Snow Leopard Upgrade on a Triple Booting Macbook

SnowLeopardHowdy World, so last friday was release day for Snow Leopard, woot! I went out and grabbed a copy and rushed home to upgrade my macbook… Here’s the tale of a bit of resistance I met and how I resolved it.

Yellow Triangle of Rejection

So the problem I quickly encountered was that my “Macintosh HD” partition had an ugly little yellow symbol over it rejecting me from updating my OS X install. I forget (unfortunately), the particular error message. Nevertheless the short version was that regardless of how I launched the installer or a number of other things I tried, it wouldn’t let me run the upgrade.

Quest Accepted

Well, I wasn’t about to settle for reformatting – though that is a decent option. I decided to ‘be a man’ and directly address my challenger.

I tried calling Apple support, but they were closed, as was it was late at night. I googled around and found someone’s suggestion that for those who had changed their partitioning scheme around could just get Disk Utility to resize their target partition. The idea here was that when using a tool like gparted (which I adore) to change around your partition scheme, it’s easy to emerge with a working structure that’ll cause the OS X installer to consider an otherwise perfectly healthly partitioning scheme unusable for installation.

“Fixing” my OS X partition

So the best help I found online was suggesting to resize partitions with the Disk Utility (which as of Snow Leopard has an option for doing that). But for me, that didn’t work, I got some lame error messages that I can’t recall.

The way I did the resize was with the command-line version of Disk Utility – ‘diskutil’.


In my caption there, you can see me make a call to diskutil list to show my partitions. As you can see, I’ve got 6 partitions on my drive. You can see on the second line a call to resize my OS X partition. All I did to get the Snow Leopard installer to play nice was decrease the size of that partition slightly. I’m sure after the install I could just as easily increase the size too.

After this it was smooth sailing. The upgrade went as expected, my data was all there and happy and so on.

Upgrading my Mac Pro

Several days later, I decided to upgrade my Mac Pro as well. What concerned me about this is that on that machine I setup Leopard to live across a 3 hard drive RAID. I wasn’t sure if the upgrade would have been able to accomodate that configuration.

Well, I did the upgrade and it went well, only thing to report there was that when I tried to run the installer from inside Leopard, it didn’t list my RAID volume. It only showed it when I rebooted off of the Snow Leopard DVD. Other than that, it was very simple.


So far I’m really liking Snow Leopard. As Apple has said, it’s not a redesign. So the learning curve isn’t really present, especially if you’re a Leopard user. This is in my mind a massive set of regular improvements bundled with some minor changes to the UI workflow and the introduction of some new libraries that I suspect won’t really matter for awhile yet. I love the $30 price tag and we’ll see if the 8 cores in my Mac Pro show better overall use, though I think that’ll probably require some additional application side support.

If you’re thinking of upgrading, go for it. It’s inexpensive and gives you access to some sweet new features. If you want a glossy list of the details, go look at Apple’s page on Snow Leopard here.