After nearly a year in release, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard still seems to still be a work in progress. I keep trying to upgrade to Snow Leopard, but always end up back with Leopard for a number of reasons including bugs and hardware stress.


After nearly a year in release, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard still seems be a work in progress.

I keep trying to upgrade to Snow Leopard, but always end up back with Leopard. I have both operating systems installed, using separate partitions of my MacBook’s hard drive, and keep thanking myself that I didn’t cut the umbilical cord to Leopard when I installed Snow Leopard late at OS 10.6.3.

My procrastination about installing Snow Leopard had much to do with there being no really “gotta have it” new features in 10.6, but I’ve discovered that there are lots of small tweaks that I like and appreciate using. Unfortunately, it’s just been too buggy to make it worth my time.

The Bugs

Even at OS 10.6.4, Snow Leopard is still as buggy as a flophouse mattress. Here are some of the issues I (and others) have encountered.

Spaces support keeps crapping out, taking keyboard response with it, requiring endless Dock quits and reboots in order to get things working again. See here, here, here, here and here for examples, discussions, and workarounds pertaining to this bug. Less monotonously aggravating, but occurring frequently enough to be tedious, I’ve found that keyboard input also sometimes dies randomly independent of the Spaces issue, and in those instances doesn’t respond to quitting and restarting the Dock. I’m left with just the trackpad or mouse to shut things down in a reasonably civilized manner and reboot the system.

My MacBook will randomly wake up from sleep unbidden in Snow Leopard. More discussion of this bug here and here.

The Heat

Adding insult to injury, my MacBook (2.0 GHz, 4 GB RAM) runs some 15° to 20°C hotter in Snow Leopard than it does in Leopard, with the same suite of applications in play. I absolutely hate fan noise, but it’s nearly constant background accompaniment in Snow Leopard. And I thought OS X .6 was supposed to be leaner and more efficient, imposing lower overhead demands on hardware? Discussion links here and here.

I can only tolerate three or four days of this before losing my patience and booting back into the serenity and stability of Leopard space. I guess I should be thankful that Leopard continues to do such a fine job, and I am, but the problem is that more and more applications are requiring 10.6 and later for their latest updates. MacSpeech Scribe, for instance, requires OS 10.6. The proverbial writing is on the wall.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that an OS 10.6.5 update  will squash some of this bugginess, but I have to say that it’s not a very lively hope, given that the problems cited here were evident in OS 10.6.0, and four revisions later they’re still with us.

And yes, I don’t doubt that there are lots of users out there getting excellent service from Snow Leopard. I’m happy for them, but that hasn’t been my experience with this cat species, nor the experience of others who echo my complaints. Leopard, and Tiger before it, are proof that Apple can do better.

What about you? Nearly a year later, what has your experience with Snow Leopard been?

  1. I find Snow Leopard so good in so many ways that I’ve been okay with dealing with some serious bugs. It is taking longer to stabilize than Panther or Tiger or Leopard, but its ability to deal with Active Directory is so important to me that I would not go back. Period.

    At home, I use it simply because I don’t want to be using two different versions, one at home and one at work. Plus the benefits of Snow Leopard when it’s working.

    Here’s hoping Apple squashes the serious bugs soon! Can I get a harumph?

  2. I have none of these issues and it is NOT normal. For you or anyone else. I would think that is obvious actually. Do a clean install and run Cocktail or another tool. Also Diskwarrior.

  3. Jamie Kirkpatrick Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I agree with the previous commenter…you must have something wrong with your system because for me this is as stable as any other OS release from Apple in the last 10 years. All this stuff about spaces crashing taking the dock with it etc – never seen anything of this sort.

    Have you tried a completely clean install of the system yet?

    1. That is just a great comment: you must have something wrong with your system. So because of your own experience, no one else can have one that is different? What about all of the other links provided where people are all complaining about the same problems?
      You sound like Jobs: there is no problem here, move along!

      1. It would be really interesting if the original poster did a chart showing the SL positive comments vs. the negative comments.

  4. nary a problem in over a year of use on my MBP and MacMini. Do you run a lot of third party hacks to the system?

  5. Ramon Barrios Lascar Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I have NO problems like your in my 2007 MBP. I have no problems with spaces, no noisy and hot computer. None.

    1. That’s interesting. I have a 2007 MBP 17″ (2.1 C2D 2,33GHz), a 2008 White MB (CD 2.0GHz) right here, both showing the same unexplicable massive temperature rise after updating to SL. No fancy additions (I checked all the kexts), two completely different usecases and applications, Idle CPU usage is around 2-3% (so no rogue processes eating CPU), ambient temperature about 23C.

      The MBP will very quickly under light but idle usage (Mail, Camino (flash disabled) with a couple static webpages, Adium, Vienna) with approx. 8% CPU usage heat up to at least 60C at which point both fans are spinning at 6000RPM already and permanently stay there.
      According to iStatMenus the CPU draws around 3W (sometimes 6W but a SMC reset or simply putting it to sleep and wake it up again fixes that), the GPU 3.5W which I would consider pretty decent. The system is also too hot to touch on the top case.

      Now if I actually use the system a little (like watching a SD video on YouTube via Flash-enabled Safari) the CPU will very quickly heat up to 90C and more at which point one of the following will occur:
      – Video/audio stutter (CPU throttling itself?)
      – The Yukon chips crashes making network unusable (fixable again by sleeping and waking up)
      – Graphic artefacts occur or the graphic system freezes (remote login still possible!)
      – The whole machine just freezes and needs a reboot

      To get anything “demanding” done, like the backup of my Photos to a TrueCrypt encrypted drive I have to remove the battery to make the machine limit the CPU to 1GHz in which case it won’t overheat. Otherwise I have to make sure that I interrupt the “demanding” at around 80C and resume at around 60C.

      With Leopard the same system stays cool to the touch in the same idle state and can even be operated as a laptop. The fans normally spin at their minimum 2000 RPM and will only audibly spin up if I export a video from iMovie or batch process RAW images.

      Oh, I do have a 23″ DVI Monitor connected; I know this makes a difference because when I don’t, the GPU draws a bit less power and the system sometimes tones down a notch when completely idle.

      So I really do not buy the explanation that the hardware must have went bad. In fact I’m pretty sure that Apple either botched up the powermanagement implementation for older processors (Merom for instance) and or is driving the hardware too hard.

      Unfortunately I can’t go back to Leopard on this machine due to software requiring SL.

      The MB has the exact same issue. There I could downgrade, though.

      I also have a friend with a 2007 15″ MBP also having the exact same troubles.

      I have been a very good Apple customer, also converted a whole small company to Macs, but this is absolutely ridiculous! I’m on the verge of getting two shiny new Macs replacing my old work machines, but if they’re not getting their act together and fix the legacy support I won’t buy another piece of Apple hardware.

  6. This is very strange as well. I use all of those features and have been very happy with Snow Leopard. I’m not saying it is problem free, no OS is and it surely is not. But I do not really agree that it is so buggy it is beyond all use.

  7. I upgraded to Snow Leopard and immediately started having issues. Especially with using Mail for my RSS feeds. I am on Hughes Net Satellite for my internet and I started hitting my bandwidth limits within hours. Took me a few days to figure out what was going on and what was causing it. When I did figure it out Apple Care support couldn’t solve the issue right away. I really like using Mail to read my RSS feeds that I keep track of but had to disable it. Finally it stopped and still don’t know what the fix was.

    The worst was that my Dreamweaver stopped working, as well as iTunes. Never could get Dreamweaver to work with the upgrade. But I recently went to have my CD Rom replaced that had quit working and while at Apple Care I had them to do a clean reinstall of Snow Leopard. I wanted to see if Dreamweaver would work with a new install and it did. Got my iTunes back too.

    For me I guess that there were some issues with the upgrade that caused a lot of problems. So far doing the clean re-install has helped. If not I am like you and going to go back to Leopard.


  8. I have been running Snow Leopard on my late 2008 15″ MBP without experiencing any of the bugs you listed. I upgraded from Leopard and have been running fine ever since. BTW, I am a heavy user of Spaces.

  9. I’ve had Snow Leopard for a while now, and all I can say is that it works a LOT better thanLeopard and Tiger did. I have no problems, myself.

  10. I have had nightmarish problems with Snow Leopard on my iMac. Fortunately, I did not upgrade my wife’s MacBook which never has an issue other than the Mail app (another story).

    Where to start? ALL of my Pro apps constantly crash, especially Final Cut. My work time with video editing has nearly doubled for several reasons: outright crashes so I now have to save after every significant edit; very, very slow operations and there is always dropout lines in me video playing.

    In fact, in every operation of the iMac my main screen does not refresh so I don’t always see the entire active window until I drag the window off-screen and then bring it back.

    Watching movies is a problem because of the lines dropping out to expose what is beneath the current window. It reminds me of watching over-the-air TV in a fringe zone.

    All-in-all, I like a lot of the nuances of 10.6 but it is miserable to live with the problems. I have rebuilt the system from scratch twice. Even replaced the hard drive. I attribute most of the problems to the fact that I think the GPU is now being used for more operations than pure video presentation but this is only a guess.

    I’ve been afraid to go backwards to 10.6 as I upgraded most of my apps to operate in a 64-bit environment. So let’s hope progress is made by Apple – quickly. (I feel like I’m running Vista!)

  11. Derek Cassells Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I installed SL on a 2007 MB as soon as it was released. It has never been anything but easy and simple. Everything it is supposed to be in fact.

  12. I had the heat problem too. At first, I couldn’t figure out why my iMac kept crashing… But one day I happened to touch the upperside of my Mac, and behold! I could fry an egg on this!

    I downloaded SMCfan control- a real life saver. And now its ok…
    What puzzles me most is that the iMac’s fans are supposedly auto-regulated; but in my case they never increased the rpm when the CPU was heating up(sometimes as high as 60degrees, especially when using flash on Safari, or using iDVD)

    I also notice that Finder is sluggish, compared to that in Leopard.

  13. Adrian Kosmaczewski Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I add myself to the list of people without a single problem with Snow Leopard whatsoever. And I started using the betas distributed in WWDC, and even at that time I never got any of the serious errors you mention. I think it’s your Mac (hardware) that has a serious problem.

    1. and i add myself to the list of people who have the same problems described above and in the links. Just because you don’t have the problems, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So much for it just working.

  14. I manage seven iMacs and Minis at our small office and have not experienced any of your complaints.

  15. I must say that I H-A-T-E Safari 5!!
    Seriously, how could this bag of hurt leave Apple’s labs?? It seems to me — and pardon my ignorance if I’m wrong — that Apple no longer stresses on Q&A.
    Safari 4 was such a marvel…

    1. Whaa?? There isn’t that much difference between Safari 4 and Safari 5 other than 5 is faster than 4 and the new Reader. You’re going to have to articulate your frustration a bit.

    2. Q&A means questions and answers?

  16. Azhar,

    I think the problem with Safari is how is handles Flash. If I reboot and run Safari using ClickToFlash (a Flash-blocking app) I never have an issue. But as soon as I enable Flash on certain sites, Safari goes nuts (very slow, sometimes never recovering from the beachball wait),

    I haven’t experienced this issue with FireFox.

    1. Thnx for your input

    2. I use Click2Flash because flash is so damn buggy. I’m so glad that my iPhone and iPad DON’T have flash. It’s about the only time I have problems with Safari

  17. Hi I am also a MBP 2.2ghz owner and gave had no problems with SL

    I would definatly advise a clean insatation and see how that goes as there were some problems with the update a couple if the needed to be resubmitted by apple.
    Also on the waking from sleep, this could be a feature! As all SL installed wake from sleep to publish there sharing on to the network from time to time.

  18. Snow Leopard is the only Mac OS I’ve used, I just made the switch last Christmas. What I’ve found is: a buggy Mac is still less buggy than a PC.

    1. Agree :)
      Hehe! :)

  19. Edward J. Stembler Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I’ve had Snow Leopard running on my older Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro and now my new i7 MBP without any problems.

  20. Alexandre Strube Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Here, works like a charm. No temperature differences, no keyboard problems (on the contrary), and the multilingual spell check in every text box is worth everything for someone who usually writes in at least six languages throughout the day.

    BTW, I have four Macs. All Snow Leopard now. Two with clean installs, one with apps and user migrated from time machine, and other which is being upgraded since Panther.

    Oh, and it runs actually cooler than leopard in here.

    1. How could you upgrade a mac originally running Panther to Snow Leopard since Panther only runs on PowerPC and SL only runs on Intel?

  21. The same question always comes to mind when I read a post like this – about problems I don’t experience with either my iMac or MacBook:

    Have you ever considered some of the other crap you have loaded on your computer may be part of the problem?

    I don’t work within some pristine Apple-only panoply of software; but, everything I install has to have a reputation of being designed to work well within the environment I offer.

    That was as true before I switched to the Apple environment – and, golly gee, I only seemed to experience “universal” problems with any of the OS’ I used previously.

    1. Gosh eideard, thanks again for your wisdom, troll.

  22. Same, same. I also have the spaces and heat problems with my 2007 MBP and I hate it! On my gilrfriend’s 2009 MBP I have not come across these issues.

  23. I’ve run Snow Leopard for nearly a year now on my iMac 24″ and have zero problems. Sorry!

  24. I have been running SL since the day it came out, on my 2006 iMac and never had a single issue with it. Although I get asked many times to look at friends or colleauges macs because of issues they experience and it has been 99% of the time user error or something they installed that caused random bugs. Also why is it when someone is having somekind of issue they go to extremes like in some of these posts?

  25. I have the new mac mini Many problems in running Indian Langauage fonts plus its body is getting heated. Not sure if it will withstand the summer heat

  26. You have a problem, and it’s not Snow Leopard.

    As you can see from the feedback, a very few people agree with you and most don’t.

    I have a 2006 MBPro that runs fine on Snow Leopard.

    Could it be faster?

    Yeah. I actually tried turning off the trackpad’s “prevent accidental input” feature and SL took off like chasing a rabbit… but then brushing the trackpad causes more trouble than it’s worth.

    I think you have a hardware incompatibility with Snow Leopard.

    Try diagnosing the problem from that point of view.

    Check your mouse drivers, software plugins, peripherals…

    I once had a defective Logitech Mouse that caused Kernel Panics on a weekly basis before I tracked it down and tossed it.

  27. Snow Leopard for me has been about the same overhead as Leopard. Certainly not a heat-maker or a noise-maker. However, there are bugs. By far the most obvious is this; if you’re typing in the search line on Safari, an autocomplete drop down choice of terms emerges. And each time you hit the space bar, if your mouse cursor happens to be over that drop down, it blanks what you’ve typed and goes at that immediate point in time with whatever gibberish is in the drop-down window. Absolutely ridiculous. I’ve given up using the Google search line on Safari and either resort to Firefox or else going to the Google home page.

  28. Wow..is this a troll of a post or what?!

    Happy SL user since day one on a 15″ MBP (3yrs old), a 15″ MBP (2 months old), and a 18 month old 24″ iMac.

  29. No problems here. Overall Snow Leopard has been my favorite upgrade since 10.3.

  30. Howie Isaacks Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I think to blame your problems on supposed bugs in Snow Leopard is going a bit too far. I have 4 Macs at home running Snow Leopard, and none of them have had these kinds of issues, including my MacBook Pro which is used every day and all day. Either you’ve got some hardware issues, or you don’t know how to properly install and configure Mac OS X.

