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Mac OS X 10.3.3: Installation reminders, positive experiences, troubleshooting

Mac OS X 10.3.3: Installation reminders, positive experiences, troubleshooting

Based on the significant number of emails we've received about Apple's Mac OS X 10.3.3 Update, we're dedicating most of our coverage today to this topic.

Reminder: Don't move Apple-installed applications and utilities We've made this recommendation before on MacFixIt -- including in yesterday's coverage -- but based on reports that we've received, we want emphasize it again: Before installing a Mac OS X 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. For example, yesterday we quoted reader Richard Outerbridge:

"After previously installing Bluetooth 1.5 I'd moved the three utilities Bluetooth File Exchange, Bluetooth Serial Utility and Bluetooth Setup Assistant into a sub-folder within my Utilities folder (i.e. /Applications/Utilities/Bluetooth). When I ran the 10.3.3 update (both from Software Update and the full stand-alone installer) it helpfully recreated them in the Utilities folder. But the applications that get installed are incomplete - they are missing panels, gifs, buttons, all sorts of things - but especially their custom icons."

Several other readers has reported similar issues. Unfortunately, this is normal behavior for a Mac OS X Update installation, which does not always "intelligently" update every application. Rather, sometimes the installer runs a script that simply places updated files in specific locations -- if those locations don't "exist," the installer creates them, leaving you with folders that only contain updated files, while your original (moved) applications remain untouched.

Reminder: Check drives before installing Another bit of advice we find ourselves repeating whenever Apple releases a major system update is to make sure your drive is in good shape before installing the update -- installing a system update onto a disk that has problems is asking for trouble, and a good many of the reports we receive at MacFixIt after each system update are clearly related to drive and permissions problems.

First run Disk Utility's Repair Disk function when booted from the OS X Install disc or another volume. Then run the Repair Disk Permissions function while booted from the drive being repaired. (If you want to be extra careful, run a utility such as DiskWarrior, as well.) Taking these steps will help to ensure that your drive is in good condition. Then install the update and, for good measure, run Repair Disk Permissions again afterwards. (Although update installations in Mac OS X 10.3 seem to be much less likely to screw up system-level file permissions than in OS X 10.2, we've still seen it happen, and it can't hurt to make sure permissions are correct. The only exception would be if you're an advanced user who needs certain system-level files to have special permissions; if so, you would most likely know how to reset those permissions.)

"Fix" for Finder authentication issue We previously covered an issue with Mac OS X 10.3 where authenticating in the Finder -- providing an admin-level username and password in order to be allowed to move or delete a restricted file -- would give you a five-minute "window" of authentication, during which you could perform any restricted action (intentionally or not) without even seeing a warning dialog. We also noted that simply logging in to an admin-level account in OS X 10.3 provides you with the same five-minute authentication window. This behavior was both a security risk and, given how easy it is to accidentally delete the wrong folder or file in OS X, a data risk.

The Mac OS X 10.3.3 Update fixes this issue by "requiring an administrator to authenticate for each Finder action that needs authentication." In other words, there's no longer any "authentication window" at all. Although this new behavior may be a bit of an inconvenience for some users, we think it's definitely a safer and more secure approach.

Positive experiences Despite the issues summarized below, we've received many reports of problem-free installations of the Update, along with reports of excellent performance. Wendell Gallagher's message is typical of these positive experiences:

"I just updated to 10.3.3 on a dual 2GHz G5... all I can say is fast, fast, fast. It has changed my overall start-up time form 1 min 35 sec, to just under 23 sec. It seems to load my wireless internet connection last after all other tasks are finished... very nice."

Problems installing the Update We've received a number of reports of users being unable to install the 10.3.3 Update. However, no two reports have been the same, leading us to suspect other issues, such as drive or permissions problems. We'll keep an eye out for any patterns that might emerge as we receive more reader reports.

