So, I installed Leopard, taking all the defaults. Then I installed all the Software Updates. Then it corrupted my FileVault, I’ve lost my entire home directory and I can’t log in. Hey, I have a very recent backup and don’t think I will have lost anything much. But I do face hours of irritating gymnastics to get back to where I was. Am I happy? No. I’m typing this on the Ubuntu box, and it feels kind of nice and safe here. [Update: Well, while I was restoring, everything went “fweep” and died, Disk Utility can’t even see my hard drive. Sigh, off to the shop.]


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From: Erik (Nov 21 2007, at 22:10)

I am amazed at the crappiness of this upgrade. I hadn't followed the Mac OS upgrade paths until I got a macbook. First, they want $130 for an OS upgrade, for a machine I bought less than a year ago? Second, almost everybody seems to be doing a clean upgrade. Is this a joke? I've upgraded debian machines through many releases; can't apple figure this out? I'm completely unimpressed; I think I'll be booting into ubuntu even more often now.


From: Zachary Hartley (Nov 21 2007, at 23:39)

FileVault has been a scary thing to work with in my experience as well which is sad because the encrypted home directory feature of Tiger was one of the reasons I switched to a Mac.

I stop using it after I got tired of not knowing how long it would take to turn my computer off because of the compacting process it did on logout. When I tried to convert my FileVault-enabled home directory, about 25 gigabytes, it wouldn't do it unless I had something crazy like over 150 gigabytes of free space on the drive (this was a Macbook with a stock 80 gigabyte hard drive). I ended up having to do a backup to a external USB drive that was large enough to do the conversion.

Ever since then I've been using Knox ( to create encrypted disk images that I mount as needed to store sensitive files.

Once you've restored your system and are ready to try upgrading to Leopard again I'd try doing the "Archive and Install" option instead of "Upgrade" if you have enough disk space.


From: Edouard (Nov 21 2007, at 23:54)

That's not Leopard, that just FileVault. We turned it on at my work back with Tiger to try to protect the source code on everyones laptops, but gave up after the fourth person's home directory went south. It's just the wrong way to do encryption. NTFS had the right idea quite a while ago (per file, not an entire virtual filesystem).

All you need to remember is "FileVault. Barks like a dog."


From: Thijs van der Vossen (Nov 22 2007, at 00:10)

Oh, come on now. You of all people know perfectly well you should backup before you install any system updates, especially if you're keeping your stuff on an encrypted filesystem.

And yes, Ubuntu is nice and safe and perfectly decent. Why not just install that on your MacBook instead?


From: Simon Willison (Nov 22 2007, at 01:44)

FileVault has never appealed to me precisely because it does encrypt the whole home directory - that scares me (if it corrupts I lose everything) and seems unnecessary - I don't want to encrpyt my music and photos, I just want to encrypt my sensitive client data (which I keep in the Documents folder). I'd love to see an updated version of FileVault that lets you specify individual folders to be encrypted.


From: Graham Parks (Nov 22 2007, at 04:52)

FileVault is awful and always has been. I'm shocked people still try to use it, and that.

Erik: I think people are doing a clean install because they can. I've not heard of any problems with the Upgrade option, which I always do.


From: Casper (Nov 22 2007, at 06:14)

Yeah Ubuntu is truly impressive and it keeps getting better. Why people would go to Apple and get themself even more locked down than in the Microsoft world beats me.


From: Mark (Nov 22 2007, at 08:40)

I think this is my fourth comment on this blog recommending SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable clone of your hard drive, every day. Freshening the clone takes 20 minutes or so. I just have my Mac turn on at 3:00 a.m. and do it, but with a laptop, you'd have to plug in the external first, I suppose.

You're back up and running in minutes.


From: John Cowan (Nov 22 2007, at 12:59)

I can't imagine anyone having 25 gigabytes of secrets requiring military-grade encryption.


From: Thijs van der Vossen (Nov 22 2007, at 13:31)

So, with the update you're really saying your drive was broken instead of the Leopard install?


From: Dan (Nov 22 2007, at 18:43)

Ouch indeed. I've been wanting the safari search and new mail features, but I've read about this upgrade locking way too much.

Hope it works out.


From: Eric (Nov 23 2007, at 00:03)

@Casper - going the other way here. I can't believe people can put up with the unpolished, buggy apps and lousy desktop experience on Ubuntu and others when such a better alternative is available. Alas, nothing is perfect, but OS X beats the pants off of Ubuntu for many reasons despite the imperfect filevault implementation.


From: Wes W. (Nov 23 2007, at 07:55)

Ditto the FileVault comments.

I too HAD used FileVault, and really tried to like it. But after it hosing my entire user directory after a few tries, I've decided the fault is with FileVault and large (100+GB) user directories.

Since I don't need my large photo or video collection encrypted, instead, I just create an encrypted disk image with Disk Utility (included in OS X) and drop only the really sensitive stuff into this disk image. This has been 100% reliable and FAR superior to FileVault's reliablilty history to me.

Overall, Leopard is great, though it took awhile to figure out my only issues were caused by bad Logitech mouse drivers causing other serious system issues - no fault of Apples.


From: Casper (Nov 23 2007, at 15:16)

@Eric: Granted, Apple are masters of seduction with polished interfaces while maintaining KISS - something Microsoft haven't yet figured out.

But have you tried the latest Ubuntu? It kicks OSX butt when it comes to desktop effects, upgradability, compatibility, software repository, and of course the ability to run Java 6. ;)


From: Eric (Nov 23 2007, at 17:28)

@Casper, my experience with Ubuntu 7.10 is the reason I switched to OS X. Everything you mentioned are true to some extent, but none of them have anything to do with getting stuff done, at least for me. [sorry Tim, no more offtopic from me]


From: Anon (Nov 24 2007, at 08:03)

We did a bunch of OSX upgrades where I work and all went well (other than disabling automatic printers from Linux but the fix is on - I guess that's the punishment for mixing Macs with non Mac platforms).

The only horror story was that someone was "locked out" of their machine because the admin rights on their account were taken off. However it turned out they were still able to log in as root and this was a report from a home install.


From: Drew (Nov 25 2007, at 09:19)

Hey Tim,

Sorry to hear you got bit by upgrade woes. I remember a decent amount of this when Tiger happened as well. There are people who swear by the default upgrade, I'm not one of them. I imagine the good people at Sun prefer that your user library which houses your email is encrypted, but if they don't I'd say get away from FileVault. I managed to Archive/Install to leopard and bring a small encrypted user directory I use for testing only along for the ride but even then it wasn't a smooth migration. Best of luck down at the shop.


From: foobar (Nov 26 2007, at 06:21)

Don't run File Vault.


From: walter (Nov 26 2007, at 09:59)

@mark. I second the use of CarbonCloner ... just never tried using it daily! For me once a month is fine.

I ran CC prior to running the Default Upgrade to Leopard on my PB G4. .. which went smoothly. The only issue i had was that it failed to bring along a couple of settings. .. but very minor stuff.

Now after two weeks with leopard on my laptop , I am ready to do an Archive and Install on my desktop. Tomorrow my 500gb disk arrives, and I'll run CC prior to installing Leopard and letting it loose on my desktop.


From: james hoskins (Nov 30 2007, at 00:45)

Well, I have a clean install of Leopard on a brand new MacBook, so no upgrade woes. Instead, I have a keyboard which becomes unresponsive at random intervals for up to two minutes at a time, just do a quick google and you will see I am not alone.

Clearly, I should have bought an Asus Eee!


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