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Mac OS 10.5.6 problems? Apple suggests shampoo

Advice a bit frothy

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Apple has finally responded to numerous reports from disgruntled Mac users about their inability to upgrade Mac OS 10.5, Leopard, from version 10.5.5 to 10.5.6. Their advice: Try again.

Seriously.

Essentially, Apple's six-step advice can be boiled down into two steps:

  • 1. Navigate to /Library/Updates and trash everything in that folder.
  • 2. Download the update again and cross you fingers.

Or, as it says on a bottle of Head & Shoulders, "lather, rinse, and repeat."

Over at MacInTouch, the possibly Welsh poster Dafydd Williams posits an interesting - and, for Apple, somewhat embarrassing - theory about the upgrade degradation:

The long and the short of it is that the 190MB "delta" update (some delta updates appear to be bigger, at the 360MB or so mark) does not download correctly, stopping at around the 45MB mark. However, Software Update thinks that it has completed the download, and tries to proceed accordingly!

So, what's happening is that a partially complete file is being treated as a fully complete one. What's more, it's somehow getting past the checksum stage, which implies that the checksum is correct... for the 45MB partial file! This is a pretty major foul up.

Dafydd goes on to agree with our original advice, which is to eschew Software Update entirely and instead download and install the full Mac OS X 10.5.6 Combo Update from Apple's support site.

It should also be mentioned that Apple's "advice" doesn't address any of the other problems experienced by 10.5.6 updaters, such as dropped network connections, audio "pops" upon restart, Mail.app refusing to quit or failing to connect, problems with Apache and Contribute, and iSights going blind. (Oh, and if this last one has happened to you, make sure to reset both the SMU and the SMC.)

It appears that Apple's engineers are all preoccupied with preparing for their final Macworld Expo.

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