Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Mar 19, 2012 8:40 PM by PM-R
euroswiss Level 1 Level 1


I run 10.5.8 on my iMac and just bought a Snow Leopard DVD from Apple to upgrade to 10.6.  I launched the installation DVD and installed the upgrade - all seemed to behave fine, except that the restart hangs at the spinning wheel.  I gave it 3 hours but it never progressed beyond the spinning wheel.  I can force the system off and reboot with option key pressed.  The internal hard drive comes up as one of the startup disk options and it claimes to have SnowLeopard installed but when I select it, again it hangs at spinning wheel.  I tried to re-start from the DVD and repeat the installation procedure - same result.  As an aside, I happened to have an external drive with a bootable clone of my dauther's MacBook Pro which runs Snow Leopard and interestingly, my iMac booted from that system just fine.

So, I ended up restoring Leopard from Timemachine, so I'm now exactely back to where I started....  What am I missing?  Any suggestions to try?  I do need to upgrade becasue a piece of software that I ant to use is not compatible with Leopard but requres Snow Leopard or Lion.



iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10

    Most likely you needed to repair the hard drive and permissions before doing the upgrade. Thus, you installed an upgrade on a somewhat dysfunctional system. With the new OS the dysfunctions led to significant malfunction.


    I would suggest, since you have a Time Machine backup, that you do this:


    Drive Preparation


    1. Boot from your Snow Leopard Installer Disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button.  When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.


    2. After DU loads select your hard drive (this is the entry with the mfgr.'s ID and size) from the left side list. Note the SMART status of the drive in DU's status area.  If it does not say "Verified" then the drive is failing or has failed and will need replacing.  SMART info will not be reported  on external drives. Otherwise, click on the Partition tab in the DU main window.


    3. Under the Volume Scheme heading set the number of partitions from the drop down menu to one. Click on the Options button, set the partition scheme to GUID then click on the OK button. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Partition button and wait until the process has completed.


    4. After formatting has completed quit DU. Complete the Snow Leopard installation.


    When Snow Leopard restarts into the Startup Assistant you will get an option to restore from your Time Machine backup. You can then migrate your Home folder, applications and support files, and system preferences.


    This will give you a new, freshly installed Snow Leopard system.

  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    Thanks Kappy - this worked great.  Got SnowLeopard running - backed up from Timemachine.  All well BUT at next re-start, system hangs again, just like before at the spinning wheel.

    I assume this means there is an incompatibility that I re-loaded when I restored with Timemachine.  I'm way out on a limb here but could it have something to do with Rosetta?  One of my old apps (I think it may be Quicken) asked for Rosetta when I restored apps from Timemachine, so I clicked "find Rosetta" in the dialog box.  The app searched the disks and when it apparently could not find anything it went to the net and downloaded/installed it.  Is it possible that Snow Leopard is not compatible with Rosetta?  If so, why did the system go out and load it automatically?

    All very annoying - the restore takes about 7 hours!  Grrr!

  • PM-R Level 1 Level 1

    Try shutting down your Mac and then try booting up into 'Safe Boot Mode'.


    Press and hold the shift key only when your hear the startup chime and until you see the spinning gear.


    Then select your admin name, enter password and log in.


    That will disable any non-Apple third party stuff that may be causing the problem.


    Mac OS X: Starting up in Safe Mode

  • rory61 Level 1 Level 1

    I just had a very similar problem today. I was on 10.5.8 and got a disc from Apple of 10.6.3. The HD was fine because I ran disc utility before the upgrade. Same thing happened to me, it hung on restart. After I force quit, it finished loading and said all was fine. It then restarted on its own. But when it booted, I got a light blue desktop, and at the top the first thing is Finder. There is no Apple logo with the system restart and shutdown options. I'm afraid to go any further at this point without some help.   Thanks,   KG

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10

    Rosetta is only the emulator used to run PPC-only programs. It was loaded from the Apple network because it was not yet installed.

