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Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update: More details; positive experiences; issues

Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update: More details; positive experiences; issues

Since Apple released the Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update yesterday (see story below), we've received a good number of emails from readers who have installed the update. We've also found out a bit more about the update itself.

Does not include Security Update 2004-05-24 Although Apple's documentation states that OS X 10.3.4 Update includes "previous standalone security updates," it apparently doesn't include the most recent Security Update. According to Mac Journals' Matt Deathrage:

"[Mac OS X Update 10.3.4] does not include Security Update 2004-05-24's new version of Help Viewer. If you had not installed the security update, you'll still need to do that after upgrading to 10.3.4."

Matt is referring to Monday's Security Update that (partially) addressed some URL vulnerabilities with OS X 10.3's Help Viewer application.

Positive experiences Being a troubleshooting site, MacFixIt normally receives far more negative reports than positive ones. In fact, if we aren't receiving reports of problems with a piece of software, we usually aren't receiving reports at all. However, the Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update has thus far been an exception: a significant majority of reader reports have been positive.

    AirPort Extreme conflict with >1GB RAM fixed? Over the past few weeks we've been covering an issue where having more than 1GB of RAM installed would cause AirPort Extreme connectivity issues. Although Apple's documentation doesn't mention this issue, reader Oliver Middelhoff reports that after installing the 10.3.4 Update this particular AirPort Extreme issue is fixed. (However, see below for reports of AirPort problems.)

    "Fast" eMac clocks fixed? We also previously covered an issue where OS X 10.3.3 caused the system clocks on some eMacs to run fast. Randy Miller notes that 10.3.4 appears to fix this problem.

    Stickies improvements Apple's documentation notes that after the Update, "Stickies no longer writes to the hard drive every five minutes, even when the computer is idle." However, Brian McCarty notes another Stickies improvement: "They finally fixed the "Stickies" problems; they now stay where you put them on the screen even thru restarts."

    Faster application launching? Although we're generally skeptical about reports of faster application launching -- too many factors unrelated to an OS update also affect application launch speed -- enough readers claim that applications seem to launch faster after installing the update that we feel it's at least worth mentioning.

    Moved applications updated Apple warns users not to move Apple-installed applications from their original locations; one reason is that some OS or application updaters will not function properly if the components to be updated are not in their original locations. (After nearly every update release, we receive reports of failed updates due to moved components.) However, according to Scott Hander, the 10.3.4 Update successfully updates moved applications. We hope Apple makes all future updates work as well.

    General successes On top of these specific accounts of success, we've received many other positive reports.

Reports of problems Positive feedback aside, we have received a few reports of problems. A few users have reported apparently isolated startup or login issues that eventually went away after a few restarts (or, in one case, a forced shutdown and startup). In addition, two issues have received multiple reports.

    AirPort problems Although some users have reported improved AirPort performance (see above), we've heard from two readers that the 10.3.4 Update has resulted in wireless problems. Jeffrey Burack notes, "Just installed 10.3.4 via Software Update (over 10.3.3) and my Pismo no longer sees my Airport card." Similarly, Jeremy Fitzharding writes:

    "On both my flat panel iMac and iBook, this update has crippled Airport. It works fine when you first log in, but if you log out and in again (or switch users), it no longer sees any networks -- only a reboot will fix it. (Turning Airport off before switching users seems to work -- I can reconnect in the new user when I turn it back on.) I'm using a Linksys AP with 128-bit WEP."

    PowerBook fan issues We've also heard from a few users that the update has caused their PowerBooks to heat up and, as a result, their fans to run more frequently. Reader "eprom" writes:

    "I installed 10.3.4 on my Ti Powerbook 867 Mhz. and now my fans are going mad. Fans keep running even after closing the lid."

    Joshua Brown provides a more detailed report:

    "[S]ince I installed the 10.3.4 client update, my PowerBook G4 800 is heating up very badly. The fan turns on because of the excessive heat after no more than five minutes of less-than-vigorous use. According to the 'top' command from within the terminal, I have over 150 MBs of free RAM, and no process (besides top) is using more than 1% or 2% of the CPU. I have been able to reproduce this problem by putting the PowerBook to sleep, letting it cool down, and then waking it from sleep. I have tried different combinations of open applications with the same result. Very strange. I hope Apple will fix this soon, because even with the fan running, I am afraid this thing is going to overheat!"

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