  31. Running SL on a 2008 24″ iMac, a late 2008 15″ MBP and a MacBook Air. No problems whatsoever.

  32. The only problem I’m seeing is that sometimes interrupting the screen saver puts the desktop in a “weak lock” state where login prompt is up, but the desktop is fully visible and usable.

    Pressing Cancel throws you back to the screen saver, and interrupting it a second time will give you the blacked out screen and modal login prompt you expect.

  33. On the 9 macs I own, all clean installs, time machine eventually fails with errors.

    I have tried everything, reformation the hard drives they back up to, buying new drives etc. The only thing that fixes this issue is a complete re-install of OS X.

    I also have some friends that have the same problem. I have stopped using time machine at this point.

  34. My main gripe with Snow Leopard is one that Apple probably considers a feature. Selecting Print in 10.6 wakes up my printer even when my objective is saving a PDF file to disk. That’s a lot of printer wear-and-tear, as well as wasted electricity to occasionally save a few seconds of print time.

    Apple could bypass this problem by creating a new default menu item, perhaps called “Digital,” that’d include saving to PDFs and other digital formats such as EPUB. Printing to paper is becoming less and less important with each passing year.

  35. Seems that like many others, I am not familiar with any of your problems. SL runs great for me on many macs. Seems you have a lemon.

  36. I run IT (the sole IT guy) for a shop of about 75 macs. (pharma badvertising)

    It’s you. I have plenty of 10.5 users, the PPC people, (makes up about 40% of the mac’s here right now) 10.5 is no more or less stable than 10.6

    I would say my sample size beats yours, so should i get a blog? Of the MANY users of macbook pro’s that I’ve updated to 10.6 (at least 15 or 20 MBPs) i’ve only ever heard people say they ran faster. No one said it was slower.

    You know what it is 99% of the time when i have to fix software? user error. I believe that to be the case here.

    1. this cat knows what he’s talking about. snow leopard has been nothing short of awesome on all of the macs i administrate.

  37. No problems to report here either.

  38. I have not NO problems with ANY Mac OS! My brother bought me a G3 iMac in 2000. It STILL works! I now have 8 or 9 various Macs. My brother has 2, son has 2, and friends have them. NO Problems.

    I usually wait a week after there are updates just to see. But I have never had a problem. Macs just work!

    Of course, I’m not installing all those 10th party crap apps either. But then, I don’t need too.

    I’m really sick of whining wimps. Perhaps you should all be sentenced to at least 30 days of losedoz only. Then you will appreciate what you have with Apple products.

    Thank You Steve Jobs for providing a GREAT always working product!

    1. Dogman….putting the “Girl” in FanGirl.

      Seriously I admin 50 or so Mac’s and 2000 or Windows boxes. The Mac’s no less or more problems than Windows machines. Just got a battery replaced in a 3 month old Macbook, as it lasted only 10min tops, today. Yesterday bad LCD on a brand new Dell. Both are working just fine today.

  39. At first i took your post at face value. But after having read all the posts herein I am no longer sure what your motives were/are with your post.

    Surely one who writes on The Apple Blog would have done some research on various forums to see if what you are experiencing has been reported by others.

    You could have also formed the post in a “wanting help in solving my problem” rather than leave the impression that there something wrong with SL.

    I am contemplating dropping TAB from my weekly visits….

  40. No problems either, except with Spaces and Adobe CS4, in both Snow and Leopard. Not sure whether CS5 has better support for Spaces, but the problems are minimal enough that I’m still very happy.

  41. Sounds like your due for a clean install of snow leopard. My version works flawlessly since install at launch. I use a variety of apps including office 2008, cs4 suite and various 3d apps. No hiccups.

  42. Sorry, I cannot concur with your assumptions. I have SL on a new 27″ iMac and an older 2GHz Core Duo White Macbook and both run great with none of the problems you expressed. I utilize Spaces very heavily, particularly on the laptop where I almost always have some thing(s) running in each of the 4 virtual desktops (Terminal, iChat, FInder Windows, Safari 5, Mail, Multiple MS Windows Remote Desktop connections to my servers, Citrix Web Desktop, Photoshop, Pages/NeoOffice/MS Word/Excel, occasionally a VMWare Fusion XP vm, etc.).

    How much RAM do you have? Perhaps you need more for what you are trying to accomplish? Or perhaps you have something else faulty or corrupted in your OS install, as was recommended before, try a fresh install.

    I did have to do a clean install once because my HD had died, I believe I put 10.5 on it at the time, I know my 10.6 was an upgrade from that. My iMac came with SL pre-installed and I have done nothing to that. It replaced my Dual 2GHz PowerMac G5 which ran 10.5 like a champ (still does).

  43. I have experienced none of the problems you mention, but I have problems with the Finder. Even keeping more than 50% of the hard disk free, it can be impossible to do anything else than, for example, copy a large file across the network. Until it’s finished, I just get the spinning beachball.

    Running ONYX and Applejack (now available for SL!) fixes this. But it’s annoying to have to keep doing housecleaning so regularly.

  44. I’m appalled at the bigotry of some people who commented, whereby they ridiculed anyone who affirmed he was experiencing some ‘bug’ in SL.

    So what? You think we are making it up!

    Bear in mind that you may not necessarily be able to reproduce them because it is a well established fact that every electronic device is unique, let alone different batches in production.

    I never said that SL was unusable…

    We’re posting our views to share our experience; not to school others…

    1. I agree Azhar, we are supposed to shut up, even if it is true that we have some of these problems.

  45. doing Mac support professionally, I have to agree with others that these issues are not normal. yes others may be having similar issues, but there is likely a reason for each of them, and it will be solvable.

    for heat issues a frequent quick fix is to first make sure it isn’t some stuck process (Activity Monitor can show all system+user level processes) and if that isn’t it – reset the SMC (some people call it the SMU, and on PowerPC macs it was the PMU). Should it temporarily fix, but then go back to the bad behaviour, then likely there is an issue with the core system preferences covering system/power management and energysaver. This could also be affecting the waking from sleep, but you can look for “wake” causes in Console (in the Utilities folder) where it lists the reason for a wake from sleep, or for more advanced details on sleeping use the “pmset” command, I believe you would use ‘pmset -g pslog’ in terminal and watch what happens when you select the sleep command.
    The spaces/dock issues could be caused by many things, I’d start with testing in another user account (make a temp one) and see if it still occurs, this could help narrow it down to an issue with a certain program, or with your regular user account.

    The keyboard cutting out could be hardware or software, where I work I would test this one by booting from an external hard drive with a fresh OS, and test it to see if it still occurs. Sometimes this testing of issues from another drive is able to quickly show it is a hardware issue, or help isolate what software is causing it (by installing programs one at a time)

    1. Thank you for those counsels BRIANM :)

  46. Snow Leopard is the first MacOSX version since Tiger I had to reinstall on both my iMac and Macbook Pro. I think that says it all. (I always do clean installs)

    Safari 5 is slow as hell and can bring the whole system down, Time machine is still too buggy to be reliable, spaces is indeed a big nightmare, iTunes and Finder can be very slow, open/save dialogs can take forever to open in all my apps, Mail crashes a lot, MobileMe syncing has been a joke, …

    After reinstalling, things have improved a lot, but still it’s far from snappy.

    1. tom: check what is listed for “All Messages” in Console in your utilities folder, there may be some clues about why you are having all of those issues. Especially Time Machine issues do tend to show up in the system.log making it possible to solve. I have seen a few cases where a generally slow machine and a time machine issue were narrowed down to a corrupted file (or in one case several files) that was causing “mds” the indexing part of Spotlight to use 100% CPU causing the system to be slow, hot, and when spotlight isn’t working right, Time Machine will have issues as well.

