17th December 2007

Leopard Upgrade Failure – A Happy Ending!

If you read my prior post detailing my frustrating experience trying to upgrade my PowerBook to Apple’s most current version of OX X 10.5 (Leopard), you may be interested in knowing that there is now a happy ending to my saga.

And the GOOD news is that it turns out that there was NOTHING WRONG with the Leopard Install DVD as I’d originally thought (and really, who wouldn’t think so when that’s what the error message generated told me?). If you don’t feel like reading the entire previous post, here’s the brief recap:

Bought the retail version of Leopard at my local Apple store. Spent a couple of weeks researching any problems I might encounter as detailed by others, removed any possible conflicting applications, backed up my entire hard drive, and then started the upgrade. Passed the integrity check, but halfway through the install of the new OS it barfed. Gave me a message indicating that my “source media is damaged”. Got a replacement from Apple. Same problem. Got another replacement from Apple. Same problem.

Hmmmm……what are the chances that I’d get THREE damaged install DVDs? Not likely. So I finally did what I SHOULD have done in the beginning (after the first error)……assuming the DVDs are fine (which they in fact are), then MAYBE the problem is with my PowerBook.

I eliminated the DVD SuperDrive as the problem, since it had no trouble reinstalling the original OS and upgrading it back up to Tiger before I tried again with the replacement Apple sent me. The drive had been wiped clean, so no possible software conflicts. That left only hardware upgrades, of which I’d made only one since I bought the thing. I upgraded the RAM about a year or so ago.

My PowerBook came with 1GB of RAM, but since I do a lot of graphics-intensive design work, even when traveling (which is the only time I use my PowerBook), I decided to bump that up to 2GB, and bought new memory from Crucial.com (it was roughly half the price for the same RAM as Apple sold).

Luckily, I still had the original memory (I’d intended to sell it on eBay, but never got around to it). So I put back in the original memory sticks and VOILA! Leopard installed JUST FINE! AND after rebooting I re-installed the new (Crucial) memory which also worked JUST FINE! There is nothing at all wrong with the Crucial memory, it seems Leopard just didn’t like anything that was non-original.

Now why didn’t the original error message just tell me clearly that it didn’t like my replacement RAM?? Something like “hey we’re detecting that something is different about this computer and we don’t like it” instead of “your source media is damaged”?? It certainly would have saved me TONS of time and hair (yes I tore quite a bit of it out over this), not to mention the HOURS I spent on the phone with Apple, and the two replacement DVDs they sent me.

I want to give HUGE KUDOS to the great folks at Apple Care – they were very kind, helpful, professional, and patient, and with very few questions and NOT A HINT of skepticism they sent me TWO replacement DVDs. I did call them back and told them how I finally resolved the problem just in case it helps them to help someone else.

So if you haven’t yet installed (or upgraded to) Leopard, be sure to consider any hardware upgrades you may have made – you might not have the same problem I did, but if you do, check out your upgraded components first.

In another couple of weeks I’ll post my review of Leopard – so far I like what I see, and have had no other problems, but I need more time to dig in and really give it a thorough testing.

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4 Responses to “Leopard Upgrade Failure – A Happy Ending!”

  1. On December 18th, 2007,Virginia Says:

    If you have an external storage device and are using that new backup system, I’d love to hear what your opinion is on that. Its the part of Leopard I’m most interested in.

  2. 1 On December 18th, 2007,Kitten Says:

    Hi Virginia

    I haven’t had a chance to set up Time Machine just yet, but I plan to this weekend – I had read about how it will make backups until whatever you are using for storage is full, then delete the oldest backups to make room for newer ones. I wanted to be sure I have a large enough external hard drive to save a lot of backups, so I bought a new one. I’m going to get it formated and set up this weekend, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for commenting!

  3. 2 On December 3rd, 2010,Serena Says:

    Thank you for this helpful information!!! I have been going crazy trying to figure this out. I was having trouble upgrading even from the original 10.2 to 10.3 on my Powerbook after a clean install.

  4. 3 On December 3rd, 2010,Kitten Says:

    @Serena – I’m glad it helped you! I tore out huge chunks of hair figuring out this particular problem too – thank goodness it’s all grown back. :-)

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