machine won’t boot from its drive. I boot from the OS dvd and it can’t find its drive. Needless to say I freaked out. Many machinations later and I could get it to recognize that it did, in fact, have an internal drive in the laptop, but the volume was hosed and it wanted to reformat. I couldn’t let that happen. With some trepidation I handed it over the our support folks for a look see, more because I lacked the time to continue looking into it than because I had exhausted all my options.

To their credit they did manage to restore my drive. Interestingly, they could never get Leopard to even recognize its existence, but they tried booting from a Tiger OS dvd and it recognized the drive straight away. They didn’t even have to run disk tools – once Tiger had ‘touched’ the drive, it was back to its normal state, and the machine was working fine again.

I have no explanation for how the above happened. I do now have a laptop running Leopard, and I now have several backups of it since the whole experience put the fear of ‘OMFG I lost all my stuff!!!’ into me. Leopard is pretty great once it’s running, but of all the OS X releases this one was by far the worst in terms of the upgrade process. Back everything up is my advice to anyone thinking of upgrading. It came out during this process that I was the 8th machine that was being upgraded to Leopard on our campus, and it was the second one to have a serious issue. The other one actually had data loss too.

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