      On my systems, my customers systems Safari 5 has generally been usable, although at home and work I do primarily use Google Chrome due to memory management issues in all other web browsers except chrome. Even with Chrome being primary, I always do have Safari running for a few select websites. (Chrome returns all ram when a tab or window is closed, Safari, Firefox, Opera and others do not, currently at least, with a minimum of 10 tabs open at any given time, and while doing heavy research Safari & Firefox can quickly grow to 500+ MB of ram, Chrome peaks at the same level with all of the same windows open, but as you close windows/tabs, it will go back to what it started with)

    2. I haven’t experienced any problem with Time Machine, until very recently… Usually when the backup disk is full, Time Machine deletes some old backup. But in some instances, it did not, and I had to reformat the disk, and re-instate a full backup.

      Mail has been pretty slow: I noticed it too; and like I said earlier, Finder in SL is sluggish.

  47. One of the most serious flaws I’ve ‘uncovered’ yet is the fact that, from Bootcamp 3.1:

    A Windows admin/non-admin user can access(read) a password-protected Mac account(from the USERS folder), since he can view all the contents of the Macintosh partition.
    And there’s no way(yet) to fix that.

    1. Hamranhansenhansen Azhar Sunday, August 15, 2010

      You can encrypt the Mac user folders with FileVault, in the Security preference pane, to fix this issue.

  48. I don’t have any of these issues on my Unibody MacBook Pro.

  49. I have to completely disagree with this person. 10.6 is the best Mac OS ever. I haven’t had a single problem with it. It’s a pleasure to use.

  50. I have never encountered any of the bugs you mentioned. I love Snow Leopard.

  51. @EIDEARD wrote, “Have you ever considered some of the other crap you have loaded…?”

    I wouldn’t put it so coarsely, but I do think you exploit the good will and intentions of your readers by offering up so little evidence of what any sensible trouble-shooter would have looked at.

    It only takes a few seconds with Mr. Google to see all sorts of system tweaks recommended thru theappleblog.com; many others under writers named, “Charles Moore.” (You, I presume.) Servers, clipboard enhancers, all sorts of constantly-upgraded freeware that can have memory leaks or trigger system glitches. Actually, a veritable nightmare; the very first thing the Genius Bar guy would disable, and why not?

    Why not share with us your rogue’s gallery of apps? Some of us might actually be aware of known bugs in them.

    And in direct answer to your question: Snow Leopard is a great OS, smoother, faster, much more power than its predecessor. But it can go off in different ways than its predecessor — just like that iPhone4 antenna that is unquestionably better for me but not others. You could well be doing things that trip different behavior than you expect from Leopard, maybe re-indexing your entire PhotoShop folder or Lord knows what.

    My glitches come from Safari5’s new features over iffy wifi, or with too many of those clever extensions loaded. Screws up how OSX interprets mouse clicks in other programs. Take off the overload and I’m back to smooth sailing.

  52. i think that snow leopard is the best release if you do all the updates and dont do dumb crap on it such as hacks or things i have ran into it auto restting a couple of times but after updates im good to go
    so in all fairness snow leopard is going to be great its just in its infant stage right now but when it grows up watch out windows

  53. Having both systems installed on your Mac even on partitions is already a sign of bad things to come.

    I have Snow installed on 3 different computers and don’t have ANYTHING remotely similar to what you described. On occasion, some apps may slow or freeze but quitting them resolves this issue.

    Yea, keeping the OS running the way it was designed to avoids many of your troubles.

  54. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Honestly, have you tried to re-install a clean copy, or check your hardware, or look into incompatible drivers or other software? YOUR Mac might have fleas, I doubt it’s the OS.
    I run Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro (non uni-body) with 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM. I’m also using Spaces (2 of ‘em). I have no stability issues, no keyboard response issues, no sleep issues, no hotter running issues. I run for around 100 days consecutively without rebooting with no issues. I run Tiger on my older Macs (a G5 tower and a Powerbook), and they’re similarly stable, though a bit less refined/capable/responsive.

  55. I had issues with losing keyboard input. I stopped loading LogMeIn on boot and haven’t had the problem since. I figured that it was the type of app likely to steal the keyboard and it looks like I was right. I’d look a lot harder at your system before blaming Snow Leopard entirely.

  56. I agree. I’ve never had as many issues and crashes as with SL. Not the bugs you describe, but others, and all seem to be related to sudden high CPU usage and unusual memory usage.

    I know at least one of my issues must be related to maybe a bad font, or something else (quicklookD acting up and hijacking my CPU), but I’ve never had my computer crash as often since OS9, even when I only have a word processor open and Firefox. I edited a complete film in full HD on this machine under Leopard, and it never crashed!

    I do like the new features of SL, so I’ll wait this one out.

    Btw, if people here claim that you must have hardware issues, or improperly installed SL, they overlook the fact that, according to you, none of the issues occur under Leopard. The problem is Snow Leopard, nothing else.

    1. Or could it be dodgy software that doesn’t take the changes in Snow Leopard into account? When you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, which is wrong?

  57. Charles W. Moore Tuesday, August 10, 2010


    Thanks to everyone who commented, including the sarcastic and contemptuous.

    A few additional notes.

    As I mentioned in the article, this was a clean install on a previously unwritten hard drive partition. I do run system maintenance software (OnyX mostly but also Prosoft Drive Genius) — not obsessively, but fairly frequently. Turns up minimal or no problems.

    One of my main points here is that I can switch between OS 10.5 and OS 10.6 on the same machine, under the same environment and network connection, using the same application software, but getting substantially poorer performance with Snow Leopard. If it was a hardware problem, presumably it would show up when booted from either OS.

    I don’t have a lot of system add-ons, and although one I do use in Leopard is the sometimes problematical Unsanity Application Enhancer to support WindowShade X. I don’t use either in Snow Leopard (am working on using collapse to Dock icon instead.

    I do use a fair bit of third-party software for production, and few Apple iApps (Pages once in a while if I need a full Word Processor instead of a text editor, or want to view a Word doc. with formatting intact).

    I generally have three Web Browsers (currently Opera, Chrome, and Firefox – latest versions or betas all) and two email programs running, but do the same with Leopard. MacSpeech Dictate when I need it (it’s pretty useless in Snow Leopard due to the letter-transposition bug, which is a known issue on the MacSpeech forums), Everything else is small footprint. The Snow Leopard Spaces bug has been reported by many others as well — the best workaround I’ve found so far being a wonderful little AppleScript program called QuitDock.

    Incidentally, it’s not just me (did you check the links in the column?), but I did affirm that I don’t doubt lots of users are getting excellent service from Snow Leopard, which many respondents have confirmed.

    My fan cuts in, but is somewhat erratic in both system versions — sometimes screaming at high RPM when the processor temp. is in the high 60°s-low 70°s, but running slow in the ’80°s.However, there’s substantially less fan activity in Leopard under identical environmental and software conditions.

    Hoping for better in OS 10.6.5.


  58. I’m thinking you have some hardware issues. I have seen none of these issues and I support close to 100 mac users. If a clean install does not fix your issues, maybe switch RAM or check your hard disk. I have seen some Macbook Pro’s wake from sleep when being moved without having the case open, but usually the cases were dinged up.

  59. No problems here. Installed it the week it was released on all machines at home (MP, mini server and MBP), extremely stable. MP and mini server are always on, I don’t reboot them except for updates…

  60. My biggest complaint with Snow Leopard is that I suffer from micro-beachballing. Ie. often when performing an action eg. opening a new tab in Safari I am left with the beachball of doom for 1 or 2 seconds. These types of actions shouldn’t evoke a beachball on this config (4gb ram early 2009 imac)!!!! And to add insult to injury I recently installed Windows 7 in Bootcamp and it runs WAY smoother than Snow Leopard and feels FAR more responsive…. I almost cried when I realised this, but IT IS A BETTER OS THAN SNOW LEOPARD! The shame, the shame……….

    Oh and every iteration of Adobe Creative Suite on the mac is less stable and more frustrating than it’s predecessor, whereas they seem to be winning on Windows. :-(

    1. Hamranhansenhansen Joe Bloggs Sunday, August 15, 2010

      The beach ball has nothing to do with your hardware configuration, it just means the app is busy doing something and can’t respond to you at that moment. It’s not the system that puts up the beach ball, it’s the app.

      A fresh Windows does feel snappy, but not for long. Windows 7 has viruses and can’t be used reliably on the Internet or for online banking, so you will have to give over 20% of your CPU to a scanner and even then you will have 2-3 days of downtime 2-3 times per year.

      The Adobe apps are getting worse on Windows, too. The grass over there is not as green as you think it is.

  61. I’m with an Imac and had no problems upgrading is ten million times better than vista or windows 7 I think is the best upgraded ever made and best computer I ever owned Im over 2 years with it and still going oh I just upgraded to 2GB ram the imac and snow leopard didn’t complain and wasn’t a real need just feel upgrading the ram.

    So cat doesn’t have fleas I think the blog has them

    1. where did the blogger mention windows? and punctuation please…

  62. no fleas here, works perfect for me

  63. I bought Snow Leopard on release day, and promptly installed it on my 2008 MacBook with 4GB RAM.

    I’m a programmer, and I use it all day every day. It has been running flawlessly for me.

    I run lots of things in the background: ChronoSync, SuperDuper, BackBlaze, RescueTime, AudioScrobbler, TimeMachine, UPS Power Agent

    I have lots of custom PrefPanes: Perian, MagicPrefs, MacFuse, Growl, Flip4Mac, & Cameras

    I also keep these apps running all the time: iTunes, Skype, iChat, Tweetie4Mac, Terminal, Chrome, Zend Studio (eclipse), TextWrangler, MAMP (Mac Apache+MySQL+PHP)

  64. THANK YOU! Finally, someone else willing to admit the bugs in Snow Leopard. Remember when Steve announced SL with the headline “No major new features, the focus will be on speed ups and bug fixs?” Well, the day it shipped, some 86 new features were listed in the press release.

    I use Snow Leopard now everyday, but to say it is a giant leap forward from Leopard is just not the truth. The sad thing is, just before Snow Leopard shipped, Apple sent developers a list of KNOWN issues, many of which are still not fixed. Novell connectivity? Broken. SMB and Active Directory features? Worse than they were in Leopard. Backwards compatibility? Hummmm…. And then to add insult to injury, to keep things moving “forward” they “had” to drop support for PowerPC?

    I am just glad someone is willing to admit SL was not the blessed event Apple proposed that it was; now if someone could just get them to fix what they broke….

  65. My Mac won’t run SL, so I’m out until Apple makes a Mac Pro or xMac that makes sense to buy. I want an affordable Mac made of desktop components. My partner and her family, however, have a MBP and an iMac. I installed SL on both machines, but they got really discourged with the quirks it had; and, within two weeks, it actually got a bit tense between us. (They don’t have the patience I do with finding workarounds etc.) Long story short, I ended up reformatting both systems and reinstalling Leopard. I will skip SL altogether on their Macs, and try it again with the next cat, whenever it is released.

    One thing I’ve noticed is the steady decline in quality with the initial release of a major OSX upgrade. Leopard had more bugs than Tiger. SL had more bugs than Leopard. Hopefully, Apple will reverse this trend with the next major release. I’m somewhat apprehensive, however, that Apple is stretching itself a bit too thin with the additional major product lines to support.

  66. After latest update to 10.6.4 i experienced a few problem i didnt have before. No other changes made in the computer.

    Bluetooth connection issues with magic mouse
    Computer running hotter
    Having to reboot after a long time (weeks) on regular basis, Computer freezes.

    Not a big set of issues but still, they were not there before.

    Im looking forward to truly optimized graphics core for all imacs at least those with discrete graphics card.

    Safari 5 is not ready for prime time in my experience.
    Iweb is total and utter crap it’s full of bugs in the bloggs section.Twice the bloggs data base has crashed and been unusable for me. Not that happy about that.

    But all in all, Mac is still the best :)

  67. I knew before looking at the comments there’d be a bunch of Apple fans pointing out that *they* never had any problems. God forbid you ever find a blemish on the gleaming Apple.

    But as you can see, the author provided links that demonstrate his issues are not unique to him. So *something* is indeed going on. Hopefully Mr. Moore will update this post if/when he ever finds the source of his issues.

  68. SL screwed over battery, and is a bit slower. Because I upgraded shortly after buying my first Mac I didn’t know you were meant to back up so I couldn’t revert to Leopard and I didn’t at that time have an external HD.

  69. SL working really smoothly here. Upgraded two MacBooks (mid 2007 and early 2008) as well as one MacBookPro (early 2008) and never had any problems.

    One of the MacBooks went straight from Tiger to SnowLeopard because Leopard felt too “heavy” to use, unlike SL.

    The improvements – QuickTimeX, Exposé improvements, quicker sleep and shutdown, faster time machine in some cases, just to mention a few I noticed by looking back at 10.5 after some months – are really worth the upgrade in my opinion, and most of the bugs I read about are caused by third party software installed (and in many cases can be solved by upgrading those, instead of blaming SL)

  70. Well mine works just fine. I’ve never experienced something wrong with Snow Leopard. Maybe it depends on the reason that I got my Mac with Snow Leopard out of the box, but still. For me it works fast and never had a problem with anything.

  71. Snow Leopard works for me! The only issue is that it heats up some times, and that spaces gets glitchy and slow once in a while….

  72. My Macbook has definitely slowed down significantly in the past two years as it has rapidly filled up with programmes/music/junk but I can’t say I’ve experienced any of the problems you have mentioned. Apart from having to force quit Flash from time to time to unfreeze Safari it’s been pretty bug free for me.

  73. 2007 Macbook pro, and definitely experiencing a lot of these problems. I turned spaces off long ago because of the bugs. It used to wake during sleep, but some update seemed to fix that (oddly enough) and I’m always keeping my fingers crossed, although it still takes up to two long minutes for the hard drive to actually sleep after it’s closed. Mail is a failure altogether, too many bugs to bother keeping track of. They can update Safari every so often upon a whim but they won’t bother providing updates to anything else?

  74. Charles,

    I have exactly the same model MacBook as you (Aluminum Unibody), and under 10.6.4 (and all previous upgrades), I’ve experienced none of the issues you describe. My suspicion is the problems may be hardware-based. Since others are experiencing similar issues, it may be a defective batch of units coming out of one manufacturing plant or another during a certain period.

    I know you’re located rurally, but if the problems are as frustrating as they sound, I would strongly recommend getting the ‘Book diagnosed at an Apple store or replaced under AppleCare.


  75. Yeah, Snow Leopard consumes far more RAM than Leopard, thank God I upgraded my RAM fron 2 GB to 4 GB at the same time I upgraded to SL. Also since upgrading to SL any screensaver makes my MacBook’s fans start working really hard, I have to disable the screensaver. I’d rather have 32 bit screensavers, since 64 bit don’t add anything to a screensaver but make my mac work a lot more.

  76. Charles W. Moore Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    A postscript to my comment yesterday; several folks have suggested that this concatenation of bugs must be attributable to a hardware issue. However, if that be the case, howcum none of the issues show op in Leopard on the same machine and setup using the same programs?

    Leopard on this Mac seems to be essentially bug-free.

    I suppose that there is at least the possibility of Snow Leopard being pickier about, say, RAM, than Leopard. I have 4 GB — sourced from Newer Technology, whose memory products have served me reliably on many Macs over the years. The only defective RAM I’ve ever had was well-known brand name stuff.

    However, things like the Spaces bug (of which many users complain) and the more torrid running temperatures don’t seem like RAM-related issues, especially since the hardware works just great with Leopard.


  77. I wonder if the author did a standard install on top of his old Leopard installation (while preserving a clone on his other partition) or if he did a clean install of Snow Leopard.

    I tried the standard install and it was a disaster on my Mac Mini. Crashes, extremely slow response, finder freezes. I wiped the hard disk, did a fresh install of snow leopard, migrated my files and apps over from my Superduper clone, and have had zero problems.

  78. Not sure if what I say ‘counts’ because this computer came with SL installed, but—my computer almost NEVER gets hot. It’s usually cool or room temperature, even if I’m watching YouTube videos or working in Photoshop. I did get a weird ‘unexpectedly quit’ message with the Dashboard today, but I think that came from a bad widget, because it hasn’t repeated itself. No weird sleep behaviour. So far, I’m pretty satisfied with SL.

  79. I Have a 2008 Mac Mini 2GHZ with 2GB RAM. 10.6 was pretty easy to install, and I have no major services crap out or die that I couldn’t put down to some other badly behaved hardware or software. My Mini runs 24×7 as it is the family media server, and my primary desktop, and sill prefer to use it rather than my wifes much faster (technically) Win7 desktop. It does what I need very well, and is still a great machine for the kids.

  80. Maybe SL runs fine on machines that shipped with it installed, but 10.5 did indeed run better on my MBP than 10.6 does.

    More beachballs, runs hotter, more weird bugs than Leopard, certainly doesn’t run faster.

    I agree with the poster that said initial releases are fairly buggy, and the problem’s getting worse with each release.

    By the time 10.6.11 rolls around maybe SL will be as mature as the last revision of 10.5 proved to be.

  81. What is amazing is the fact that some of us do have these exact same problems, but because some people have not experienced the problems, they say it does not exist. What a bunch of phooey. So the links mean nothing? How about the fact that there are some people on here that are stating yes, there are those problems? Get outside of the bubble and realize that there are other people besides you and your “experience”. Just because you didn’t have the same problems doesn’t make them any less real. Sheesh..

  82. Late 2008 17″MBP and have been running Snow Leopard since it came out and have never seen the issues that you are having. In fact, it has been one of the most stable systems I have had in quite a long time!

  83. I have been running 10.6 on my early 2008 MacBook for a year and I have not had any of the problems listed here. Upgrade was painless, and other than having to update some applications it has been nothing but smooth sailing.

    Maybe it is an issue with certain hardware? Certain applications?

  84. Charles W. Moore Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Hello Edward Humes;

    It was a clean install on a partition of the HD that had nothing previously written on it. I left my Leopard install on the other partition untouched (thankfully!).

    It’s not that the SL bugs render it unusable. None I’ve encountered have been show-stoppers. But it sure is nicer in Leopard.

    Incidentally, here are a couple more recently reported Snow Leopard bugs. Haven’t encountered them myself.




  85. They still haven’t squashed that spaces bug? I had to disable spaces at the cost of my work efficiency cause of how annoying that bug is. Haven’t run into any other bugs, though.

  86. Charles W. Moore Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Hello Edward Humes;

    It was a clean install on a previously unwritten hard drive partition, leaving my Leopard install on the other partition untouched (thankfully).

    None of the bugs I have encountered in Snow Leopard is a real show-stopper rendering it unusable, but it’s a lot less frustrating in Leopard. Another I neglected to mention is that after a few days of uptime, SL starts taking a long time (a minute or more) to respond to the Sleep command. It fall asleep normally for the first while after a reboot. I typically go two or three weeks between Leopard reboots, and it always goes to sleep promptly.

    Incidentally, here are a couple more Snow Leopard bugs reported, although I’ve encountered neither, personally.




  87. I agree with Darwin, Jamie etc – I’ve none of the problems you mention. Had issues with updating safari to 5.0 but since had them solved in 5.0.1

  88. email password problem Friday, August 13, 2010

    Installed snow leopard w/o troubles. 99% solid ever since.

    One problem I’ve encountered is an intermittent password problem using email. Intermittently it asks for my password. One time it repeatedly asked until it finally was accepted. More of an inconvenience than a problem. Another very, very intermittent “problem” is that Airport also asks for it’s password.

    Most likely it’s within keychain access – I’ll dig into it someday. “If it’s not totally broken, don’t touch it.”

  89. Hamranhansenhansen Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Snow Leopard has been great for me.

    If you have not been doing clean installs, try clean installing on an external disk and see if booting from there shows these issues.

    Also make sure your firmware is up to date.

    You can also run Apple diagnostics to see if you have a hardware problem, or get a Mac Genius to do it. The problem could show in Snow Leopard but not in Leopard.

  90. I agree with you: Snow leopard is buggy.

    I’m used to one or two crashes of Safari 5, sometimes Mail falls into the “orcus” in sympathy, sometimes TextEdit follows.
    The other opened (no-Apple) applications stay stable.

    It is not my system, I’m very sure.

    Unfortunately I bought a new mini which NEEDs Snow Leopard.

    With an external HD I could boot into Leopard (last version) and found it really very, very interesting, how FAST my system ran…

    In my case I can only hope update could bring a solution.

  91. Hello Charles,

    just a P.S.:
    As my Mac mini came with Snow Leopard installed it can’t be a question of the installing option.

    When I return to 10.4 on another Mac mini (the former), I …
    – miss the proceedings related to Snow Leopard (or even Leopard)
    – get a really (!) stable system

    So: what’s the progress??

  92. I have a lots of problems too with Snow Leopard on my 2.66 Core 2 Duo iMac. Also reinstalled 10.6 twice with no luck. Actually running 10.6.4.
    Safari 5 stalls a lot when using it having two or three sessions open at the same time. The computer feels slow, sluggish, unpleasant.
    Leopard was PERFECT, snow=windows :-(

  93. Michael Jackson Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    finally i success install snow leopard on my Vaio :D

  94. I love using Snow Leopard, I have no problems. The only thing with both operating systems is getting those self-assigned IP addresses when traveling.

    It would be nice for you guys to post a hack on that.

  95. I don’t have any problems with snow leopard…
    it works flawlessly…

  96. I find Snow Leopard is great as long as I stick to 10.6.2 When I updated to 10.6.3 in April 10 my system would randomly crash. The running apps would continue to run and the mouse would work to navigate around the desktop, but I wouldn’t be able to operate the menu’s or dock or close any apps. Keyboard wouldn’t work, but if I was playing a video it would continue to play ok. The only way to clear it was to power down by holding in the power button for a few seconds. I reinstalled 10.6.2 and the problems completely went away. I’ve stayed with 10.6.2 ever since until this week when I stupidly installed 10.6.4 and the random crashing bug has returned :( My Mac Mini and Mac Book Pro have worked completely fine with 10.6.3 and 10.6.4 but my iMac is a different story. Back to 10.6.2 we go.

  97. Leopard and especially tiger matured into stable elegant pieces of software so far snow leopard AND safari 5 are buggy pieces of crap, lets hope apple gets it’s act together in an update or 2.

    There was really no reason for snow Leopard after leopard was finally stable, they should have kept it in the labs for another year before release
    at this rate I may have to go back to tiger and save some ram and finally have a rock solid system gain

  98. 10.6 has run perfectly with zero issues on my 2.0 ghz Macbook Pro. Two weeks ago I bought a new Macbook Pro and have had no problems with it either. For me it’s been the best MacOS yet. I’ll have to admit though that I only use spaces on the rare occasion when I’m demoing my Mac to a pc user. Otherwise I’d toss spaces as a waste of HD space

  99. Sorry folks, I don’t care how many of you have had zero problems — the very nature of some bugs is that they may only be present under very specific circumstances. For example, a lot of people who aren’t experiencing problems are mentioning MacBook pro’s or desktop machines. I’m experiencing exactly the issues that Charles describes, and I’m running a MacBook. I am working on a Mac Pro at work running 10.6.4 without issue, but that damn fan is CONSTANTLY at full bore on my poor MacBook since upgrading to SL, even if I use a base with a fan (which should not be a requirement!). Even after restarting all it takes is launching Chrome to bring the CPU to 180 degrees!

    And before anyone lectures me, I savvy console logs, activity monitor, top, ps -a, and so forth, and there’s no good reason for the Finder to be crunching like that. I’m going to try another clean install in hopes that this is just some corrupt cache or plist that Onyx couldn’t catch, but if that doesn’t work I may have to build a desktop just so I can alleviate that obnoxious noise. Hell, if this is some sort of heat sink separating from the CPU issue, I may resort to a full breakdown to re-apply some Arctic silver and confirm everything is seated properly. If that doesn’t work… well, damn it, I find myself faced with the choice of rewarding Apple’s bad coding by buying new hardware from them, or finding some alternate way of spending my money to solve the problem one way or another (*cough*hackintosh*cough). :P

  100. I’m one of the “lots of problems with Snow Leopard” folks. Didn’t realize how much it was SL until my latest problems, after updating to 10.6.4 and Safari 5.0.2. Big problems began earlier this summer when I finally upped to 10.6.3 because Safari was into 5.0.1 in the combo, as I recall. I’m running an iMac with 2.4GHz/4GB/320GB.

    We’ve got 1 Admin account and two user accounts. It’s been my summer with AppleCare — sheesh. First, as I recall, my 11-year-old’s account got trashed somehow (the report while I was at work was, “The Mac just shut itself off in the middle of using it!”). Ended up deleting/restoring her account from a TimeMachine backup.

    I don’t like version 1’s of anything, so I held off on Safari 5 until 5.0.1 came out, then I figured that I was “safe.” Everything seemed to be OK for a while, I guess — except for restoring my kid’s user account. When I put in 10.6.4/Safari 5.0.2, it trashed my mail, because 10.6.4 has a new version of Mail (4.3), and it had to “update” my mail before I could use it. Spent a day rebuilding my mail setup last month.

    Then, I was out-of-town on business a couple of weeks ago, and got a report from home that “Safari’s giving the SBBOD a lot and Mail’s doing the same thing.” When I got back last week, within a day it ended up crashing on me completely, would not boot, just gray screen with Apple logo and spinning gear.

    Went through Hell (and back). Couldn’t run Repair Disc Permissions from the SL install disc (would hang). Agreed with AppleCare to try an OS reinstall (that would be my SECOND this summer). Being a nice guy and all, I said goodbye to AppleCare while SL was reinstalling, only to have the install hang. I gave up for the rest of the day. AppleCare was all set to schedule an in-store appointment for a suspected hardware problem, but I was in no hurry to do so after having been without the machine for five days just last month for a SuperDrive replacement…

    Also, I’ve switched to a Magic Mouse, and you can’t eject an optical disc WITHOUT A WIRED APPLE MOUSE. So, Target Mode for the iMac, used my trusty old PB G4 (running Tiger 10.4.11 PERFECTLY) to eject the disc from my iMac. Came back a day later and tried to reinstall SL again, this time, mysteriously, with success. Finally narrowed my problems down to precisely TWO APPLE APPS: SAFARI and MAIL. So, trash-canned Safari and reinstalled it off of a standalone install file. Safari now stable finally.

    What to do about Mail? It was now the only app that I couldn’t run without getting the SBBOD in both my admin and one user account. My only recourse: rebuild my admin Mail account and my second user account, which is how I spent most of Sunday and yesterday, after reinstalling the OS for the second time this summer, this time using the downloaded Combo Updater. I DO NOT recommend ever again letting Software Update perform an OS update, not a major app update like Safari 4 to 5.

    I’ve turned off Spaces for good. I’ve killed all SmartFolders in Mail. I’ve turned off “Check for New Mail Every 5 Minutes” and I’m checking for new mail manually. What a pleasure.

    Yes, I’m very sorry that I “upgraded” to 10.6. Leopard worked flawlessly on my iMac (native) from the get-go, last iteration 10.5.8. I would go back to it in an instant if I could, but even with TimeMachine it’s too much aggravation, especially after as much (otherwise free) time as I’ve spent with my iMac all summer, just trying to make it do what I bought a Mac for: to “just run.” Like my old PB running 10.4.11, and my iMac before SL…

  101. Here we go again: at 7:30 this morning my spouse told me that Mail would not load in her account, she was getting the SBBOD.

    So, we went barely one month and things got screwy again. OS X 10.6.4, same iMac, same components.

    I had to work this morning, but I took a shot at it before I left. She had a bunch of apps loaded (Word, Excel, Safari, Address Book, Grab, Text Edit, and I don’t know what else), but no app windows open except Safari. I tried Crtl-Tab and Command-Option-Esc, to no avail. Then, after a few minutes the brains seemed to get straightened out, and I could tell by the fact that the Ctrl-Tab window flashed and scrolled through all of the apps and the Force Quit window popped up and flashed repeatedly, too.

    Once it was stable, I closed all of the open apps and then loaded Mail; sent the one email out that she needed to go and was what started it all. Then, I logged out of the spouse’s account, closed the open apps in my daughter’s account and logged her out, and then logged out of my Admin account; rebooted but did not wait around to load an account, just put it to sleep. Went to work.

    Tonight my spouse told me that she couldn’t load her account at all (the kid was up on her account just fine). She said it gave her the log-in screen but wouldn’t load. When I tried it, it gave the log-in screen and then went to the blue screen, but after several minutes would revert to the log-in screen and not load her account.

    I ran Disk Utility: no help. I reinstalled 10.6.4 from the combo updater: no help. Finally, deleted her user account and restored it from the TimeMachine backup made this morning just before all the trouble began: that worked, with the fact that Mail had to update again to the “new” version bundled in 10.6.4.

    All’s fine again, but I’ve now reinstalled OS X three times (including today) since July, I’ve restored two standard user accounts since July, and I can’t seem to go more than a month without some aspect of the OS screwing up.

    For the record, I have Spaces turned off; Mail is set to manually check for new mail in all user accounts and all email accounts; I reboot every 1-3 days. When Snow Leopard is working, I like it, although the degree of insecurity reminds me of Windows — which is not why I switched to the Mac over 4 years ago…

    I’m sorry I every “upgraded” to Snow Leopard, as Leopard is native to this iteration of the iMac (7,1); I’d go back if I could…

  102. Have been using leopard happily on my macbook and then macbook pro 13″ ever since it came out, a couple of weeks ago i completely wiped my hardrive to do a clean out of my disk space and get things running nice and smooth or so I thought… stupidly I took this opportunity to upgrade to snow leopard and I have regretted it ever since. Up until now harddrive noise had been non existent but now my day is spent listening to my poor macbook pro churn away continuously doing god knows what, opening a new tab has become a major issue. continually losing the ability to use the corners and spaces function has killed me trying to write a masters thesis with multiple windows of documents open, something again I had never had a problem with. being a clean install and having these problems from day one i cant see how this problem is related to anything other than snow leopard itself

  103. If anyone who thinks Snow Leopard is flawless you’re welcome to buy my 18 month old Macbook for half the retail price. It had Leopard installed when I got it and worked fine. Snow Leopard has effectively turned it in to a horror show. Native apps are the worst, but it’s Finder that wreaks the most havoc. Impossible to keep a findewr window open – thats irf you manage to open one. Shocking. I’ve tried clean install and all the disk cleaning apps I’ve heard of, but it just gets worse. There’s an army of us on the Apple support pages – desperate for a fix. You’ll find us all moaning here: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2135129&tstart=0

  104. Well, the SL Saga continues…

    Put in 10.6.5 on Monday morning via the Combo Updater, not Software Update. Everything seemed fine in all three accounts. Went out-of-town for 30 hours, spouse and kid’s accounts working fine. I got on the iMac last night in my Admin account: Safari slow, SBBOD, klunky. Closed the other two accounts, closed my open apps (Mail, Safari, iCal), rebooted. Safari: same problems with slowness, SBBOD, klunky.

    This morning I moved the Safari cache to the desktop, moved Safari to the Trash, emptied it, then installed 5.0.2 from the standalone installer. Everything’s fine since…for the time being.

    Since 10.6.3, I can not update OS X without having some failure within days or weeks. I’ve gone through this now with 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5.

    Very frustrating.

  105. p.s. November 3rd I had to call AppleCare for Spotlight endlessly indexing after the last problem reported here on November 1. Nothing I could do would cause Spotlight to work again, so I resorted to AppleCare.

    Told the advisor that I was hopeful for a quick fix so that I could just get back to work, I didn’t want to mess around trying different things; surely Apple knows how to fix this problem.

    Well, we tried a few fixes, then I got disconnected on Apple’s end and I did not get a callback, despite both advisors I spoke with taking my phone number down (in all fairness, I have a device which causes computer telemarketer’s robo-dialers to disconnect when I answer the phone, and apparently Apple’s advisors make outgoing calls via some type of automated dialer, which seems to have disconnected the agent’s phone when I picked it up; we determined later that he did try to call but “got no answer.”

    Anyway, at around 1 pm I went ahead and used the sudo mdutil -E / Terminal command to clear the Spotlight cache and re-index it. Twenty minutes later it seemed to be working (kept estimating 28-38 minutes [fluctuating] but the thermometer bar was advancing). Eventually it finished and Spotlight has been functional again ever since.

    I got the Terminal commands from the Apple support site, myself. No one at AppleCare suggested it to me, and I even told two agents that I had all the Terminal commands in front of me but preferred to do it (clearing the Spotlight cache and restarting it) under their supervision, since I PAID FOR APPLECARE. Well, I ended up doing it myself and it worked and that fixed it.

    I did call AppleCare back and requested a Senior Advisor, to whom I complained that they’ve got to know that this is a known problem and the procedures to take to fix it. It should have been resolved on my first call by the method that I ended up employing myself.

    [PLEASE TAKE NOTE: one Senior Advisor told me, "...in the interests of full disclosure," that TimeMachine will not work without Spotlight working properly. This was not good news, as two days earlier TimeMachine saved me for the 2nd time recently where I had to restore either of two user accounts because they either became unstable or would not load at all. Be forewarned: if you are using TimeMachine make sure that Spotlight is working properly; the consequences could be painful if you have a problem and it's not working right.]

    IMO, as Apple is transforming into a consumer products company, their quality has suffered with their core product: Operating Systems. Lots of people have had trouble with Snow Leopard, and iOS 4.2 is now delayed because of issues with Wi-Fi — discovered on the eve of its release.

    I, for one, would much prefer that they not rush out any OS updates until they absolutely know that they are stable and glitch-free — as much as is possible given the complexity of the hardware and software implementations that we’re talking about here.

  106. I have the same fan issue. As I sit here typing this with just Outlook and Firefox running I have the fans whirring away. Nothing intensive being done, no webpage flash animations running etc. But the ever present sound of the fans going crazy.

    I’m also having to sit about 6ft from the wifi router these days, with every 10.6.x update I’ve found the ability of my laptop to pick up a signal has become worse and worse. I now have to sit in the same room as the router and only a few feet away. I used to be able to get a signal all over the house with 10.5.x (using the same hardware). My iPod touch can still get a signal all over the house, so the router isn’t the issue.
    The update to 10.6.5 has pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for usable wifi on my laptop. I live near a block of flats and with 10.5.x a list of about 15 wifi signals would appear. As soon as I upgraded to 10.6 it dropped to about 5 signals. With 10.5.6 I now see only my signal if I sit in the same room as the router. As soon as I go to the next room the signal disappears altogether.
    Also had the grey screen of death a few times with 10.6.x – total and immediate freezing of the computer. Press the power button to reset and do not pass go…

  107. the new i3 I mac with Snow Leopard is definitely running very hot and I am not even working on it yet my 2007 mac on Tiger is not even that hot and its running all the time ,both have the same apps I like to use and tiger looks better I find with the brushed silver look -Snow Leopard not an improvement and the Lion is coming out this summer…we will see

  108. Well, here’s the latest follow-up from me, having posted four times previously beginning in late September, 4 months ago.

    After experiencing more problems again right after New Year’s, specifically the SBBOD in all three user accounts making the iMac pretty-much unusable, I finally found the source(s) of the problems, and I must confess that I do not think that SL has been the problem. I’m passing this on so that others with issues can do some sleuthing of their systems and perhaps resolve some problems on their own, or lead themselves to a resolution.

    Fundamentally, AppleCare’s advice this time was the “standard” response, “Wipe the disk and reinstall the OS and your apps.” Well, that’s a last-resort/last-ditch effort for me. Here’s what I ended up doing, and what is so far now (and hopefully for a long time) a stable system:

    Having gone through running Repair Disk and Repair Disk Permissions from the installation disk (not from the hard drive) — and that having no positive effect — I stumbled upon Single-User Mode, with which you boot into Unix itself and bypass OS X (reboot and hold down Command-S). Once booted, you run this command: /sbin/fsck -fy. That fixed errors in the directory/disc structure — something that neither Repair Disk nor Repair Disk Permissions fixed. Once that completed, I was at least able to reboot into SL and all three accounts were finally usable again without encountering the constant SBBOD.

    I then ran Console and looked for “I/O error” and immediately found plenty of errors on my internal (boot) hard drive. This was a serious red flag. I then ran the Apple Hardware Test (AHT) from the install disc, and it failed immediately on one of my RAM sticks (2 X 2GB DDR2 667MHz). I confirmed it with Rember. Through trial and error I isolated the faulty chip and removed it from the system (I then began the RMA process with Corsair).

    An important note: I ran AHT this past summer when I was having issues, as I suspected faulty RAM: it passed even extended testing. I also downloaded and ran Rember, and it passed at the time, too. So, whatever hardware issues I was having were not showing up yet in the available diagnostics.

    I installed and ran TechTool Deluxe (which comes bundled with AppleCare), and encountered enough errors on the internal hard drive that I knew I had a problem.

    So, off to repair under AppleCare: my hard drive was replaced and upgraded, and the repair facility installed 10.6.6 for me. I also received the replacement RAM and installed it. I then spent the better part of two days restoring my system from a combination of fresh application installs and restored files (mostly preferences, data, documents and downloads) from both TimeMachine and a mostly-complete clone (failed due to hard drive errors) made before giving up the machine for the repair; I also restored both non-administrator User Accounts from their TimeMachine backups.

    So, my iMac is FINALLY running SL superbly. New RAM, new hard drive, fresh, clean OS install. Previously, my installation was migrated from my PowerBook G4 to Leopard 10.5, and upgraded to SL 10.6. Clearly, getting rid of a lot of PPC clutter has been good for the OS performance.

    Bottom line: if you’re having problems, I recommend, in this order:
    1. Repair Disk and Repair Disk Permissions from the install disc.
    2. Check Console logs for “I/O errors,” and if you encounter any, make sure that you have a complete disk backup.
    3. Run Single-User Mode and execute /sbin/fsck -fy and note whether or not it repairs any problems.
    4. Run AHT and/or Rember for memory issues.

    Seems my problems were most assuredly faulty-hardware related; fortunately, I caught it before the hard drive crashed for good.

    Good luck!

  109. Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck:


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