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Panther installation warning

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If you're considering installing Mac OS X 10.3, and you're planning to back up your data on an external Firewire hard drive first, be aware that there've been a fair number of problems reported, ranging from the new OS not recognizing the drive to (in some cases) actually corrupting the data on the drive.

Nobody's quite sure what causes this. Apple says it happens only with newer Firewire drives that use a particular chipset, but someone from Macfixit says (as quoted in a Wired article) that it can happen with any Firewire drive that's connected to the Mac during 10.3 installation. There's been an awful lot of traffic about this on an Apple discussion forum.

I didn't have any problem; my external FW disk is still working fine. (For what it's worth, I didn't have it connected to my Mac during installation.) But it's still a little unclear what exactly the cause of the problem is, so I recommend being extra-careful until Apple's done some further investigation.

5 Comments

i'm a little confused about why it would make sense to leave one's external backup drive connected while installing a new operating system to begin with. it seems to me that you've got your backup (on read-write media), and you've got your operation which is about to run around overwriting read-write media (your internal drive), and you want to get these two things as far away from one another as possible. even if the installer doesn't mess up, you could click the wrong disk icon in a moment of confusion, and (as evidenced by the fact that it apparently has been) there's no guarantee that the installer won't try to overwrite everything it can find.

at any rate, thanks for the psa.


Not having a Mac, I read this journal title as referring to an actual panther. Wondered where it was being installed.


I guess I was worried about some sort of voodoo... or picking the wrong volume to format... or something.


I suddenly feel so much better about not having a firewire external hard drive: it's one less possible screw-up! I'll probably be installing Panther this evening....


Does OSX have some kind of mirroring utility for doing a full backup to external, or did you do lots of selecting and dragging?


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