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Everything You Need to Know to Install Tiger
Pages: 1, 2, 3

Installing Tiger

Once you have selected the packages you wanted, now is time to click on the Install button to launch the process. Beforehand, though, you might want to use the Window menu to display the Installer log and to set the pop-up menu located at the bottom of the window to "Show everything." This will give you a step-by-step description of what the Installer does and is sure to provide good entertainment while you stare at the Installer window, nibbling on some sugary treat of your choice. Just don't be too worried if you see mention of errors in this log; this, to a certain extent, is normal and should not be cause for concern, as your installer is merely trying to figure out on which machine it is.



Oh, by the way, you will be able to go back to this log to extract any tasty tidbits once your Mac has restarted and the installation completed by simply using the Console utility, located in your Utilities folder.

The first step of the installation process is a "media verification;" one that will ensure that your disc is in good shape. This might seem superfluous, but is actually a great way to test it and ensure that it is good to go. Should you need to install Tiger on many computers with the same disc (you got a family pack, right?), feel free to skip it. I would, however, recommend that you let it run fully at least once to ensure that your discs are, in technical terms, "known good."

Once the media verification step has completed, and hopefully, succeeded, your Mac will engage in some heavy optical drive activity and will calmly, methodically install Tiger as you requested. The log will provide you with some more detailed information about what is happening than the progress indicator (although it has been improved and is much more detailed and clearer than the one you have met in the Panther installer) if you want to see it, but there otherwise isn't much to do during this step.

In my experience, the new "Time remaining" indicator is quite reliable--although it has been so since the Jaguar days at least--and didn't display any silly indications like the "98 days" or "-600 hours" that I have seen with third-party installers.

As usual, the "optimizing" task does take a while, although this is largely dependent on the overall speed of your machine. On a flat-panel iMac, Installer blazed through it in a couple of minutes while an older iBook required a good 15 minutes. Contrary to popular belief, this step isn't the symptom of an Installer bug or issue or lack of intelligence; on the contrary. Although the "optimizing" description indeed makes it sound like the installer made a mess that it tries to correct at the end, what actually happens behind the scenes is a system-wide "update prebinding." This process, typical of UNIX machines, consists of finding the links that exist between all the components that make up an application and on which it relies so that they can launch faster and in a more reliable way once it is done.

As usual, your Mac will invite you to click on Restart once the process has completed and will do it for you after 30 seconds. This step actually improves accessibility for users with special needs and, let's face it, just looks plain cool.

Your First Steps into Tiger

Your first restart once Tiger has been installed is likely to be slightly slower than the next ones, as your Mac needs to build up cache files that it hasn't built yet. Once you are at it, you can admire the new, sleeker, startup message.

As usual, the Tiger setup assistant will automatically launch once the initial restart is completed. Notice the gorgeous new introduction movie that welcomes you into Tiger and the music that continues playing as you glide through the assistant slides. Are these really "panes" or "windows?" A nice touch for VoiceOver users, the assistant will detect that you haven't pressed a key in a little while and will play a nice sounding recording inviting you to turn VoiceOver on by entering a key combination if you wish to do so.

If you are not familiar with VoiceOver and wish to use it, you can immediately press the Esc key to start a tutorial. The tutorial is entirely read by the same voice, allowing visually impaired users to get to know their Mac without looking at the screen.

Using VoiceOver is obviously beyond the scope of this article, so we are not going to look continue down this branch of the assistant. But it is most certainly interesting for you to see it if you work in an institution or are setting up the Mac for users who might need it, in which case you might want to call them and have them take the training right away. Simply click on the Skip button located at the bottom left of the screen to go back to the traditional Assistant window.

Fun with Setup Assistant

Navigating through Setup Assistant is a straightforward process. Given the number of screens you might encounter depending on the language you chose, the country you selected, or your willingness to open an Apple ID or .Mac account, it is impossible to outline them all in this article. By answering the questions that are asked and proceeding step by step, you should be able to make your way through it without problem.

