back to article Mac OS X 10.6.8 hails from Paleolithic era

Ask any seasoned Mac user and they’ll tell you to avoid using Software Update incremental download delivery approach for systems instals, but to use the standalone combo option every time. Yet even seasoned Mac users get lazy and Apple wants us to adopt this click-and-hold-your-breath delivery system. Indeed, this is how its …


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  1. Chris Bidmead

    Worked fine for me, Bob

    See title.



  2. rvt
    Thumb Up

    Works for me

    Just updated 30 minutes ago, not a single problem, actually, I only had one problem in my life where a incremental update failed.

    Did the register check if he had enough HD space??

    1. John Molloy


      That is the message you get if you are low on drive space...

  3. DZ-Jay

    What problems?

    Seriously, I keep reading about all the problems downloading upgrades, yet for the past 7 years that I've owned Macs, I've never encountered one. I've had a Mac Pro, a couple of iMacs, and a Mac Mini, and all have been updated always using the System Update application.

    I'm not denying there are problems, but I'm curious to know if they are typically on a specific model or class of computer, say, notebooks?


    1. MacRat
      Thumb Up

      Updated 6 systems so far, no issues

      Download time was less than 10 minutes on Comcast.

      No issues.

      I suspect the people having problems have installed system hacks which typically cause issues with system updates.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    You don't need to buy a disc

    When you download Lion via the Mac App store, you can look inside the package and there you will find the .dmg installer which you can burn to a DVD and install as you would any other version of Mac OS X.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Thank you for the first *useful* comment..

      My problem with Lion-via-AppStore was exactly that: recovery. If you have a downed hard disk you otherwise end up with a chicken and egg problem of needing a system to install a system, and I had not seen any message how that was addressed. I thus hope you're right - how did you know?

  5. Pete B


    I though the magical properties of the fruit co meant it 'just worked'

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      "Haters gotta hate!"

      You may wish to check with a few users, to get the real facts, but of course it's easier to rely on some sensationalist clap-trap from a tech site that should really know better.

      However let's await the arrival of the next MS Windows service pack with baited breath, i.e. 6 users with big mouths will have problems, telling the world that MS software is awful and shoddy, meanwhile 10 million other users will update their systems perfectly fine.

  6. Camilla Smythe
    IT Angle



    Obviously you have been haxxord by someone implementing a small_int buffer overflow attack. Your Mac is now Pwned.

    Please do not bother publishing this message if someone else has also pointed out the problem

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: 2147483648

      "Obviously you have been haxxord by someone implementing a small_int buffer overflow attack. Your Mac is now Pwned."

      Well it's a Mac, so we already know that it belongs to Mr Jobs.

  7. Lord Lien

    You can get a disk....

    ... if your a "enterprise" customer & have a VLA.

  8. a53


    I almost always use the quick update function and I've never had a problem,

  9. Vargs

    Downloads generally

    They so have to sort out both this, and the AppStore™ download capability. There's a flood of complaints on the XCode 4.0.2 page. Some minor tweaks and bugfixes and you have to download the whole thing again (not a small issue at 4.6GB a pop). What's worse, it seems to frequently cop out after a few hours on what passes for (not very) rural broadband in this benighted country. You then have to restart from the beginning because it won't resume!

    I'd believed that the horrors of non-resumable transfers remained solely a feature™ of the appalling native IIS FTP server.

    Even if I splashed out for a satellite connection it would quickly use up my monthly allowance just updating the system.

    You'd have to be mad to use iCloud if this is the best they can do...

    If they really intend to roll out Lion exclusively on AppStore™, they're effectively saying you can only be a Mac owner if you're also Metrosexual. Hmmmm

  10. Joe 35

    Incremental update always works for me

    Have never used the combo.

  11. Weird_George

    download before you try and install

    I run this occasionally

    $ sudo softwareupdate -dav

    It downloads all currently available updates but doesn't install them.

    When it's convenient install I launch Software Update from the Apple Menu knowing that all the updates are already on the disk ready for it to install.

  12. Paul Vail

    Um... no issues here

    PICNIC - problem in chair, not in computer.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: PICNIC

      Problem In Comment. No Icon inCluded.

  13. s. pam

    Fucked up my 2009 MacBook pro display

    I've logged an Critical bug with ADC as I'm a member . I was on 10.6.5(or7) and after upgrading I've got translucent white vertical bars along the bottom of my 15" screen every CM IN .5mm widths with a .25mm gap between them.

    Now I've a headache,,,,,,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's a hardware failure

      of your screen backlighting. It just happened to be at the same time as your upgrade, it is nothing to do with the software.

      Ask Apple to fix it - they likely will even out of warranty.

  14. mcmrbt

    I've had this problem a lot recently

    Never had any issues with my own Macs (until this week), but in my classroom of 17, there are 3 or 4 who have been reporting various issues with update downloads - cannot be verified, may have been tampered with, could not be saved, etc.. Have used combo update on a couple and have also experienced the black screen of nothingness and been forced to reboot.

    Had to do this last with my new MacBook Pro only this week.

  15. Marvin the Martian


    You've noticed the minus in front of the number? That places it firmly in the future, not past.

    1. da_fish27

      No it doesn't, you silly Mac user

      The indicator is supposed to tell you how much time is remaining. If it says x hours, the download will be finished x hours in the future. If it says -x hours, it is obviously a bug, but logically it would mean the download has finished x hours ago -- in the past.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Yes, Paleolithic...

      The figure quoted is the number of hours *remaining*... as in positive figure means it will be complete at a time that many hours in the future. Minus means it happened in the past.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    It just works for most perhaps, but not all ...

    Like DZ, I've had/have quite a few different models of Macs in the last ten years - currently still running an iMac G4, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, and Macbook ... and mother-in-law is visiting with her Macbook Pro. Not sure about everyone who "never had a problem" but that's blatantly not true (for me). I've done a lot of updates since 10.1 and there's been a few hiccups (breaking USB ADSL modems was the usual in the olden-days)! Even this latest update (combo installer of course!) wasn't smooth, as noted in the story - the Macbook Pro and Mac Pro both had to power-cycled to complete, the Mac Mini was fine. No big deal this time, but it doesn't always "just work". And now, don't get me started about the Mac Ripp-Off Store. The web was great - you can buy things from overseas at the same (equivalent) price regardless of where you live instead of paying local retailer markups. But Apple doesn't like that ... no longer can we pay US$100, say, for a download (AU$95). Apple now insists we pay AU$120 (US$125). Same as the iTMS - I totally avoid that now and get lossless downloads from Bandcamp. I love my Macs and OS X but I'm not a blind sheep.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      re: It works for most

      May be worth getting a US Apple Account. Easy to do if you can get someone in the USA to buy an iTunes gift card. It can be a minimum amount ($10?). They don't need to send it to you, just the code number on it, then sign up (you made need to make up a USA street address ;-) )


  17. Dana W

    Full install only thanks.

    Its easy to make a full install from the download. I have Dev 4 on a thumb drive. The full install worked perfectly. Tried it on another box as an update instead, not so good.

    A simple how to, even a Mac user can understand.

    I assume it will be this easy with the release. If it is not. I'm not going there. I know all my hardware runs Linux, One of my Macs already is. I can only speak for myself, but if they won't let us have a real installer, my next hardware purchases will be a LOT cheaper and will display NO luminous fruit.

    I guess I'm not really the market they want.

  18. Borg.King

    Always used the combo

    Never had any issues, ever, on any machine I install on (3 at home, half a dozen at work).

    I'll continue to use the combo update since I only have to download it once to a USB key.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Also no problems

    10+ macs here (not including mac servers) and no problems at all (including the servers).

  20. stevew

    Both work for me

    The Intels had one auto, background download and two manual ones. All worked perfectly. The other Mac is too old, a PPC.

  21. Mark 65

    Download size

    I guess the main reason people use the incremental is because the combo is 1GB whereas the download is around 245MB. That's a major difference depending on what plan you are on.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    95% just worked for me

    The other 5%? Well, I did download the 10.6.8 update manually as at the time when it was released, I was booted into, and busy, doing thing under Linux on the MacBook. (Shock horror, I dual boot it with Gentoo.)

    So fine, wget is slowly downloading the update at 15kB/s (I throttled it... along with an Ubuntu download, leaving me with about 30kB/s for my other tasks). It downloads, I reboot into MacOS X 10.6.7, scp the file across from where I had it stashed.

    Open up the .dmg, double-click the .mpkg... the installer pops up, and gets most of the way through. Then it seems to stall right at the end. Down the bottom of the screen the usual round swirly progress animation is shown — but it is repeatedly painted over, and so it gradually gets darker and darker, until the animation is no longer visible.

    I gave it a few minutes before doing a hard reset. It started booting, then reset, and booted normally. OS X reports that it's up to date running version 10.6.8 now... but I'm really not sure what happened.

    I'll be waiting until Apple release 10.7 on a disc... No I cannot download it — my MacBook's DVD drive does not accept notes or coins. Nor does anyone else's that I know of... and I'll bet I can't just copy the URL and paste it into wget on my (Linux-based) server... meaning I'd have to let the MacBook sit there for two or three days straight just downloading. Not going to happen.

    I think Apple do need to re-think their delivery mechanisms. What works in Cupertino isn't always the best choice elsewhere.

  23. Antony

    Reminds me of a problem with 10.5

    It was caused by using different administrator accounts to perform the update. The fist account sets the permissions on the updates download directory then the other admin account is unable to save files in the directory. might be what "mcmrbt" classroom computer issue is as well. Either use the same administrator account to perform updates or fix the file permissions in the directory.

  24. Dilbert1969

    Audio Problems

    I had problems with my update.

    Ran over night no problem - but on restarting I had no internal audio devices available, and it took ages for the mouse buttons and key board to start working. I'm talking 10s of minutes.

    Did a system restore from before the update from Time Machine, and then installed again with no problems - did have to reinstall safari for some reason after the system restore, as that had decided to stop working.

  25. Chris D Rogers

    No issue on three computers

    I've updated a 2010 iMac, 2011 iMac and 2010 Mac Mini - no issues whatsoever touchwood,

    However, I'll avoid Lion until its on at least 10.7.2 - had problems previously with new OS and now like tried and tested before I'll install on all my systems.

  26. kissingthecarpet

    When your error messages look like that

    it means you're not handling exceptions etc. very well. Perhaps the integer that represents download time has not been initialised & the memory location contains 0x80000000. If it does indeed mean low disk space, it also means Apple's update app is a bit shit

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sppeling issues

    What on earth are "instals"? Is the author illiterate and without spellcheck?

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Works for me

    buy a bigger hard disk you cheap bastard! Or stop trying to dodge up updates to make an article with...

    1. McWibble

      Rabid Fanboys

      I fail to see how it's the author's fault for not having enough free HD space. While it may certainly be the cause of the problem, surely the software update application should return an error message stating that there isn't enough space. Returning random negative numbers every time something goes wrong is NOT helpful. How many people on this forum have encountered "Error -1806" (or similar) messages with no idea of what the problem actually is until resorting to Google?

      As stated above by another poster, the problem is with Apple's Software Update app. While I'm not exactly a fan of Microsoft either, at least their service pack installers tell you if you don't have enough free disk space.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The good thing about Combo's is . . .

    . . . that when an install starts to go wonky, and it will, you can rerun the Combo over the install and it works wonders. I've been doing this long before Apple approved and started recommending to do it. I mean figured it out. Matter of fact i just got done doing it and things are working great now.

  30. scott 30
    Thumb Down

    Please stop

    I do not like the AppStore update one little bit.

    Even in this day and age, I often download major OS updates and store them offline.

    If I lose a machine, I want to get it up fast (due to having 2 kids, my geektime is very limited) - and there's never any guarantee my internet connection is going to be good.

    Not to mention the fact I have limited bandwidth, and if I need to retry and install 3 or 4 times (yes, it happens) - then why the f*ck would I want to waste time and money pulling a large automagic update?

    Oh, I should mention my shiny 27" iMac lost bluetooth after the last update. Revert to USB antiques and an eventual reset of the SMC fixed it.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    St. Pome, are you my angel?

    I'm really annoyed that I need to create an iTunes account to get Lion...

    ...It's yet another tether to the mother ship.

    ...One more personal fingerprint in the sky.

    ...One more credit card profile to glean.

    ...And will Apple embed my iTunes credentials in the Lion like it does with music purchases?

  32. TJ 2

    Never ever use live updates for your core OS

    Sorry but you get what you deserve!

    Apple or Microsoft camps, always download the full installers. Would you update your BIOS with a live stream or download it first? Treat the OS the same way and save on headaches.

    Also means you have a copy of the installer/update for future use, should you need to roll-back for some reason.

    Moaning about download size is irrelevant, its an update not a thing you have to have absolutely right now at this minute or your life will cease to exist..... If it takes you 4 days to get, so what?!

    Some IT Pro's here (?) saying they patched live, sorry but you need to retrain if you did, any serious IT employee whether 1-2nd line or a seasoned sys admin should know better.

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