I’m not going to write a Snow Leopard review; there are many of them already written anyway. Rather, I’m going to write separate articles that dwell on things I’ve used in Snow Leopard and how they worked for me. May as well start at the beginning, so this first article is about installation.
That Was It?
I can honestly say I’ve never had a smoother or more non-eventful OS upgrade in my life. I popped in the disc, ran the installer, and that’s it. It estimated 1 hour and 2 minutes to upgrade my unibody 13” MacBook, and it pretty much nailed the estimate. It required no intervention on my part after starting the installer. A couple reboots later and it was done.
No, I didn’t wipe the disk and do a clean install, and I haven’t done such a thing in years. I think people who install that way have way too much time on their hands, but that’s just me.
All my preferences, apps, settings, etc. were preserved, with one exception. The Preview app’s toolbar customization was gone. This is because there are some new tools and the old settings wouldn’t work. Further, image and PDF files had their own toolbars before, now the toolbar is the same no matter the file type opened. In any case, it didn’t take long to set it the way I like it, and Preview will be one of the first apps I write about; the changes are very welcome.
A Little Preparation Is Good
The great install may have partly been due to some planning on my part. After reading up on it a bit, I took care of the following before attempting the upgrade:
- I uninstalled Glims and Safar140 from Safari because I knew they were not totally compatible.
- I uninstalled MailBadger because these types of “hacks” are sometimes trouble in an OS upgrade.
- I was going to uninstall AdBlocker as well, but they claimed to have a release that was compatible with Snow Leopard, so I upgraded it and left it in.
- I uninstalled Chax (a great iChat enhancer)
- With a completely re-written QuickTime player I thought it best to uninstall those enhancers that let it play more file types. I uninstalled Flip4Mac, but kept Perian since their web site said it was compatible with Snow Leopard.
After the install I launched Safari, and AdBlocker was not there. When I went to the site it clarified that you must run Safari in 32-but mode for AB to work. Sorry, no. Safari is much faster in Snow Leopard at 64-bits, and I’m not slowing it down for AB; I’ll wait until it’s upgraded. So I uninstalled it.
I left DoubleCommand installed on my system, and it works. I use it for one thing only: To change my forward slash ket to forward delete key. When I accessed its control panel System Preferences informed me it would have to shutdown and relaunch to display it. This is the tipoff you’re dealing with a 32-bit control panel. No big deal (though inconvenient) but it worked fine after that. I shouldn’t need to open its control panel again (I never change it), so I’m happy.
The new QuickTime player is sweet, but it doesn’t have all the features of QuickTime Pro. For example, you can’t edit out parts in the middle of a movie, or combine multiple movies into one. In short, it lets you do more than Leopard’s QuickTime Player, but is not a substitute for QT Pro. I inserted the Snow Leopard disc and ran the optional installer to put Quick Time 7 back. It recognized my Pro license immediately, so the features were all enabled. I’ll still use QT X to play most media (it’s slick, and fast), but retain QT Pro for quick and dirty editing jobs.
So, here’s the deal after the install:
- I lost Safari AdBlock and will miss it. This product (or a substitute) I’ll reinstall as soon as it’s ready for 64-bit. Thanks to a reader I was pointed to GlimmerBlocker, a sweet little tool that not only blocks ads but also helped me with using searches other than Safari’s default.
- I lost Glims for Safari but only used it to change the default search engine. I’m fine until it’s upgraded. Not sure I need this now that I’m using GlimmerBlocker.
- I lost Safari140 (Tweeting from Safari), but never used it much so I’m not sure I care.
- I lost MailBadger, and am trying to figure out if I want to see if it works, or if I really miss it that much.
- I no longer have Flip4Mac, A reader pointed out that the folks at Flip4Mac have a beta 64-bit version for Safari, so I’ve installed that, and with the new QT X player and Perian I think I can open any media files I need to (I also kept the VLC Player app for the occasional Real Media file).
All in all I couldn’t be more pleased with the installation. In the last 24 hours or so I’ve run most of my programs and am not seeing any compatibility issues beyond what I mentioned above. I’ll document whatever I find in another post, but for now I’m just enjoying the enhancements and faster performance. More later.
[UPDATE:] SInce I wrote this I’ve installed Snow Leopard on my 2-year old original aluminum iMac 24″ (2.8GHz Core 2 Duo Extreme). That install went every bit as smoothly as on the MacBook: