Well I’ve been having problems with the Mac. Disapointing I know. Its especially difficult trying to convince people how good the system is when it dies.

Anyway I decided that the only step forward (Other than sending the damn thing back to Apple again) was to reinstall OSX. So I start doing all the things I normally do when reinstalling an OS. I copy my data. I make backups of all the application installers I can find. I backup all the data from the other userID on this PC. It takes a while.

Eventually I stick in the OSX install disc and boot to it. I select the option to use existing user profiles on the new install and progress through normally. When the thing finishes and boots up I am blown away to find that the system is exactly as it was before! Not in the sense that it crashes all the time (This is still yet to be seen) but in the sense that my profile, the profile of the other user, applications and configs are all exactly the same! 90% of applications are still there are working without the need for a reinstall. At first glance I would swear that the installer didn’t actually do anything except for the fact that it actually boots up again.

I know this is what a modern operating system SHOULD do, but I was blown away by the fact that this actually did it. More impressed with Apple, now if only it doesn’t start crashing again I’ll be positively delighted.

Edit: OK the problem began reoccuring. bugger. Anyway long story short, and this will sound stupid, but I think its possible that it might be gcc-4.0 causing the problem.
no I don’t have any technical reason to back this up (Maybe someone can help here) but after installing it the problem began again, after removing it and replacing it with gcc 3 I haven’t excperienced a single crash. I’ve fired up a heap of memory/CPU intensive apps and pushed pretty hard, but no crashes. If anyone can provide a reason for this I would love to hear it. Does gcc-4.0 replace any system files when its installed? its hard to imagine but its the only thing that even remotely makes sense.

13 thoughts on “Impressed”

  • Speaking of crappy MS software: Office crashed my mac. Well, I guess technically it didn’t “crash” my mac as much as it weirded out on me and made the whole screen a grey-out color (like in dashboard) that would no longer let me click on ANYTHING on screen (except the menu bar). Even after I manually killed the Word process, the screen stayed like that.

  • And who could forget the time I installed some MS keyboard drivers on the mac only to have to restrart the machine (BOOOOOOO) and then have it start up only to find that stuff that worked before I installed the drivers had stopped working after they were loaded.

  • Applications are installed on the mac in a completely SANE way. They basically keep everything in their own directory that isn’t user-config dependant. This is why you can install and uninstall a mac application by dragging it to the applications folder or trash can.

    KDE are talking about implementing a similar system for KDE4, which after playing with the mac I completely support.

  • By transferring over your “old” User prefs, you are inheriting the same old issues that plagued you prior to re-installing OS X. Just as if you never re-installed OS X in the first place.

    Documents, movies, music, media are one thing (and even they can get corrupted, corrupted plists, etc, will cause havoc.

    99% of issues can be traced to a sofware (OS, App) issue. If that doesn’t fix it in that case then you have a hardware issue, bad ram, drive, mother baord, etc.

    I have been doing pro apple consulting for years now and I never, never do a “archive and install” you do no want to inherit issues. I have only seen issues with this, Erase and Install is the only way to go, of course I use Super Duper and have a “base” OS 10.4.2 image ready to go, it images in 7 minutes or so and OS X is back to the way it used to be solid as ever.

    Also keep in mind if you are one that is always changing the state of the “image” by installing more and more apps, share ware, whatever ware, it doesnt matter, then by definition the image “state” is always changing, it’s hard to predict interactions with all of the apps installed and / or open.

    Having every damn OS X app out there installed just because “I have to have it” is not smart computing, it only leads to slow performance and unstable behavior, pick the apps you use most and go with that.

    Apple must have “Portable User Directories” soon hopefully in 10.4.3 or later, so we can move them to other partitions without, Permissions issues, which by the way still plague 10.4x, (have to still use Batchmod to fix, because the Finder is still awful at it.

  • Howdy!

    When you boot up to reinstall, when you get to the first install window, select Disk Utility from the Install menu. Reformat the drive. Now go back and reinstall. Copy things like songs, and photos, but recreate your other prefs.

    One way to see if the prefs are causing problems, you can always create a second account and start launching apps to see if the same problems occur. This can help figure out if it is on a user level or on a system level.

    Hope this helps.

  • Download Cocktail and run it. It wil clear caches and repair permissions which fixes an awful lot of issues. You can also repair permissions using Disk Utility which comes with your Mac. Some prettty minor maintenance like this will kepp your Mac running smoothly unlike Winodws where you have to run multiple spyware apps, anti-vrius, registry cleaners etc.

  • John C. Randolph says:


    I was an Apple engineer for 3 1/2 years, and I *always* used “archive and install”. If an app is behaving strangely after updating the OS, I’d just throw away its folder in my ~/Library/Application Support/ directory, and/or throw away its preferences.

    The only systems I’ve ever had trouble with when using archive and install were internal development builds. It’s never been a problem with any released version for me.


  • I am appalled at the “pro consulting” advice from macguitarman. He obviously is not Thinking Different, he’s stuck in the old OS 9 mentality, and not Thinking Unix. Get up to speed, man, this is the 21st century! The solution to every problem is not a reformat and reinstall, this isn’t Windows!
    There is an easy way to tell if a software problem is in the userspace or the OS. Simply create a new user account, log in to that account, which will have fresh, unused user preferences for everything. Then run the problematic app, see if the problem goes away.
    If the problem goes away, the problem is most likely to be in the user’s account preferences. If the problem does not go away, it is in the System preferences. If it’s in the OS prefs, an Archive and Install is perfectly safe. If it is in the user prefs, there are other debugging techniques besides a total reinstall. For example, there are several command-line tools to validate .plist files (for example, AppleJack). Or you could just create a new account, designate it the Administrator, and abandon the old admin account and delete it.
    So, Mr. Guitarman, I sure pity your clients, they deserve someone who knows WTF he is doing (which ain’t you).

  • wow, wasn’t expecting quite so many responses.

    Just a little background info. The problem I was having was a kernel panic on bootup so I was fairly sure it wasn’t a user space issue (OK I know its not impossible, but it was unlikely). Also it wasn’t any one particular application or anything that caused the problem. Additionally this is a first generation iMac G5 so hardware problems aren’t exactly rare, its already been back once for an overheating problem.

    Now that the system is reinstalled I’m a little more sure its a hardware problem as the same thing is happening again. It didn’t start occuring until I installed gcc-4.0 but I don’t see that the two can be related, more just a matter of bad timing. Bascially the whole thing just comes to a grinding halt in a random app at a random time (it does tend to do it more when its pushed harder tho) and I am forced to do a power off/on. Upon rebooting it gets as far as the blue “Loading OSX” screen and then drops back to a Darwin (ie command prompt) logon which doesn’t accept any of the normal logons. Same problem as before.

    I can normally get back in eventually through a series of boots into Single user mode + fscks + mounts/umounts. When I’m in single user mode the system won’t let me mount ‘/’ as read/write as it gives an error replaying the journal. Eventually after a few reboots and fscks I can mount it read/write and then boot OSX normally. I then wait about 15 minutes and it freezes starting the whole cycle again.

  • many panics during boot-up are the result of corrupted NVRAM and/or PRAM. If you have not already cleared it, you should do so. The following article will provide additional details.

    Your note that the problem seems most present after a forced power down is a good clue, as such action is quite likely to result in corrupted settings. if your system doesn’t know where it started, it can easily become lost during use.

  • Nice… i seem to be having a very similar problem, i have tryed reinstaling the OSX, but the problem starts up again.
    Is can anyone give me some inside into this ‘Archive and Install’, i think i know how to do it, but i need a quick lesson in it

    Would really appreciated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *