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01 November, 2007

Leopard - The Install, The Upgrade, The First Signs of Trouble

The Plan:

The upgrade was going to take my perfectly fine OS X 10.4.10 MacBook Pro to a totally cool Leopard all in less time then it takes me to hang a shower head. For reference ... after 11 months that shower head is still in its box. But this is Apple. This should be a walk in the park with a girl on your arm; Exciting, pleasant and somehow making time sweep on by.

I had all of Sunday to get this box up and running. Plenty of time, I'd be efficient and use the install time to pick up those half empty beer bottles, shrimp tails and cobwebs from last night's Halloween Party. Instant Spousal Points while having fun!! How can one plan for a better Sunday?

The Method:

I figured I might as well back up my machine with SuperDuper . Not that I was expecting any problems. I'd done a number of earlier Leopard installs without a problem so why should this one be any different? That's why Apple has Developers test this stuff... right? I launched SuperDuper and went into the other room to start picking and nibbling up the shrimp.

Two hours later I was back and kicked off the install. I decided to do a clean install. Let Leopard erase the drive, make it nice and clean. That way all that junk and "optimizations" I made to Tiger wouldn't have a chance of bothering the Leopard. This was in no way any different from how I had installed earlier versions of Leopard on my wife's and kid's machine...I mean on my developer test boxes. I would do a clean install and then migrate the users back using Migration Assistant.

The install went smooth. Nothing seemed amiss. I setup a user that automatically should have Administrator rights and I started the migration of my 3 family users. Me, The Wife and The Kid. Two of those accounts have Admin privileges. The third is a Standard user.

Once the beer bottles had been picked up, my Mac was ready for the test. I rebooted one more time for good measure and then logged in as Me. Everything was looking fine. This is good ... except that..

"Hmm, my Macintosh HD is not showing up on the Desktop."

"O.K." I thought.
"No biggy. It must be there since the Mac is running."

A quick dash to Terminal and a poke around the /Volumes directory.

"Yep, Macintosh HD is there."

I went over to the Finder Preferences and made sure that HARD DRIVES was selected. It was.

"That's strange. Then why...".

I went back to Terminal and did an

ls -al

The '-al' options will show a long directory listing including hidden files.

"Yep, everything looks the same."

I couldn't for the wife of me figure out what in tarnation was going on. I had not seen this before. But, I did notice that those volume names listed under /Volumes, all had extended attributes.

I got into the intertube and slid on over to
and searched for a tool that would read and write file attirbutes.
The tool that saved the day was SetFile.

This little tool is free as part of the Developer installation. It's sister application is GetFileInfo. That reads the attributes.

I hadn't installed the Developer tools yet, but a copy was on that backup I made before starting this. So, back to Terminal and a quick move over to that backup volume.

cd /Developer/Tools directory.

I then did a

sudo ./GetFileInfo /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD

That returned


Hmm, what do those mean? According to the Apple Developer Page for SetFile -- "V" makes the file or directory InVisible to the Finder and "v" makes the Finder Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I will miss you... um, too much Universe... it removes the cloak of invisibility. Those attirbutes are all toggles. A capital letter means "ON" or "Yes" or "Yep" and a lowercase one means "Off" or "No" or "Nope".

So all I had to do was:

SetFile -a v /

Still nothing on my desktop. But, then I fast user logged in to The Wife and lo and behold the Macintosh HD was sitt'n on the desk.

Problem # 1 fixed!!!

I then fast user switched back to Me and ...... I couldn't. I mean, Leopard wouldn't let me back in as Me...


Next time on
"Leopard - The Install, The Upgrade, The Trouble "

I'll tell you all about a little thing called Administrator persiflages and what they won't do when they aren't doing what they are supposed to do and why they seem to do what they shouldn't be able to do on a Sunday when the shrimp tails are already gone.

Until then,

A Tutto Per Oggi!

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