Snow Leopard

After waiting a decent length of time to make sure that there were no serious issues with Snow Leopard1 and with the release of OS X 10.6.1 I’ve finally got around to installing the thing. Here’s how things went for me. Hope my experiences help you if – and – when you install.

I wanted to do a clean install this time instead of just upgrading. This is more involved and takes longer but I wanted rid of the junk I’d accumulated during years of trying new software and playing around with my operating system.

The first thing was to get rid of the crap I don’t use anymore and have been meaning to get rid of. Here’s where AppZapper, Singular or Hazel come into play.

I had a look at how my disk space was being currently being used with GrandPerspective (you may want to have a look at OmniDiskSweeper too). Some cruft that could go immediately was littering my downloads folder. I was going to empty my trash before backing up anyway but hadn’t realised that it was using almost 5Gb.

Once everything was as lean as possible I ran Time Machine one last time. At this point I would seriously recommend making a belts-and-braces approach separate bootable backup with SuperDuper2 or CarbonCopyCloner and testing your backups to make sure everything is hunky-dory. You could also look at this tip about using Apple’s if you’re really paranoid.

At this point remember to deauthorize the computer from your iTunes account. You won’t be able to do this afterwards and you’ll be wasting one of your five allotted machines unless you deauthorize all computers3.

I then repaired permissions, out of habit mainly, inserted the DVD and restarted my computer. When I heard the chime, I held down the c key until the Apple logo and spinner appeared. When the install screen appeared, I moved my mouse to the top of the screen and choose Disk Utility from the Utilities menu that appeared. I took a deep breath, selected my hard drive and clicked Erase. Once this was finished, I quit Disk Utility and started the install process. Everything was straightforward, follow-the-prompts simple but I chose to use Migration Assistant later instead of copying across my old accounts from my Time Machine backup during the install.

After you have installed Snow Leopard you will no longer have an up-to-date install of the iLife or iWork software so go dig out your other install disks and put the kettle on while you work through those installs. Once done, run Software Update to get the latest security patches and fixes.

Only then did I use Migration Assistant to import my old applications, network settings and user account. Now that everything was in place, I ran AppFresh to find which third-party applications had updates available and to install them. The penultimate step for me was to run Monolingual to rid my machine of unused language packs and free-up another several hundred Mb.

Finally, now that I had everything I wanted installed and everything I didn’t want binned, it was time to fire up and tweak things to my liking:

Make hidden applications in the Dock semi-transparent:
defaults write showhidden -bool YES

I like my scroll arrows together and at the top and bottom:
defaults write "Apple Global Domain" AppleScrollBarVariant DoubleBoth

Turn off the in store arrows in iTunes:
defaults write show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE

Don’t litter other servers with .DS_Store files:
defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

Restart the Dock and Finder for the changes to take effect:
killall Dock
killall Finder

YMMV – don’t blame me if anything goes wrong!

1 Or so I thought. It turns out that there’s a nasty – but avoidable – bug in Snow Leopard.
2 A new version of SuperDuper was just released. Here’s a review from TUAW
3 See the Apple support page for more information on this.

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