Installing Mac OS X Leopard – things to consider and eventual problems

Having upgraded/installed two Macs (Macbook Pros) to Mac OS X Leopard, I thought I’d briefly share some of my experiences.

Installing Mac OS X Leopard

Before you install, you must remove Unsanity’s Application Enhancer to avoid serious problems. Read more about it in Getting Leopard’s BSOD? Try uninstalling APE.

I’ve performed two installations, one Upgrade and one Erase and Install. Both installations went painless, although the installation options themselves were a bit hidden under a More Options button in the install wizard. Upgrade, the default option, is just what it sounds like: the system files are updated, but everything else, such as your own files, installed programs, user accounts etc are kept. Very smooth. Erase and Install completely swipes your computer entirely and provides a 100% clean install.

Turn on the firewall!

Something to definitely keep in mind is that the Firewall is turned off by default after the installation! Make sure to turn it on as soon as possible. The firewall is also a bit tweaked in the sense that you don’t specify what ports to open, but instead only choose a program to allow access for, and then the operating system takes care of it for you. It has, actually, I have to say, worked fine for me so far.

Small things to notice

A little thing thing which might confuse you is that when you connect to a network drive, it doesn’t automatically turn up on the Desktop anymore. If you want to change this behavior back to the way it was, go to Finder > Preferences > General and check the Connected servers checkbox.

For anyone expecting iLife with the package, be aware that iLife is only included and shipped with new computers, not stand-alone with the Mac OS X DVD.

Apple has introduced a dialog which asks you to verify if you’re sure you want to run an application or script that you have downloaded from the Internet. If you find this tedious or annoying, this can be fixed with the script in Lift the Leopard download quarantine.

Some users have had problems with UTF-8 and the Terminal. A solution is presented in Displaying UTF-8 correctly in Leopard Terminal.

Application problems

  • Skype isn’t working. Or rather, it works if you have your firewall off, but that’s not really a set-up ypu want, right? I’ve tested a lot of the options in the forums, but they have only worked temporarily. More info in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Status of support for Leopard.
  • Firefox seems to have a problem correctly highlighting buttons in dialogs. Also, if you use Spaces and switch to Firefox when it is in another Space than the one you’re currently in, it will switch to the application but it won’t gain focus. Therefore, you need to click it to be able to use it. Highly annoying.
  • Adobe Lightroom works in general, but there are some issues. A list of the problems can be found in Lightroom 1.2 and Leopard. Adobe have stated that there will be a release mid-November which will address the problems.
  • Transmission was very shaky and instable at first for me, but with the latest update it works just as it should.

Applications which have worked

These applications have worked without any problem whatsoever for me:

  • WMvare Fusion
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Textmate
  • iTerm
  • Quicksilver (if you don’t want in the dock, but can’t make it go away, just re-install it)
  • Entourage (necessary for my work mail and calendar, ok? πŸ™‚ )

Other problems?

Have you experienced any other problem? Please write a comment and let us know!


  • Thanks for the helpful post, Robert! I have yet to upgrade, and have actually been awaiting articles like this, just to read about other people's experiences before plunging in myself.

    By the way, Photoshop is working correctly, is that Photoshop CS3 you're talking about? I've read something about Adobe not guaranteeing their software will work correctly in Leopard (another factor why I was waiting to upgrade).

  • Ingo Chao says:

    I had problems with my account's file privileges after upgrading, and it took a while to figure out how to delete a file without beeing asked for my password … helped me immensely.

    Leopard is fun, today I'm playing a bit with dashcode's import function, inspecting dashboard widgets …

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I'm glad you liked it!

    Yes, I've only tested Photoshop CS3. Basically, to me, earlier versions are performance-wise almost not usable on an Intel Mac.

    Then again, it's always about costs… πŸ™‚

    But, if possible, I'd really recommend Photoshop CS3, since it is a delight.


    Great, thanks for that useful information!

  • Robert, I do work with CS3 myself, but you're right; it was a bit of a silly question, since older versions will indeed probably not work.

    By the way, I just placed my order, so I'm expecting Leopard in a couple of days. Joy! πŸ™‚

  • I made the mistake of doing an Archive and install. It broke my web server setup and removed MySQL. I managed to get some things working again, but not MySQL, despite following the advice I found in several discussions around the Web.

