Problems in Leopard-Upgrade Paradise?

Stop the presses! Something appears to be wrong with Apple’s Leopard OS X 10.5 upgrade-installation process — at least on some Macs. I ran into the problem on one Mac. It manifests itself as a never-ending “blue screen” (not a Windows term, mind you) after Leopard completes “successful” installation, on the first restart. Many others have encountered the same issue, and you can see evidence of that in the Apple Discussions area in the thread titled Installation appears stuck on a plain blue screen.

If you read through the thread (as well as many others on other forums), you’ll find that various things are blamed for the problem, including an add-on customization utility called Application Enhancement (APE) by Unsanity.

The Apple Discussion thread offers a solution that involves booting in single-user mode, which requires you to hold down the S key while your Mac boots. Apparently that works for some people, but on my MacBook Pro 15, the only boot option that worked at all was Target Disk Mode (which lets you plug in a firewire cable and address the drive from another Mac as if it were an external drive).

This story and information about solving the problem is evolving over this weekend as I write this post. Some resources that may help people in this situation:

My situation is complicated by the fact that there are permissions issues with my backup (taken right before the first attempted Leopard installation) that are making it difficult for me to restore that backup. I had no trouble booting to my backup after it was created. (I used SuperDuper to make the backup.)

My plan is to clean-install Leopard and use the Apple Migration tool to rebuild the computer’s environment. This is probably the smartest way to upgrade anyway. I opted not to do it to test Apple’s upgrade process.

While Apple appears to be laying the blame on Unsanity’s APE software, Unsanity says that’s not possible (see first Computerworld story listed above). So there’s more to this story likely yet to come.

As it happens, at one time I did have the APE product installed on my system, but I uninstalled it a long while back. But in examining the backup now, I have found APE leave-behinds. It’s not clear whether those files and folders are the cause of my problems, though. If I could properly restore my backup, I’d be able to test it. Perhaps I’ll get the chance later.

To be continued.

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