Fascinating Leopard Install Fact #1 (Hopefully Not In a Series)

October 30th, 2007  |  Published in etc

Leopard’s installer runs fsck on any potential destination disks it finds. Leopard’s installer also doesn’t bother to tell you it’s doing this*, even though it can take upwards of 10 minutes to finish before it returns a list of candidate drives.

In the mean time, if you get all Encyclopedia Brown on it and try to use the Disk Utility to see if it thinks something dire is going on with your hard drive, it’ll tell you it doesn’t know the drive’s name and it won’t let you verify the drive.

I ended up on the phone with Apple support after watching the iMac do nothing for a while, then sat and watched the Mac do nothing for a while longer while holding for support. I don’t know how many minutes, exactly … but I did manage to get in a good six or eight hands of Hearts in Clubhouse Games on the DS and the call management robot broke in three times to tell me I could expect a wait of fifteen minutes or more. I heard an Elton John song, a song from some female singer/songwriter type, a song from some Deathcab for Cutie derivative, and a song from some post-post-post-Pearl Jam stentorian crooners.

Then the support guy answered and it continued to do nothing while I pulled up the serial number, gave him all my registration information and explained the problem. It did nothing while he said stuff about how “it was on this screen” and “I have something on this.” It stopped doing nothing at the exact right moment required for The Comedy:

  • The support guy said “Ah, yes … the installer is running a routine that uses the program fsck …”

  • A lightbulb went on over my head.

  • The disk manifested in the list of candidate drives.

So I kept trying to say “I think it finished examining the disk” but the support guy was going to explain it all to me no matter what, talking over me several times, so I went limp and waited for him to be done.

Then I said some sort of activity indicator would be aces next time, and he said something about how there’ve been a lot of people calling in with this issue so my comment probably didn’t require passing up to management. Then we bid each other a good day.

* Where “tell” can be read to mean “show a spinner, beachball, friendly ‘now scanning your disks’ message, progress bar, or video recap of Steve’s finest MacWorld keynotes”

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