  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    OK thanks - I guess it is Lion then that isn't compatible?  Anyway, I guess I'll have to try to install SnowLeopard to an external drive and tinker with it that way - constantly restoring the internal drive is getting old. 

    I'll try to Safe Boot but I guess I'm wondering what to do next if it indeed turns out that it is a thirdparty problem - is there somesort of diagnostic to figure out WHAT the culprit is?

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10

    True. Lion is not compatible with Rosetta or PPC-only programs. I would try a clean install of Snow Leopard on your external drive. That way you avoid any issues that may be caused by upgrading an existing system that may be dysfunctional.

  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    OK, I tinkered around with this quite a bit, including installation on external drive (works fine) and then using migration assistant to pull the old Leopard data in.  No joy!  Always hangs at spinning wheel. 

    Any other suggestions for this?  I realize that I can just fresh install Snow Leopard and then go form there but I have a massive amount of customization that I will lose that way and need to re-install/re-configure.  This is not at all a simple process and I would dearly love to avoid it.

    What is the likely culprit here?  Is it some application that is not compatible or is it more likely user info?  other?


    Any help appreciated!



  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    Safe boot hangs as soon as the apple logo shows up (i.e. doesn't even get to the spinning wheel.  What does this mean? 

  • PM-R Level 1 Level 1

    Basically it means that your Mac OS X version is FUBAR.



    - running Disk Utility and Repair permissions and also Verify disk.


    - download the appropriate Mac OS X COMBO Update version and run it.


    DO NOT run or have ANY other applications open when running the COMBO update, and just let it do it's thing.


    If and when that's all done, shut down, reboot and do the Disk Utility and Repair permissions and also Verify disk again.


    Not a foolproof method but it just might work for you.

  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    Thanks PM - forgive the naive question but are you talking about re-running the COMBO update for Leopard (I already am at 10.5.8) or are you talking about upgrading the newly installed SnowLeopard (which installs at 10.6.3 from the retail disk) before pulling in the old data/settings via Migration Assistant?




  • PM-R Level 1 Level 1

    All I'm saying is if you can't boot your most recently installed and/or updated Mac OS X Snow Lion 10.6.8 or whatever versions being used as a boot volume and using the 'Safe Boot Mode" method, then download the appropriate 'Mac OS X COMBO Update 10.6.8' Snow leopard or whatever version you need and run and install it as a minimum.


    Doing so, it may and can often fix your problem.


    Otherwise, you may be looking at a 'nuke and pave' situation and doing a clean OS X install plus any 'migration' stuff you might want to do from a GOOD PRISTINE OS X backup, and then do any Software Update stuff and maybe even run Disk Utility 'repairs and verify' as well.


    I seem to be seeing a few too many variables with your posted problems and maybe I'm just a bit confused.

  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    Thanks PM-R.  I'll try and le you know what happened

  • aspalten Level 2 Level 2

    OK, so the combo update didn't help.  I'm slowly resolving myself to being stuck with a completely clean install.  I have tinkered with Migration Assistant a bit and I'm able to migrade everything (users, applications, "other files") with no issue but as soon as I migrate the "Settings", Snow Leopard hangs on startup. 

    What is the best way to deal with re-creating these settings?  For example, Mail.  How do I pull 10 years worth of mail on Leopard over to Snow Leopard?  Can I individually pull mail settings also?  And how do I organize them back to where thy all sit in the same in and outbox as they did before and not in some "old mail folder"?

    What about the browsers and iTunes?  I have some idea on how to do this but it is really labor intensive.  Example, I can import bookmarks into Safari or Chrome but they are placed in sub folders/sub-sub folders and I need to find an easy way to organize them back to where I was before.  Is there a wholesale way to do this or is it really one bookmark at a time?

    iTunes.  OK, I re-established the path to my external drive (that houses most iTunes files) and I am re-adding the library - becasue of the size of the library, this is taking a huge amunt of time - it's probably a moot pint by the time I can get an answer but is there a better way to do this?




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