    Data Recycler conflict with installer? Reader Peter Kaitlyn reports one installation issue that was "solveable" -- the culprit in his case was Data Recyler X:

    "I was installing the new 10.3.3 update on my G4 733 and got a funny error message at the stage where the optimization would have happened. Since I didn't get this on my Lombard G3 I looked around for something different between them. The only think I found was Data Recycler. I uninstalled Data Recycler, restarted, and the 10.3.3 installer completed successfully."

Font issues We've received a number of reports of font issues after installing the 10.3.3 Update. Reader Christian Fett notes: "The System lost a lot of fonts and I can?t install any fonts now. The Font-application simply doesn?t open them anymore (Type 1 and TT fonts)." Serge Van Rijzeghem notes a similar problem, but one that only occurs in Adobe Photoshop CS.

Mail junk filter broken? One long-standing OS X 10.3 problem that the 10.3.3 Update is supposed to fix is an issue where Mail's junk mail filter would consistently crash Mail when marking particular messages as "junk." However, a number of users report that the Update actually breaks the junk mail filter completely. Reader Mike Pantoja notes:

"I updated yesterday, now Junk Mail fails to flag anything. I get about 100 junk mails a day and this used to be under control. Now I'm carefully sifting through my Inbox to find the real emails."

Also related to Mail's junk mail filter -- and we haven't been able to confirm this issue -- Alan Sanders writes that he is no longer able to mark a message as "Not Junk":

"Can you please confirm that the Mail app in 10.3.3 no longer has a 'Not Junk' button for re-classifying messages incorrectly identified as 'Junk'?"

No UPS tab in Energy Saver preferences One of the announced changes in OS X 10.3.3 is that a "UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) panel is available in Energy Saver preferences, as well as a UPS menu bar item, when a UPS power managemet system is connected to the computer." However, some users report that these items never appear. We suspect that for these items to show up, your UPS must include Mac OS X-compatible UPS software, or at least must connect to your Mac via USB or by some means other than the power cable -- OS X must be able to figure out that you're connected to a UPS.

"Improved" Fan Control system louder than ever? One of the stated enhancements provided by the OS X 10.3.3 Update is that it "improves Fan Control system function for Power Mac G5 computers." However, Apple doesn't specify what "improved" means. A number of readers report a significant increase in fan noise since installing the Update. Reader Eduardo Nunes writes:

"My G5 1.8 is complaining. Fan noise increased remarkably as soon as I restarted in 10.3.3. Much higher level than with OS X 10.2.8 and OS X 10.3.2. If other G5 owners experience the same I will be expecting Apple to correct this soon, otherwise I will have to downgrade to OS X 10.3.2 as other people in my small working room start complaining."

DVD Player doesn't recognize DVD drive A number of readers have noted that since updating, DVD Player no longer recognizes their DVD drives, giving the error There was an initialization error. A valid DVD drive could not be found. [-70012]. Lee Monahan notes that the drive itself functions and is recognized by OS X:

"The drive is [listed] in profiler and the DVD shows on the desktop, but when you launch DVD Player it says something about a supported drive not found, error code -70012. No such code found anywhere and Apple Care said they did not have it listed."

SCSI Issues Several readers note problems with SCSI devices and adapters under 10.3.3. Mike Cowan writes, "When one of my clients updated his G4 867, both of his SCSI drives via ATTO Express PCI Pro UL2d failed to mount. They show up in the System Profiler, but not in Disk Utility." Similarly, Luis Marmelo notes:

"After doing the update to 10.3.3 my scsi devices can no longer be seen. Apple System Profiler shows that the card and drive are still there but I cannot see the drive on the desktop. The drive does not show up in Disk Utility. When I reboot back into 10.3.2 (on another drive) the SCSI drive shows up on the desktop with all its data intact."

Andreas Gfeller reports a problem with a USB-SCSI adapter: "My Adaptec 29160 SCSI adaptor is not recognized by 10.3.3, neither with Apples drivers nor with those from Adaptec. I tested Adaptecs driver versions 1.2.0 and the new beta-driver 1.3b3."

USB-serial adapters broken Some users are noting issues with USB-serial adapters, most likely due to conflicts between 10.3.3's revised USB functionality and third-party kernel extensions. Charles Watson writes:

"I use iSync with my Palm IIIc. This requires that I use Palm's HotSync in conjunction with a BAFO branded USB-to-serial adapter (model number BF-820). Since updating to 10.3.3 last night, I can't sync the Palm. I've tried re-installing HotSync, re-installing Apple's iSync Palm Conduit, and the driver software available at BAFO's website. The driver software comes in the form of a kernel extension (/System/Library/Extensions/ProlificUsbSerial.kext)."

USB pen/thumb drives no longer working A number of readers have reported that since updating to 10.3.3, their USB pen drives or thumb drives no longer mount. They show up in System Profiler, but aren't accessible in the Finder. A Mac OS-formatted SanDisk Cruzer Mini here at MacFixIt works fine under 10.3.3; we've asked readers who are experiencing problems to follow up with us on the format used on their drives (many are formatted as Windows volumes by default).

Final Cut Pro conflict with ATI Rage 128 MacFixIt reader Ernest House notes a suspected conflict between Final Cut Pro and ATI Rage 128 video cards under OS X 10.3.3:

"There are several postings in the FCP discussions about crashing while starting FCP or while playing a video in the timeline. My experience with this crash points to a problem with the ATI Rage 128 AGP driver caused by 10.3.3. The crash occurs when playing a pre-existing FCP project from the timeline. Everything was fine before installing 10.3.3 and DVDSP 2.x updaters. I deleted the preferences and POA cache to no avail... The difference between it working and failing was that FCP windows were moved to my second screen which is on my AGP graphics card. Low and behold, I look at the crash report and guess what software is running at the time of the crash, the ATI Rage 128 video driver."

Keyboard problems We've received a number of reports of problems with specific keyboard keys, or with keyboards in general, after installing the Update. However, most of those users have also noted that repairing permissions fixes this problem for them.

USB Zip drive no longer functioning Reader David Jenner notes that the Update broke his bus-powered USB Zip drive, but that self-powered models work fine:

"I updated to 10.3.3 and found that my old Zip 100 (aqua powered version) won't mount disks any more. I swapped the drive for new self powered USB 250mb drive and everything is fine. Disks mounting on the desktop no problem."

Laptop power issues Several MacFixIt readers using PowerBooks or iBooks have reported problems with AC power or battery life since installing the Update. Tim Sismey notes:

"Since installing 10.3.3 last night, the [brand new] battery in my PowerBook G4 500 (Titanium revision A) no longer charges. The light on the charger is only ever green, and the icon is only ever the 'plug' icon. If you switch it to 'show time', it just says 'Calculating... until full' but never actually changes."

Similarly, Eivind Hovig reports that simply connecting an AC adapter causes problems:

"After installing the 10.3.3 upgrade on a G4 powerbook, I have a very strange problem: Everything works like a charm running on battery, while inserting the electricity plug, instant freezing occurs. However, on reboot, with electricity, the system initiates nicely, until the point when the desktop is about to be mounted. Then it freezes. Thus, I believe this is system related, and I can see no other reason for this behaviour. I am running on European electricity, 230V."

DAVE no longer works Rubin Burstyn reports that DAVE, the Windows networking software, doesn't appear to work with 10.3.3:

"Seems that after I updated to OS 10.3.3 Thursby's Dave 4.1.1 no longer recognizes any network and printer network connections. My alternative drive running 10.3.2 networks fine with Dave. The other 2 computers on the network are PC's and my Mac G4 acts as the server."

Problems with KVM switches? Reader Shawn Brisbay notes that out of all his Macs, only the ones connected to a KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch experienced problems:

"When the update was complete I lost mouse and keyboard functionality. Even connecting a stand alone mouse or keyboard would not work. The only way to restart was to push the power button."

Problems with USB ports in Studio Display Reader Paul Burd notes that after installing the Update, the USB ports in his 17" Apple Studio Display stopped working: "I was able to resolve the issue by shutting down, disconnecting/reconnecting the monitor from the back of the computer." We've received similar reports of problems from other users; we encourage them to try Paul's fix.

Drop us an email at Late-breakers@macfixit.com.

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