Here are, however, a few tips that might help you:

  1. The registration process is by no means obligatory, especially if you are re-installing Tiger on this machine and have already completed this step. Even though no menu bar is present and there is no Quit button, entering Command-Q will bring up a window that will allow you to skip these steps. Clicking on Skip will fast forward to the account creation and computer setup process. Even though you might not want to register every time, I would still suggest that you register your copy of Tiger once, as this will facilitate your discussing potential issues with AppleCare, should you need to call in the future. If you have any questions regarding Apple's privacy policy, you can read it at the press of a button, which will most certainly please users who do not have an internet connection immediately available.

  2. The Date and Time selection slide has been greatly improved, and now features an easier-to-navigate calendar for these rare occasions where the installer cannot figure out what the correct date and time are.

Once you have navigated through the assistant, you will be presented with a nice reminder to register and some additional information regarding where you can find support resources and about your warranty.

Clicking on this Done button will release you from the claws of Setup Assistant and log you into your account automatically.

The Tiger setup assistant does feature a very handy "Migration assistant" that we will cover in another article, as it has multiple tricks up its sleeve. For now, we will assume that you will transfer your data manually later on. If you feel confident using the assistant, please do, though.

Updating Your Mac

The first step after having installed Tiger is to use the Apple menu to launch Software Update and install any update that might have been released by the Mac OS X engineers since the discs you have in hand made it to press. Note that, depending on how far along we are in the Tiger upgrade cycle, you might need to install multiple updates, restart, and repeat this process until Software Update states that no more updates are available.

This process will ensure that you immediately start with the latest technologies, and updating a perfectly clean, fresh installation is almost guaranteed to be a trouble-free process.

As usual, note that you can mark some updates that you do not wish to install or that are not applicable to you--like an iPod or an iSight firmware updater--as "ignored," which will prevent Software Update from reminding you to install them.

While you are at it, now might be a good time to play a bit with your new environment and set it up--turn on the firewall or punch in your QuickTime 7 Pro serial number, for example. That way, you will be able to install your applications and transfer your data back into an environment that is familiar to you and in which you will already feel comfortable. The notion of feeling "comfortable" might sound silly but is actually very important, as it will allow you to better focus on what you do and avoid glitches as you go forward.

Help, My Computer Does This and That and This, Too!

Just a side note: don't panic if you Mac feels a bit hot, if the fans spin up more often, if the screen dims quickly, or if you do not find a checkbox somewhere. Before panicking, take deep breaths and remind yourself that you are working into a new environment. Some options might have been shuffled around, but this does not mean that they have been removed. Also, the past hour or so has been an intense time for your Mac and it is probably a bit hot and tired. So give it some rest time before starting any heavy-duty troubleshooting. Actually, if you are new to the platform, this is the perfect time to read a good introductory book or article to Mac OS X or--gasp!--even the online help!

The Tiger help center is a little jewel: it is fast and beautiful. In other words, everything you can expect from a Mac. Continuing Apple's efforts to write the best possible, most accessible help files that started with Panther, the Tiger help is well organized and "task-oriented," as one says nowadays.

Tips on Installing Your Applications

Now that you are logged into Tiger, you might be tempted to actually transfer the contents of your Library folder into your existing one, copy your data and get to work.

However, I would strongly advise you to proceed differently and, instead, to take the time to install your applications one by one. Why? Because the Tiger Library folder contains lots of new files and folders, arranged in a different way, that determine how all these new applications and system services should behave. Therefore, simply putting back an older Library folder is guaranteed to cause issues and interfere with a new, fast, and trouble-free installation.

Should you rely on any downloadable applications, try to grab fresh new copies of their respective installers first, as this will give you an occasion to ensure that you are using the latest, Tiger-approved versions. Install every application carefully and set it up, one by one.

