Mac OS X 10.4.9 released: Improved app launch times, security fixes galore; Update recommendations, general workarounds

Mac OS X 10.4.9 released: Improved app launch times, security fixes galore; Update recommendations, general workarounds

[posted Tuesday, March 13th]

Apple has released Mac OS X 10.4.9, a major iterative update that includes vast improvements and is available in both PowerPC (client, server) and Intel (client, server) editions.

Briefly, improvements have been made to the following areas:

  • Application launch times
  • RAW camera support
  • Updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers
  • Handling of large or malformed images that could cause crashes
  • Image capture performance
  • Mouse scrolling and keyboard shortcuts
  • Font handling
  • Dashboard stability
  • Playback quality, and bookmarks in DVD Player
  • USB video conferencing cameras for use with iChat
  • Bluetooth devices
  • Browsing AFP servers
  • Apple USB Modem
  • Windows-created digital certificates
  • Open and Print dialogs in applications that use Rosetta on Intel-based Macs
  • Sharing using AFP, SMB/CIFS, NFS and FTP file sharing protocols
  • Login and authentication in a variety of network environments
  • Connecting to Cisco VPN servers using IP/Sec and NAT
  • AirPort including connectivity to EAP-FAST networks
  • Searching iWork ?06 and Microsoft Office documents using Spotlight
  • Viewing of QuickTime streaming media behind a firewall
  • Audio playback in QuickTime, iTunes, Final Cut Pro, and Soundtrack applications
  • Determining the space required to burn folders
  • Synchronizing contacts, bookmarks, and calendars to .Mac and mobile phones
  • Mounting and unmounting iDisk volumes
  • Time zone and daylight saving for 2006 and 2007

Mac OS X 10.4.9 also provides a slew of security enhancements, addressing several flaws identified by the "Month of Apple Bugs" campaign among others. For a full list of resolved vulnerabilities, see Apple Knowledge Base article #305214. For Panther (Mac OS X 10.3.9) users, these fixes are contained in Security Update 2007-003.

The new release is available via Software Update and through the following standalone download links:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update Intel, Delta (will only update Mac OS X 10.4.8) [160MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update Intel, Combo (will update any iteration of Mac OS X 10.4.x) [310 MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update PowerPC, Delta (will only update Mac OS X 10.4.8) [72MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update PowerPC, Combo (will update any iteration of Mac OS X 10.4.x) [163MB]
  • Mac OS X Server Update 10.4.9 Intel, Delta (will only update Mac OS X 10.4.8) [249MB]
  • Mac OS X Server Update 10.4.9 Intel, Combo (will update any iteration of Mac OS X Server 10.4.x) [350 MB]
  • Mac OS X Server Update 10.4.9 PowerPC, Delta (will only update Mac OS X 10.4.8) [127MB]
  • Mac OS X Server Update 10.4.9 PowerPC, Combo (will update any iteration of Mac OS X Server 10.4.x) [216MB]

Problems after applying the update? Please let us know.

Update procedure recommendation

First, make a full backup of your current Mac OS X installation -- preferably a clone ( try SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner). If something goes wrong, or you experience a major incompatibility after updating, the backup will prove invaluable.

Next, if you are the cautious type, run a disk repair on the volume targeted for installation. You can use an n alternative startup drive or your Mac OS X installation disc. If you are starting up from your Mac OS X install disc, put the disc in your optical drive and restart holding down the "C" key. After your system starts up and you've selected your language, go to the "Utilties" menu and select "Disk Utility." Use the "Repair Disk" function. After disk repairs are complete, restart from your normal startup drive and continue.

Avoid performing any other operations (in Mac OS X or third-party applications) while the update process is occurring. In addition, before installing this security update, make sure all Apple-installed applications and utilities are in their original locations. Moving one of these applications to a different location on your hard drive can lead to an incomplete update. Also, disconnect any FireWire/USB devices before applying Mac OS X 10.4.9 (except for your startup drive, if it is FireWire or USB, and your keyboard/mouse), then re-connect the devices one by one (checking for issues created by any particular device) after the update process is complete and the system has restarted. Also, note that the first restart after applying Mac OS X 10.4.9 may be abnormally long. Subsequent restarts should take place at normal speed.

Common workarounds for when things go wrong post-update

The following gamut of solutions that will solve a surprisingly high number of post-update issues. Unfortunately, there's really no rhyme or reason to the order in which these solutions should be tried, aside from starting with the least involved and working your way up more drastic measures.

Problems starting up Possibly the worst thing that can happen after applying an incremental update like Mac OS X 10.4.9 is an inability to startup your Mac. The first step in this case is to attempt startup in safe mode (hold the "shift" key while your Mac is booting), then follow the procedures outline in our tutorial "Startup fails (particularly after a system or security update); solving"

Delete kernel extension caches, other caches for some issues A number of common issues that crop up after incremental Mac OS X updates can be resolved by deleting specific cache files -- specifically kernel extension caches -- and restarting.

This can most easily be accomplished with a shareware utility like Tiger Cache Cleaner, but also bears a manual process which involves dragging the following files to the trash:

  • com.apple.kernelcaches (a folder in /System/Library/Caches)
  • Extensions.kextcache (a file in /System/Library)
  • Extensions.mkext (a file in /System/Library/)
  • com.apple.ATS (a folder in /Library/Caches/)
  • Files that start with com.apple.LaunchServices (in /Library/Caches)

You will be prompted to enter your administrator password when dragging these files to the trash. You may need to restart after moving them to the trash.

Re-apply the Mac OS X 10.4.9 combo updater A workaround that has proved successful for various problems caused by previous incremental Mac OS X updaters is re-application of the current combination updater:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update Intel, Combo [310 MB]
  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update PowerPC, Combo [163MB]
  • Mac OS X Server Update 10.4.9 Intel, Combo [350 MB]
  • Mac OS X Server Update 10.4.9 PowerPC, Combo [216MB]

Doing so overwrites potentially problem-causing files that were not replaced by the "Delta" (adjacent version-to-version) update.

Re-apply the Mac OS X 10.4.9 combo updater from an alternate startup volume

  1. Download and save the appropriate Mac OS X 10.4.9 combo updater (links above)).
  2. Startup from an alternate boot volume, such as an external FireWire drive, or use another Mac to boot the problematic system in FireWire target disk mode (connect the two machines via a FireWire cable, and boot the target [problematic] system while holding down the "T" key)
  3. Once booted from an alternate drive, select the problematic volume in the Finder, and "Get Info" -- either by pressing the Command-I keyboard combination or accessing the "Get Info" option in the File menu. Check the box marked "Ignore ownership permissions on this volume."
  4. If you have a third-party disk repair utility like DiskWarrior, use it to re-build the directory on the problematic volume (this step may not be necessary)
  5. Re-install the Mac OS X 10.4.8 combo updater on the problematic drive.
  6. Re-attempt booting from the problematic volume (hold down the option key at startup to select the desired drive)

Downgrading to Mac OS X 10.4.8 If you are experiencing severe, seemingly insoluble issues after the update, you can revert to Mac OS X 10.4.8 per the instructions in this tutorial.

Resources
  • client
  • server
  • client
  • server
  • "Month of Apple Bugs"
  • #305214
  • Security Update 2007-003
  • [160MB]
  • [310 MB]
  • [72MB]
  • [163MB]
  • [249MB]
  • [350 MB]
  • [127MB]
  • [216MB]
  • let us know
  • SuperDuper!
  • Carbon Copy Cloner
  • "Startup fails (particularly after a system or security update); solving"
  • Tiger Cache Cleaner
  • tutorial
  • More from Late-Breakers
  •  

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