Previous 1 2 3 Next 33 Replies Latest reply: Jul 10, 2013 6:36 AM by O'Molohon at home
a brody Level 9 Level 9
Classic Mac OS

OK, the subject line is a bit tongue and cheek, but with the number of people who claim updates "kill" their systems I had to catch those who are about to update before they feel it has killed their system.




I mean it, do it at least twice to two separate mediums before you install anything.  That includes updates, patches, firmware, etc...


No data is invulnerable.


Ensure that all the periperals and applications either have been tested with the update, or at least one requires it by either asking here on the Apple Support Communities what software and hardware variations have known to work, and what does not among your collection.


Make sure your hard disk won't be over 85% full after the update, this is an arbitrary number where Mac OS X seems to slow down at.


Make sure nothing is causing permanent freezes that don't let you force quit applications with command-option-escape, or don't let you switch to another open application.  If there is something permanently freezing a program short of force powering off the machine from the power button or power source, and you don't get the shut down dialog when you hit the power button, there may be something wrong with the hardware or software installed which will NOT be solved by an update. Note, the force quit command won't save your data either, so saving work from applications frequently is always recommended in event something like that should happen.


When you update your operating system, shut down the computer first and detach everything but the display and wired keyboard and mouse on a desktop, or everything that's attached to a notebook except power.  You don't want access to your backup to be restricted after the update, which has sometimes been known to happen.  In those events installing the older operating system, and combo update and using the Migration Assistant on the backup tends to recover the system.


All other suggestions are voodoo in their origins, and really should be ignored unless you wish to troubleshoot a backed up system. But backing up is the only thing that will save your system from certain death.


And did I mention backup your data?


Please don't forget.

  • chrisfromhopewell Level 4 Level 4

    Please read the Terms of Use that are located at the bottom of this page. It's good that you want to help people but this isn't a question and it shouldn't be marked as a question so please only post it in the discussions.



  • a brody Level 9 Level 9
    Classic Mac OS

    This thread is only a question in the subject line.    It is a technical support statement of fact.  The thread wasn't marked as a question to be answered, but rather marked as a discussion to help people upgrade safely.  Yes it could have been put in the User Tip section of the board, but many people ignore that, and go straight to the 10.6 forum to find out what's wrong with 10.6.8, or if there is something wrong with 10.6.8.  If you look at related topics, you'll see I've posted similar topics before.  

  • the tall Level 1 Level 1

    Here's an out there, off the wall idea, Why don't the boffins at Apple test these properly before unleashing them on us and causing untold amount of problems for everyone out there who can't even reboot their Mac?

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6
    Mac OS X

    They do, but they can't test for every possible system configuration out there. And, besides, the vast majority of problems are related to pre-existing issues that an update with thousands of files being replaced and written on the fly exposes. In additon, you shouldn't be updating until you know that your third party items are compatible. It's for the developers of those items to keep pace with the updates, not the other way around. And sometimes they do goof. That's why I wait to see what turns up here.


    And you should have a reliable, tested backup!




    My ten cents worth (ten cents, not two, due to inflation) on updating safely (there may be some duplication with what a brody has written):


    I never run a major update right away. I always wait at least a week or so to see what develops. Most problems I see here are the result either of a specific incompatibility with a third party application or plug-in, or some pre-existing software or hardware issue related to that unique user, which only comes to light due to the stress an update writing many thousands of new files causes. Then, there are occasionally, presumably, as in the instance of font and PDF problems with the previous 10.6.7 update, bugs in the update itself, which affect the majority of users.


    External drives are not that expensive these days. I have two clones on externals and if I'm concerned enough about an update, I can install it on one of these and test it first.


    Here's my own updating procedure. Major updates don't come along that often. It's worth going to the trouble to do this.




    1. Have a backup, so if something does go wrong you won't be left in big trouble.

    2. Verify and if necessary repair the drive from Disk Utility. (To repair, you must be booted from the Install Disc or an external clone.)

    3. Disconnect all peripherals except the keyboard and mouse.

    4. Download the Combo Update from Apple Downloads. It's generally more reliable to update from the standalone Combo than from Software Update, and the Combo, as it includes all updates from 10.6 onwards, may correct any files that have been corrupted or somehow gone missing.