    Luckily I cloned my hard drive before installing, so it was easy to switch back to Tiger. I'll wait until 10.5.3 or something before I try Leopard again…

  • Great post, Robert! It's nice to have a central spot for notes of this kind. I wasn't aware about any Lightroom issues (then again, I haven't used it much since the upgrade).

  • Some weeks ago my MacBook had a Harddrive failure. Got it back a week ago and had to reinstall all my applications. But since I knew that Leopard is coming out, I did not restore my data on it.

    Now I installed Leopard on a fresh MacBook and voila! It rocks! I still have to check how Leopard runs on some old G4s we have at work.

  • Bill Underwood says:

    Since I've installed Leopard, I have more frequent applications like word, ppt., etc. just quit on me. My system has completely froze twice. I had difficulty booting up this morning. And I had difficulty installing it. My MacBook Pro is less than a month old. Quite frankly, I love the feature update, but find the overall performance buggy and a pain in the ass. I wish Apple used a better release process and less hype.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Ah, not so silly. I believe it should stil work with CS 2.


    I wonder if it was due to choosing Arcive and install, and if it would have worked with Upgrade, oe if it's a general problem…




    Yeah, I wonder how it performs on the older machines.


    I've had a couple of freezes latelty, too. I expect a bug fix/stability upgrade soon From Apple.

  • Al Koller says:

    Is there a reasonable way to uninstall Leopard and get back to Tiger? I've had enough issues that I am willing to wait for a better version update.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

  • @Robert: Some of my problems were caused by choosing Archive and Install instead of Upgrade. I'm back on Leopard again now, and will be posting an article about my experience soon.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I'm sorry, but I don't know how to downgrade back to Tiger.


    Sounds interesting, looking forward to it!

  • Stuart says:

    I have an odd Terminal problem. iTerm works great for me, however Terminal in Leopard displays very strangely. Regardless of the settings in preferences it opens with a window that is stretched far, far beyond my screen edge (like, 6 times as far). Text is oddly stretched as well with giant spaces between each character.

    *** 5 minutes later ***

    After a reboot, it is now behaving correctly… oops, check that… when I open it, everything looks normal but if I open a new tab I get the weird stretched text again. I have a new MacBook (just received it a few hours ago… I love it!) into which I had imported settings from an old iBook via Migration Assistant. Grr…

  • Robert Nyman says:


    That is indeed weird. I haven't heard anything like, and I have no idea how to solve it.

  • Simon says:

    Hi i am new to mac, but some how think i have installed leopard twice from the upgrade disk supplied with my mac book, will this be a problem?

    i am hoping that it will have replaced it self with itself! and not taken up any more disk space,

    Any opinions help gratefully taken!


  • Robert Nyman says:


    As far as I know, the new installation should replace the older ones. This means that it shouldn't take up more disk space, but I can't guarantee anything.

  • powwow says:


    Robert, I can't install photoshop CS3. are you sure photoshop will be installed both in PPC leopard and Intel leopard?

  • Frank says:

    I am having the following problems with Leopard

    * In Entourage – i can not access some folders – when i enter the folders the program closes

    * Can not use yahoo messenger

    * Can not access my old hotmail account

    Has anyone had any of the same problems?

  • ick says:

    Leopard is a piece of crap and IMHO

    worse than anything M$ would foist upon us.

    Some issues…

    Despite a 3 gig memory upgrade, Second Life is now laggy and basically unusable.

    No printer options like number of copies, page ranges or draft printing available. All gone.

    Itunes sounds like it is streamed off the web over a dodgy and intermittent 56 k modem, instead of residing on my hard drive.

    My DVD and picture rendering software is basically unusable.

    I am seriously considering a complaint to the ACCC for the sale of unmerchantable goods by Apple.

    Looks like an archive and install of Tiger

    and hope for the best.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I don't know if it should work on PPC as well, but to me it works just fine on an Intel Mac. What kind of error do you get?


    I use Entourage, and it seems to work fine for me (so far). Don't know about Yahoo Messenger and Hotmail, since I don't use it.


    I'm sorry that you have had such an experience. Given Microsoft Vista's impact and dissatisfaction on the market, I think a lot of people would disagree with you, though… πŸ™‚

    Regarding printer issues: if you click the down arrow on the right of the name of the printer, you get access to all those properties you're asking for.

