The road to Leopard – Part 1

It’s Leopard Day (Mac OS X 10.5 officially available) and the big question on everyone’s mind is “should I upgrade?” or “is it safe to upgrade?” Apple posted a nice list of the 300 “New” features of Leopard as well as a Guided Tour Video. So if you look at these and say, “hey I want that!” then you will want to upgrade. However, let’s be smart about it. As you might expect from any major operating system update there WILL be bumps along the way. Even Apple’s on wholly owned subsidiary FileMaker, Inc. has announced that FileMaker Pro 9 (the latest version) is NOT compatible with Leopard. So needless to say there will most likely be other apps on your hard drive that have problems with Leopard too. The good news is that most apps will work just fine.


What about Adobe products?

The other big question on everyone’s mind is what about my Adobe CS3 products? I’ll have the official word for you later today. I know you want to know now, but I can’t say until I’m allowed to officially say what works and what doesn’t. So check back later today for Part 2 of this post.


My upgrade strategy

Sure we now know about FileMaker not being Leopard compatible, but what about the dozens or hundred of other apps you have there? Not every company is going to have a timely announcement and hey let’s face it, you’re ready to upgrade and play as soon as possible. So here’s what I recommend to cause you the least amount of pain AND to really know what works and what doesn’t:

  1. If you don’t already have an external drive that is capable of booting your Mac, go buy one today!
  2. Use a program like SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner or DataBackup to make a CLONE BACKUP of your hard drive. This should result in a bootable copy of your exact system on your external drive.
  3. Now let’s make sure it works, go ahead and boot from that backup drive! Restart and hold down the Option Key and choose your Backup Drive to start up from.
  4. Once your computer is up and running from the backup drive. Insert your Leopard DVD and install Leopard ON YOUR BACKUP DRIVE! Yes your Backup Drive, not your main internal drive.
  5. Once Leopard is finished installing on your backup drive, it should boot from it. Now YOU can test YOUR apps and utilities and see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t just launch your apps, go ahead and try creating some documents and editing. Do the same kind of work that you need to do daily. Test your printers, scanners, peripherals, etc. Make sure it all works!
  6. If you find something that doesn’t work, check to see if there is a Leopard compatible update for that app. If not, then YOU will have to decide if it’s something you can live without or not?
  7. Let’s say that you find something that you can’t live without that doesn’t work with Leopard and there is no update currently available. Guess what? All you have to do is boot from your internal drive and you’re right back where you were before you installed Leopard.
  8. Let’s say that everything works fine and you’ve tested it all and you’re sure that all of your apps and peripherals work. Then all you have to do is install Leopard on your internal drive and you ‘re good to go.


This is the approach that I plan to take and I’ll continue to post what works, what doesn’t and any workarounds that I find. MacFixIt also lists some good advice on what to do BEFORE installing Leopard. Check it out here.

19 Replies to “The road to Leopard – Part 1”

  1. For what it’s worth. Been using Leopard since this morning with CS3 apps. I primarily use ID3, Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3 & Acrobat 8 Pro. I work in a mixed Mac/Windows environment printing to a variety of Laser and Ink Jet printers. Everything that I use works like a charm including dragging Word & excel doc into ID3 as well as Pages & Numbers documents. My Epson Scanner works fine, My Wacom Tablet works fine, it’s all good so far.

    I know this isn’t an exhaustive test but I’ll be using this cat (excuse that please) from here on out.

    On a more amusing note, The Windows IT nerd lost his mind when all of the networked drives showed up on my desktop and I connect to the network wirelessly.

    I hope everyone’s upgrade goes as well.

    Take Care


  2. Hi there….quick question.

    Did you do an Upgrade, Archive and Install or Erase and Install?


  3. Hi Simon,
    I actually did both. On one of my iMacs that was having an intermittent problem with the network, I did an Erase and Install because I wanted to start fresh. On my other Macs I did an Upgrade. All is well on both fronts. On a couple of my “upgrades” though my printers got wiped out and I had to add them back in again, but that was it.

  4. Terry White, you are a Godsend when it comes to technical matters. I agree with Scott Kelby when he recommends that (on almost any technical issue) we see what Terry White has to say before we do anything.

  5. Hi terry,
    I have never upgraded before so this question might sound naive.
    I am planning to follow your upgrade method but I purchased a single user license for leopard. Can I still install the software once in my external drive and then on my macbook (given all my necessary applications work fine). Your comments on this will be greatly appreciated.

  6. As an Adobe “evangelist,” can you explain (or find out for us) why applications in the CS3 suite require two separate versions of Adobe Help Viewer? Wouldn’t one be enough? What’s more, on the Mac, given that Apple provides a perfectly good HTML Help viewer, why does Adobe feel the need to insist on doubly redundant software?


  7. Thank you Terry.
    I followed your upgrade method on my external drive. Based on initial testing my apps are working fine. I will do the upgrade on my macbook this weekend.

  8. Hi there Terry,

    I have a few probs using CS2 within my new Leopard world. I wish I could afford to upgrade to CS3 and update my raw capabilities, but as a newy to all this I just have to save up!
    So do I have to put up with my few little probs or are they fixable? These are:
    a) when I choose to quit PSCS2, it then crashes & asks me to report.
    b) I seem to be having new issues with burning dvd-r (which I know apple says try differnet brands but come on, how much $$ & discs do I have to waste?) One day it works on current tdk stock & next disc no go!!!
    c) my crop tool is playing up and I can’t seem to put my w&h measurements in without weird things happening.

    Any help would be fab!
    Thanks, Monica.

  9. Hi Terry,

    I installed a fresh copy of Leopard and now trying to install Adobe Web Premium CS3 and it refuse to run the installer. It says “Not compatiable with the OS”

    Not sure what to do.

    Please Advice.


  10. Nader,
    Did you reformat the drive by chance? If so how did you format it? It appears that CS3 is not compatible with Mac OS X Extended, Journaled, “Case Sensitive”

  11. Hello,

    I have a mac dual 2 G5 with 3.5 gb ram. I have 4.4 gb free on disk (after installation, see below). I recently upgraded to leopard without a problem… seems at first. No problem with the upgrade in itself. Before upgrade I copied data, repaired permission and then install.

    Then, I try to open Photoshop cs2. It opens until the preferences is running and then crashes.

    I verify and repair permissions. still it doesn’t open. So, I browse around and did not find any issues similar to mine. But I read that with CS3 it was ok. I needed to upgrade so I upgraded my suite including Photoshop CS3 extended. It does the same …. start opening until it runs the preferences and then crashes.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Note that I tested the rest of the suite and so far it works fine.

    thank you

  12. EDIT

    After spending numerous hours, I found a turnaround…. remove TWAIN plugin from import/export folder under plugin. I trashed mine. Others say to delete from trash.

    in the meantime, I un-installed photoshop to re-install to then be faced and battling with the famous infamous ExtendScript toolkit 2 which would not let me go forward. the turnaround is to download the dmg and open it when ask for.

    When re-installing, I was asked to insert disc 2 which in my case is not possible (download) at that moment you double click your dmg and click ok to the installer.

    It worked for me. enjoy

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