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Dreaded Blue Screen of Death mars some Leopard installs

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Updated This article was updated on Sunday 28th October 2007 00:33 GMT to reflect new information gleaned in user forums.

Apple support drones are getting an earful from Mac users who are getting the dreaded Blue Screen of Death while trying to update to the latest and greatest version of OS X.

A thread in Apple's official support forum titled Installation appears stuck on a plain blue screen had more than 300 posts when this article was last updated. A large percentage of the writers report getting a persistent blue screen after installing Leopard and then rebooting for the first time. These early-adopters have no option but to forcibly shut the machine down.

Among the early signs that something was awry was the following post from a Mac user in Australia:

I've just been on the phone to Apple AU support for an hour (around half of that spent on hold, but on-and-off as they sometimes consulted other techs), and they definitely know of the BSOD issue, said they started taking calls from 9am Friday as the first (early courier!) deliveries of Leopard were installed, and they've been flat out, "phones ringing non-stop" since then. Implied that Apple stateside has been swamped (as you can imagine) and they haven't been able to pinpoint the issue causing the BSOD but "they're looking into it".

It's still not clear what's causing the snafu. Seems at least some of the the people experiencing problems had a third-party developer app called Application Enhancer installed. Some also had external disks or other peripherals attached when they pulled the trigger on the Leopard install. But plenty of people reporting problems swear they aren't in either category. Incompatibilities with DIVX Application Support and Tiger's RAID system may also be at play.

This MacFixIt article offers a succinct list of trouble-shooting tips.

The OS went on sale on Friday all over the world. Many users later reported they were able to successfully install, but it sure was a messy road to redemption.

To recover, users were instructed to rip Application Enhancement, made by a company called Unsanity, from the Leopard's maw. The process is too gory for us to print here, but suffice it to say that, among other things, it had users use a command line to purge files with names like "Enhancer.prefpane" and "com.unsanity.ape.plist." Another remedy being suggested is to use the OS X feature Archive and Install, rather than the default Upgrade method. Some users say they are still unable to load Leopard even after following all of the aforesaid instructions.

Apple PR reps didn't respond to a request to comment by time of writing. We'll be sure to update if they do.

El Reg is eager to publish screenshots or snapshots of the fatal install. We'd imagine Steve Jobs to come up with more of an Azure or Cobalt Blue shade. If you have shots, please contact the reporter here.

We can only hope the normally smug Mac Guy is duly red-faced. After all, aren't BSODs, botched installs and kludgy fixes the stuff of the inferior OS to Cupertino's North? Not that we don't look forward to updating to Leopard soon. But as was the case with users of the iPhone, we think it'd be better to hold off a little while, thank you very much. ®

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