    5. Boot in Safe Boot. Hold the Shift key down at start up. Give it time, it will take longer. (The Safe Boot will also actually check and repair the drive if necessary--and if possible.) Safe Boot loads a stripped down system which may reduce any chance of incompatibility while the update is running. Keep all Applications closed.

    6. Repair Permissions from Disk Utility while booted in Safe Boot.

    7. Install the update from Safe Boot. Keep all Applications closed.

    8. Restart when prompted and give the system up to five minutes to finish the final touches of the update with all Applications closed.

    9. Verify the Drive and Repair Permissions again.

    (Permissions Repair may be voodoo, but in this case I don't mind a little voodoo.)

    10. And then I like to restart again.


    One other caution. If you are running updates from Software Update, run them one at a time, never all at once. This gives the system a chance to assimilate each one, especially if restarts are involved, and not choke on them.


    I also prefer to get "non-major" updates as standalones from Apple Downloads, rather than from Software Update. I only use Software Update to see what's available.

  • the tall Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks, as a newbie, you understand we have enough problems with learning how to use a Mac after a lifetime chained to Windows. Was going to ask about Combo, read it but didn't know what it was.. other than it's a lot bigger than the software update

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6
    Mac OS X

    Always safer to run the Combo. And it may overwrite and correct any damaged OS files.


  • the tall Level 1 Level 1


  • a brody Level 9 Level 9
    Classic Mac OS

    The combo takes all the Apple updates from 10.6.1 to 10.6.8's initial release of Mac OS X and puts them together in one place.  Should there be further updates to 10.6.8, it may more may not be revised.  Check the date on the download website for each.  Note, these updates typically do not include iLife, or any applications not included with the retail 10.6 release.  Those must be found separately.  Security updates though are included.

  • the tall Level 1 Level 1

    So presumably if I try to update normal software updates on the MBP if it's already been done by the combo it just won't install?

  • HyperNova Software Level 6 Level 6

    Either I'm lucky or I keep my system in good shape file-wise.


    I've been using Software Update on many different Macs since the original iMac w/Mac OS 8.1 and have never had a single problem with any of the updates.  I never run Repair Disk Permissions although I will occasionally run Repair Disk.


    Now that I've said that, the next update will probably bork my system.

  • K T Level 7 Level 7

    Last time I used a Combo updater, it (re)ran on top of the update it included. And it helped


    Recommended if the update flakes on you for whatever reason.


    10.6.8 ok here - thanks, Apple.

  • macjack Level 9 Level 9

    Michael Superczynski wrote:




    I've been using Software Update on many different Macs since the original iMac w/Mac OS 8.1

    I don't even remember SU being there in System 8?

    I had a Mac that shipped with 8.0 and it was a terrible system, never had more issues even with early builds of X.


    On the other hand, 8.6 was a terrific system!


    Apologies to a brody for the threadjack

  • worksafe Level 2 Level 2

    The old adage in banking was location, location, location, meaning that location played and still does to a lesser extent today when looking to build a bank


    In computers the term is backup, backup, backup, be it by Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner or by SuperDuper (all my personal preferences) is what everyone should be doing and I can not emphasize this enough, since hard drives fail, and viruses corrupt and software updates are not always the cat’s meow and if people had alittle more patience they would wait a few weeks before installing major updates such as the one on Thursday and investigate into what problems it might create.


    Lion is coming, we all know that but I would wait a few weeks before installing it when it is released and keep a eye open for what problems it’s going to pose to the average user and start backing up your data that might be corrupt by it’s installation.

  • macjack Level 9 Level 9

    All very true and well said. As a beta tester on both 10.6.8 and Lion (without violating my NDA) I can tell you that these updates and upgrades are very carefully and fully tested on diverse hardware and software platforms.


    Testing on Lion has been ongoing for quite a long time and it has been super thorough. That said, no one can test every combination of hardware and software. There may be third party apps that are no longer compatible. There may be apps that used to run fine that now hang or other glitches.


    A user may have had enough RAM to run one system well but not another, or graphics card, hard disk space, I could go on and on and on...


    Again, safest way I know is to install it on a clone, run it off the clone and see if your apps and devices are compatible.

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