Leopard: Incompatible third-party software and hardware

An index of what isn't compatible with Mac OS X 10.5.

CNET staff
8 min read

There are a number of third-party software and hardware products that are incompatible with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). Incompatibility can mean many different things. It can mean:

  • a product loses some level of functionality
  • a product loses functionality completely
  • a product causes other system issues, including conflicts with other applications, in inability to login/startup or something else

Many incompatible third-party system software add-ons (especially those that reside in /System/Library or /Library) can cause significant issues such as an inability to finish the boot process or blockage of general system services. Incompatible third-party hardware devices can cause similar issues, as they often interact with kernel extensions (located in /System/Library/Extensions).

The surefire way to avoid these issues from the get-go is to follow our recommendation (1, 2) to use an Archive and Install or Erase and Install process when installing Leopard. Most potentially offending items will be eliminated, and you can add them back as you see fit. This not only allows you to have a problem-free experience directly post-update, but also helps in isolating the issue (if you add third-party components back one by one).

The bottom-line: Add old third-party utilities slowly and carefully; test each one as you go. Do not expect them to work out of the gate.

As for third-party applications, most actively developed programs that are not-yet Leopard-compatible will see updates in the coming days and weeks. Though most developers had access to pre-release builds of the OS, new builds often broke previous compatibility work, meaning developers had to start over. Now that the final code has been available for several days, stable, Leopard-compatible apps should start popping up rapidly. Check VersionTracker for the latest releases.

Here's a partial list of the software and hardware we've identified as currently incompatible, on some level, with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard):

SuperDuper This indispensable application for performing full clone backups of Mac OS X volumes is not yet Leopard compatible, but will be soon. The developer says:

"SuperDuper! 2.1.4 is not yet fully Leopard compatible. But it won't be long. We've been hard at work on a Leopard-compatible version, but since we don't have the final release of Leopard, we've been unable to complete our testing. (The engineering itself has been done for some time.) We don't think it's responsible to release something like SuperDuper! without thoroughly testing on the final Leopard "bits" (especially considering the changes Apple has made). When we do get the "real" Leopard (at the same time you do), we'll complete our tests and get that new version out to you, free."

Cocktail Cocktail, like many other utilities that tinker with the innards of Mac OS X or perform maintenance routines, is currently incompatible with Leopard. The developer says:

"Cocktail is currently not compatible with Leopard and should not be run on Mac OS X 10.5. Cocktail 4.0 (Leopard Edition) will be released later this year."

SideTrack This is an example of a system add-on that can cause serious issues -- in this case, an inability to use the keyboard -- after the Leopard upgrade, which could have been avoided by using an Archive and Install procedure.

The developer says:

"At present SideTrack is incompatible with Leopard. Your built-in keyboard will be disabled (external USB keyboards will operate normally)."

"Due to the severity of the incompatibility you should not install SideTrack on Leopard. If you have an existing installation of SideTrack you should uninstall SideTrack prior to upgrading to Leopard or perform an 'archive install' of Leopard."

Photoshop 7.0 We've received several reports indicating that this 3-generation old product won't run under Leopard.

AlchemyTV DVR Mel Beckman writes:

"After installing Leopard (clean, with no user migration) I reinstalled Miglia's AlchemyTV DVR 2.5.1 and rebooted. Running the AlchemyTV app immediately wedges the system with an "unimplemented trap" error. No information about Leopard appears on Miglia's site. Does anybody have news about an update?"

Onyx Like Cocktail, this maintenance/system fiddling tool no longer works under Mac OS X 10.5.

Palm Desktop This program still runs under Leopard, but has some minor issues. A reader writes:

"Have a look at the fonts on the dates of the attached screenshot of a Palm Desktop calendar and the numbers and date on the contact. When you first open a contact or calendar, the date looks OK, but if you use the arrows to move ahead or back a month, or forward or back through the contacts, the dates and other numbers get scrambled. It looks like the new numbers or dates appear, but the old (previous) date/number is still there also. If you go through several contacts, the date and contact number will become a black bar as the different characters fill in the spaces between characters. I have verified this on my G5 iMac with an 'update' Leopard install"

McAfee Virus Scan Rick Robinson writes: "McAfee Virus Scan for Mac 8.5 does not appear to work with Mac OS 10.5."

Now Up-to-date, Daylite One reader writs:

"Well I thought my install was going so good, That is until I realized that Now up to Date cannot find its public event server. I have reinstalled and tried all I know, but I think its going to need an update. The local application works fine, just the server problem so far."

DayLite 3.5.1 also has compatibility issues. A reader writes:

"Upon DayLite launch it allows login to the database however, the splash screen at startup remains stuck on the desktop while the loading bar states 'Reading Defaults Values...' and this never disappears. The database will load on top of the splash screen and you can access all the menu functions. Syncing the database returns the error "Synchronization Failure DayLite has encountered a fatal error during sync and must close. When launching Apple's Mail. It detect the DayLite Mail Plugin as being incompatible and removes the plug in from mail."

