Saturday, June 25, 2011

Updated to Snow Leopard 10.6.8

I just upgraded to the new update from Apple which is Snow Leopard 10.6.8.  I must say this update has been the most stressful one so far, as the previous updates have been uneventful.  Here is a screenshot of my current system, with the brand new update complete with a picture I took of the Grand Canyon May of this year as wallpaper :

Here are the steps I have gone and agonized through to get this update going.  I was getting a kernel panic like a lot of people out there and I tried to do the update about 3 times, to no avail.  But I'm the type who never stops until I get what I want, so I took the bull by the horns.  Computer Update 101: NEVER do an update without performing several backups (I did a regular Time Machine backup, a Carbon Copy clone of my hard drive, and a manual of a few folders I have sensitive files in) to my second partition, to my NAS system, AND to an external hard drive, so if one fails, I still have other sources.  Here is what happened in a nutshell:

1) I tried doing the update using software update.  I was able to update my system this way with 10.6.6 to 10.6.7 which went smoothly and without any need for reinstalling kexts except for deleting SleepEnabler.  Rebooted (I thought I would not need to reinstall any kexts at all like before).

2) Got a kernel panic, and I was not able to boot even with pmVersion=23 flag.

3) Rebooted, then reset my BIOS settings to remove any overclocking. I also downloaded a new version of iBoot as I have a 3-versions-ago one.

4) Got past cpuPM=21 (verbose mode with pmVersion=23) but got stuck at PCI configuration.  I couldn't get past this no matter how many times I have rebooted (I read some people get a KP the first time, reboot and then the system is ok), and no matter what flags I used at boot time.

5) Popped in the original Snow Leopard disk after booting with iBoot, then used Terminal to replace the kexts that were affected as mentioned in this forum by others (IO and ACPI), and to get to the to change pmVersion (I had 21 in my old system, so I switched it to 23).  Still a no go after reboot.

6) I rebooted, used the original SL disk again, deleted the whole /SL/Extra folder, and installed Snow Leopard over my old installation, and so in the process went back to 10.6.3.

7) I was able to boot the system with iBoot into 10.6.3, and luckily still had everything as before except for retrogression to the old version.  I reinstalled the 10.6.7 combo update which I had an old backup copy of, installed multibeast + system utilities + Chimera loader + all other drivers required for my system.  Rebooted.

8) Got back my 10.6.7 system, which was a relief.  Now to get this doggone 10.6.8 update going.  I decided to go the combo update route, and downloaded it from Apple (man, this download is slow, everybody in the world must be updating right now).

9) Installed the update, then before rebooting, I installed IOPCIFamily.kext and AppleCIPPlatform.kext from 10.6.7 via Kext Utility.  I also installed GigabyteALC888bautoHP.kext (for some reason, my GA-H55M-S2V works with this rather than the straightforward ALC888a kext from multibeast).  I rebuilt system caches and repaired permissions before rebooting.

10) Got another kernel panic(!!!) after rebooting, so I rebooted with iBoot, and saw that I lost QE/CI on my 9600GT.  I got 1280x1024 resolution once I got into my system, so I reinstalled Chimera, NVenabler and also installed the NVIDIA update from Tony.  Did system utilities again and rebooted.

11) I still got no QE/CI from my 9600GT, and was cursing to the heavens at this time.  I got an older version of Chameleon from an older version of multibeast, installed with system utilities and rebooted.

12) Still no go ($&%7!!), and so I decided to take a break as I felt I have been already spending too much time on this update.  After an hour, I came back, and decided to view S/L/E folder in my 10.6.7 backup and compared this against the current 10.6.8 S/L/E.

13) I saw that GeForceVADriver.bundle, NVDANV50Hal.kext, NVDAN40Hal.kext, NVDAResman.kext, GeForce.kext, GeForce7xxxGLDriver.bundle, GeForceGA.plugin and GeForceGLDriver.bundle were missing in my new S/L/E.

14) I installed each and every kext, bundle and driver I mentioned in the previous step using Kext Utility, and then rebuilt caches and repaired permissions for the nth time today.  By this time, it was already 4 AM.

15) Finally, I got my system back with full QE/CI, plus I am running 10.6.8.  Tested Starcraft, Civilization IV and Simcity 4: Rush Hour and each played wonderfully.  All is right with the world again.

What I learned from this is that no two identical systems are exactly the same so even if people in different forums say everything went well, be ready to get any kind of SNAFU.  Make sure you always have backups (and backups of your backups, hehe).  A lot of good has come from this update, one of which is that Sleep capability has been fixed for me in my system.  Before it has always been buggy, and sometimes, after Wake from Sleep, my WiFi would not be working, and Bluetooth needed re-pairing with devices (although very rarely).  I am also able to get faster framerates with my old 9600GT video card.  Once again, here is my current system (with a little OC on the CPU and RAM):

I already have an idea for my next project, although I would not say too much at this time.  I could say it involves mini-ITX and the new onboard GT430 one company has installed on their boards (hint!).  I also have to get some more knowledge in shaping and constructing with aluminum (another hint!).  More to come, more to come.

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