Snow Leopard – First Encounters

I thought it would be helpful to share some of my experiences of Snow Leopard with the web community, as we would have similar software and needs.

We first installed Snow Leopard on my other half’s Black Macbook (2GB), it took about an hour in total and upon returning to the laptop, it had restarted itself and was sitting on the home screen with the new Snow Leopard wallpaper. Great until we tried clicking on something, anything. The whole lot jammed up, we had the spinning beach ball of death and no matter what we did, we couldn’t get into any applications, no menus, nothing. Reading the few resources available to people who have run into trouble with Snow Leopard, it seemed everyone else could at least get into Disk Utility, Verify the disk and then everything was working hunky-dory. Not with us – sods law.

So, after forcing a restart I held down “C” while the Macbook was restarting forcing it to boot from the disc instead, we went through another hour of Snow Leopard installation and kept an eye on it throughout, not that a slightly moving blue bar was anything to keep an eye on but it made us feel a whole lot better!

Installation complete, restart – same problem. Spinning wheel of death.

Simply because I’d run out of ideas and the lack of anyone else having the same problem on the Apple Forums, we left the beach ball spinning, for about 25 minutes, when eventually it popped up saying there was a font conflict problem, would we like to delete or replace (some conflict involving Helvetica Neue) and once these had been deleted, the whole system was great, working snappier and with 10GB of free hard drive space.

Installation on my iMac – (3GB, 2.4 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo) went smoothly without any hiccups at all. I’ve tested a lot of my apps, Photoshop CS3 and CS4 are working without any problems at all, all my additional Plugins seem to be working as they should in Photoshop CS3. I haven’t used it enough in my day to day running of You Know Who yet to know 100% if there are no problems, but on the surface, it seems fine. The only apps I’ve had to resolve straight away are 1Password, which automatically prompted me to switch to their 3.0 beta and Dropbox needed an upgrade too – (

We purchased the family pack, so for £19.50 per computer, I’m really pleased with the results and it has made a noticeable difference to the speed of both the iMac and the Macbook.

  • Thanks for the post! My copy of Snow Leopard should be arriving shortly and it was very helpful to read about your experiences.

  • Gavin

    Thanks for the info, I should be getting my copy in the post on Tuesday, I am really happy to hear that you haven’t had any issues with CS3 yet (I create screencasts for psdtuts). Are you running Photoshop CS3 and 4 on the same machine?
    Thanks for the write up.

  • I’ve installed Snow Leopard on four machines – a 2006 Macbook, 2007 24″ iMac, 2009 13″ Macbook Pro and 2007 20″ iMac – had no problems whatsoever in the main installation (which took 50 minutes or so) but two of the machines reported that they couldn’t find System on first boot, and asked me to locate the file. For anyone who encounters the same problem they can be found in /System/Library/CoreServices/ and locating it for OS X solves it.

    I also had a problem with Trebuchet MS conflicting and causing visual problems in Firefox (both the interface and the webpages), but like you discovered with Helvetica Neue, it was a duplicate font problem.

    Apart from that it was a walk in the park. CS3/CS4 – also no problems, though I’ve deleted one or two older Rossetta apps which hopefully I can do without, and had to recreate my Spotify AppleScripts (as applications) to get them to run without Rosetta installed.

    I think think way Snow Leopard handles disk sizes now means the amount of space you actually clawed back would be less than the 10GB it appears to be, but still it’s a good saving. Best thing is probably the insanely quick wake times on the laptops now, and the parity of screen gamma between that and windows screens.

    And at the price it was, no complaints.

  • Thanks for the review. Looks like I will install it when I get some spare time. Will reread when I get it setup. Getting 1password working is definitely important!

  • Snow Leopard breaks Zend Community Server, if you have that running locally (After years of compiling PHP myself I have found ZCS to be a welcome relief).

    There are workarounds though, found here:

    Also, it deleted a bunch of soft links on my system, which I had to recreate.

    Icon replacement using Candy Bar is not working with new 64 bit system apps (which is all of them except iTunes and Front Row)

    Finally, it killed my copy of Ableton Live 6 (which gives me a nice excuse to upgrade to 8)

    Those are the only problems I’ve encountered so far. Other than that, it’s worth the upgrade – but before you install I’d have a good search online for signs of it breaking the stuff you actually use every day!