  • Amanda says:

    I'm having problems with leopard, and would also like to go back to tiger. Does anyone have any advice/ help they could give me for this problem?

    <3 thanks ^.^

  • Jim Hueske says:

    I installed Leopard several weeks ago, and now I can not get on our LAN here at work. Our IT guys are tearing their hair out, and have not been able to get me hooked up. How do I uninstall Leopard and get back to Tiger?



  • Robert Nyman says:

    Amanda, Jim,

    I'm sorry, but I haven't heard anything about how to do that.

  • Dan Monkey! says:

    Hmmm…I’m having trouble with Leopard, too…and also want to go back to Tiger. My girlfriend did it on one of her work machines – when she comes back from her holiday, I shall ask her what she did and let you all know.

    However, if anyone wants to try it, it might be a case of just sticking in the old OSX Tiger disc in the machine, and starting the whole thing again. I’m giving serious thoughts to doing that, since most of my stuff is on an external hard drive, and there’s little on the computer for me to lose.

  • dave says:

    Just got Leopard today and have spent 4 hours trying to get it installed. My computer, an MacBook Pro will not boot and has just given me the first ever problem it has ever had! What the hell is up? I have restarted the process at least 4 times and it takes maybe 30-45 minutes each time then when it tries to restart it just gives me the round and round timer which I have let run for up to 1 to 2 hours. HELP!

  • Mr. Nobody says:

    My LAN worked find with Tiger, but with Leopard it doesn't work at all. I too am tearing my hair out. I got it to work for half a day since putting Leopard on my G4. Then it mysteriously disappeared, apparently forever. I also found that it doesn't work with Line6 server which is a necessary program for me. I also had all kinds of password lost and keychains that needed to be recreated. This is not worth the effort when you had a perfect, trouble free computer. Putting on Leopard was a mistake. I agree with the person above who said it is crap. I have had less problems with my wife's Vista computer than with Leopard.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Dan, dave, Mr. Nobody,

    I'm sorry to hear about your experiences, and unfortunately I can't help you out. If anyone can, please write a comment with advice.

  • danish says:


    Please help me anybody.

    i just upgraded to leopard and now indesign cs3 doesn´t work. I am not a mac expert and have know idea what is wrong. the only thing I know is that I will probably get an F on my project (i am working on a big design project). So please if anybody know what is wrong, please help.


  • drtommunyon says:

    We just tried overriding Leopard by reinstalling Tiger and now we get a message that the software can't be installed and we get get the disc out of the computer. It is in an endless loop of trying to install and deciding it can't when ever we turn it off and on again. HELP!


  • Robert Nyman says:


    No idea, sorry. It works for me. Maybe try and reinstall it?


    That sounds terrible. Unfortunately I have no idea how to solve it.

  • ryderda says:

    I "upgraded" to Leopard on a 1 GHz PPC 2004 iBook. My machine is now very, very unhappy. There's very little software that runs. GarageBand won't, GearBox won't, AppleWorks won't — and what does run runs like its wading though a vat of peanut butter. So I have started the process to downgrade back to Tiger.

    My understanding after speaking with a local Mac tech is this is possible but not without issues. What you have to do is perform an "Archive and Install" using the original Tiger DVD (or the install disks that came with your machine), then use Software Update to upgrade the versions of everything to the last supported ones.

    However, many apps, in particular Safari, won't run after this, and so must be reinstalled (for me, I am fortunate to still have a copy of IE that works). In fact, my understanding is that virtually all apps will need reinstalling. There will also be issues with User accounts; a new one will have to be created with all its associated addresses and the like. So here's some critical "to dos" before you start:

    1) List your apps, and insure you have versions available for each on disk to re-install;

    2) Write down your user and internect connection information in case it needs resetting;

    3) Back up your data in case of corruption.

    Now, an Archive and Install will work, but an Erase and Install is better — provided EVERYTHING is backed up to restore afterwards.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Thanks for the info!

  • Saffron Clark says:

    Hi there, hoping you can help. I've just installed Leopard and although it's left my programs – it has taken away any settings within them and I've had to re-setup my computers name, account, email accounts, internet etc. Mainly I have lost all of my Entourage settings – all email, contacts, projects etc. All vital information that I STUPIDLY didn't backup even though I was concerned. But I did searches and read in multiple places online and on the disc that it will leave all that information alone. ARGH! Can you please, please, please help me? I'm hoping so. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I'm very sorry, but I don't know how to address that. We use Entourage at work, but then all setting is stored in a central Exchange server, so no information is saved directly on the computer.