Retrospect EMC Retrospect 6.1 runs under Leopard, but there are some minor issues:

Time Machine: Attempts to backup a Time Machine volume with Retrospect will result in the backup stopping during the scanning phase. The Retrospect error log will report "duplicate DirId" errors for Time Machine volume. Your Time Machine volume should be excluded from all backup scripts.

Live Restore of 10.5 system volume not supported: When performing a Restore Entire Disk operation to a Leopard startup volume, you must startup the computer and run Retrospect from an alternate startup drive.

The developer says:

"Retrospect 6.1 users will be able to download a free update which will provide full compatibility with Leopard. This update should be available for download within 30 days of the Leopard release date."

One finger snap Yet another issue that could have been avoid with an Archive and Install. Daniel Linhart writes:

"I just upgraded my PowerBook to Leopard and all was fine until a horrible buzzing noise started. I checked everything, booted into single user mode and just couldn't find out what was causing it. After much hair pulling I realized that it was triggered by holding down the button to invoke One Finger Snap. Once OFS was deactivated in Sys Prefs the buzzing disappeared."

Little Snitch 1.6 There's a Little Snitch 2 beta that works with Leopard. Previous editions can cause significant issues -- and this is yet another issue that cold have been obviated with an Archive and Install:

"Friend of mine installed 10.5 on Friday and (against my advice) simply installed over his previous 10.4, without an Archive & Install. After booting into 10.5 all over Internet apps worked except his web browsing: no browser app would load any page at all. He finally realized that he had installed LittleSnitch 1.6 - after removing that and disabling his web browsing worked perfectly."

Norton AntiVirus Symantec, the developer of NAV, says:

"Norton AntiVirus 10.0 for Macintosh will not be updated to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.5. However, Symantec will release Norton AntiVirus 11.0 for Macintosh and Norton Internet Security 4.x for Macintosh that would be compatible with MAC OS X 10.5. Also, Norton Confidential 1.x for Macintosh will be compatible with MAC OS X 10.5. Firewall functionality will be included as part of Norton Internet Security 4 for Macintosh."

HP Printers (various models) Users are experiencing various issues with HP printers after the update to Leopard. Some sample reports:

  • "The bare bones HP printer drivers put in place as part of the OS 10.5 install work only intermittently -- with many trips to the preferences print & fax panel to 'un-pause' printers who by default have a communication break down and 'pause' themselves; 'pipe broken' message in the error log file.

  • "The really nice AiO drivers and applications (scan, fax, etc.) that worked flawlessly in 10.4.x don't work at all and in fact are not re-installed by the OS 10.5 HP selection during install. When copied over from a 10.4.10 partition, they stall. The HP installer CD stalls as well; maybe due to a difference in the filing protocol in 10.5?"
  • "After upgrading from Tiger to Leopard, landscape printing doesn't work on my HP LaserJet 1200 connected to a Windows print server. The print orientation hasn't been rotated. Portrait works fine. Prior to the upgrade I could print in both portrait and landscape. The driver version is claimed to be I tried using both LaserJet 1200 drivers that shipped with Leopard, and a generic postscript driver, all with the same result. Printing from a Windows PC to the same printer in portrait or landscape mode worked with no problem."
  • "HP 6MP printer -- have it connected via Ethernet using a AsanteTalk AppleTalk to Ethernet adapter. All connections seem good. All drivers were loaded during the install and are in the appropriate folders Doesn't show in Printer Dialog Box. Can't find in the Fax/Printer Preference panel as well when I try to add. Maybe its the end of the road for this solution for a legacy AppleTalk device or is it a driver issue?"
  • APC PowerChute This product appears to have compatbility issues with the Finder in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. MacFixIt reader Dave writes:

    "APC PowerChute Personal Edition 1.3.3 seems to crash the finder in a endless loop. I installed OS 10.5 fine but couldn't see my desktop and get to the finder. After multiple reboots and relaunching the finder, I had enough time to download the uninstall script from APC's website and everything works fine."

    Digidesign Pro Tools A reader writes:

    "Digi drivers for Pro Tools LE 6.9.2 will not work with Leopard, Digi rack, and Duel 2.0 G5."

    Eudora MacFixIt reader Sam writes:

    "Eudora starts up, let's me get and send mail, look at mailboxes, but there are problems. Sometimes a very simple operation, like clicking on a message in a mailbox, will produce an extended session of staring at the spinning beach ball. Fairly frequent crashes occur."

    FaxSTF Pro Smith Micro, the developer of FaxSTF, says

    "At this time, no version of FAXstf X Pro will work with Leopard. We are working on a version that will be compatible with Leopard but a release date has not yet been announced. Please check our website periodically for any updated information as we drawn near to the release date. Thank you for your interest in Smith Micro Software products."

    Flip4Mac (older versions) You need to download the latest version of Flip4Mac,, before activating your Flip4Mac license (for Player Pro and Studio users) under Leopard.

    The developer says:

    "Trying to activate earlier versions ( for example) of Flip4Mac may result in 'engine not installed' message and will not activate."


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