Once your applications have been installed, it is time to launch an upgrade campaign again, both by using Software Update and any vendor-specific upgrade mechanisms that come with these applications. That way, you will ensure that everything is up to date.

This second round of upgrades is not as redundant as it might seem at first sight, as applications almost always expect to be installed on the latest system version available and can, in turn, add functionality to your computer that will cause new upgrades to appear for you.

Should you encounter any issues with your applications, you might want to contact their authors, as they will be able to provide you with the best upgrading and installation advice. While calling Apple will help you troubleshoot Mac OS X issues, keep in mind that Apple cannot help you with products they didn't develop!

Transferring Your Data

Transferring your files back to your Mac is a simple drag-and-drop affair. Simply drag the files one by one from your backup drive and drop them into their new locations on your Mac. Again, while you can move folders and subfolders, I wouldn't recommend that you move the Documents, Movies, or Pictures folders as a whole, as this could damage permissions and lead to more issues than it spared time. Take your time and everything will go well.

Restoring your iPhoto and iTunes libraries should generally be as easy as putting your libraries folders back in place, even if the applications aren't set up--actually, in this case, it is better to put the library back in place before you launch the application.

Should you use IMAP mail accounts, finding your email should be as easy as launching your email client and setting it up: your email will then be downloaded from the server where they were kept warm and comfy. Should you use POP mail instead, you can simply re-import the mailboxes you created to archive your previous messages into the new application.

Finding your contact and bookmarks again is as easy as using iSync, which will take care of putting everything back in place for you. In order to avoid issues, though, do not "sync" your data but instead, "reset your computer" with the data from .Mac or the device of your choice. By using a one-way link instead of a syncing process, you limit the chances of encountering issues or data corruption.

Pat Yourself on the Back

Now that you have set up your Mac, installed all of your applications, and transferred your data, you should be ready to resume work, on a virtually brand new Mac. This most certainly deserves a big pat on the back.

While you can theoretically stop reading, I have assembled below some answers to the most commonly asked questions related to operating system upgrades that I hope you will find useful.

Answers to Questions You Didn't Ask

Q. Can I install Mac OS X through FireWire target disk mode?

A. This is theoretically possible and hackable, although, in my experience, this can lead to an unstable installation. If you decide to do so, make sure that the Mac on which you are installing Tiger still meets all of the minimum requirements and look out for potential issues. (They do not have to happen, but they well could.)

Q. Can I install Mac OS X through an external optical drive?

A. Yes and no, much like the above. It might work, depending on your drive, but it's definitely not recommended.

Q. Can missing a firmware upgrade physically damage my Mac?

A. There were a few reports in the past of a very unfortunate operating-system/firmware-version conflict that, in some cases, required owners of this specific model to have their computers reset by an Apple Authorized Service Provider. This, however, is in the past and generally speaking, failure to upgrade your firmware is more likely to lead to catastrophic-looking symptoms rather than any real catastrophe. Nevertheless, don't take any chances; do upgrade your firmware first!

Q. Can I share a single Home between my Panther and Tiger partitions during the transition process?

A. While this hack has been cherished by advanced users since the initial release of Mac OS X, the Tiger release actually introduces major difference that cause it to lead to more trouble than anything else. Use the Migration Assistant instead for a smooth upgrade.

Q. I scanned, repaired, or optimized my hard drive with disk utility Foo, and now my computer acts funky. What did Apple get wrong this time?

A. Well, chances are that it is the disk utility that did something wrong. Indeed, using disk utilities on installations for which they weren't developed can easily lead to issues. Before using any third-party optimization tool, do call the authors and ensure that it is fully Tiger-compliant--don't accept "try and see" for an answer.

Q. I'm in love with Automator guy. Can you help me?

A. I'm afraid not, he is cute! Just don't anger him; he could hurt you with the metal pipe he is holding.

FJ de Kermadec is an author, stylist and entrepreneur in Paris, France.


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