  • Jonsey says:

    Hi Robert,

    This series of blogs has been a great help to me. Thank you for starting it off. I have just received my copy of Leopard for my Intel iMac, which I bought back in January 2007, so it is the generation before the new silver iMacs.

    I have been reading a lot about issues with upgrading to Leopard, but it seems to me that the issues will depend on what software and configurations each person has.

    I have been working with computers for long enough to know that OS upgrades, no matter if they be for M$, Apple, Novell, UNIX or Linux… they can all be a complete pain in the ass.

    Well, I will be upgrading to Leopard over the coming weekend, so I will let you know how well / badly it all went.

    Thanks again for the site… great resource.


  • Robert Nyman says:


    Thanks for your kind words!

    Let me know how it goes, and if anything goes wrong, I hope I can point you in the right direction. Good luck!

  • eljay says:

    Recently bought the new 24" aluminium iMac (2.4Ghz) which came with 10.4.10. Ran that for about a month just fine before upgrading to 10.5. BIG Mistake. Ever since then, there have beeen a plethora of issues too numerous to mention, both with the os itself and with 3rd party apps. I did some calculations & figured out I have lost 30% productivity since I upgraded to this P.O.S. Apple refers to as an operating system. I was a great fan of apple, having owned & worked on their systems for years, but for me this release has proven to be so bug ridden, & from other user reports, so inconsistent to be not worth the grief. I am, at this very moment, downgrading to 10.4.10 again, such is the uselessness of this release to me. Now, I am a freelancer working in graphics & image retouching, & I buy macs because of their stability, functionality & relatively hassle free operation. With 10.5 I've spent a significant amount of my billable time troubleshooting this wretched release – prehaps I should bill Apple for that lost time!

    I don't care about the new eye candy & I know enough about Apples hype machine to read between the lines, but this time they have really put their foot in it, rushing this obviously inconsistent release to market & not only frustrating many loyal users but also damaging their own credibility. I'm afraid, for me, Apple is teetering on the form over function line these days, & although (despite this current experience) I prefer tha apple platform, it is NOT the only viable option out these.

    Apologies to those who see this as a rant, but for a major corporation to offer such an inconsistent & bug-ridden product to its customer base with such fanfare is just not right, almost bordering on arrogance. Go home & do it properly Apple, & don't make a noise until you genuinely have something to make a noise about.

    Thanks for reading


  • Robert Nyman says:


    Thanks for sharing. How did you make the upgrade? Using the Upgrade option, Archive and Install or clean? Because if you run into problems with one version, it seems rather that a clean install should remove any potential issues.

    Sure, you need to reinstall your applications, but things should at least work from there on. Either way you do it, good luck!

  • Jonsey says:

    Hi Rob,

    Wow, what can I say… It was the smoothest OS upgrade I have ever undertaken… As a switcher about 12 months ago, I can honestly say that I think Apple are great, and their new OS is pretty good. Some nice new features, but I must admit that I preferred the old version of Front Row. It had a sexier feel to it… you know, the way that the Desktop faded into the background n stuff.

    Anyway; Just thought I would let you know how things went. I had no issues with third party software, no issues with any of my applications (Office 2004 for Mac) etc. and no loss of data in any way what so ever. It took approx. 1hr or so to completely replace Tiger.

    I have not experienced one crash or error and I completed the upgrade a couple of weeks ago.

    Thanks again for the website; it did help me prepare for the multitude of possible issues that other people have unfortunately had the misfortune to experience.



  • Robert Nyman says:


    I'm glad to hear that things have gone good for you!

  • Saurabh says:

    Try sending a PPT file to someone else and when you get it back, just try opening the same in MS Powerpoint. It first says that the file is read-only, then throws the error as mentioned at… The screen becomes black, Mac goes to sleep!! File size becomes zero kb! The only way to recover it then is to restart the Mac, find the recovered file from Trash and then work on it! Do let me know if anyone is able to find a fix for it! This is causing much trouble and unnecessary time wastage as well.

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