OS X update crashed my MacBook Pro


Rotten_appleSheesh.  Just when I got my MacBook Pro fixed and running well with a brand new logic board along comes Apple and the OS X update released today that bricked the MBP.  Yep, I was running fine and dandy and feeling good about everything on the MacBook Pro and the software update trashed it.  It downloaded and installed fine, indicated it was "patching files", and then never would boot up again.  Every time it tried to boot up I’d get the desktop background and the Dock and then error boxes.  One indicated that "SystemUIServer" stopped unexpectedly, followed by one that said the Dock stopped and then finally one that said Spotlight stopped.  The system was totally unusable each time and even Safe Boot failed the same way.  This indicated to me that the software update patched system files improperly since it wouldn’t even safe boot.

Right now I am doing a clean reinstall of Leopard and once I’m sure that is running fine I’ll restore my new Time Machine backup.  With a bit of luck I’ll be right back where I was prior to the software update this afternoon.  Then I will be wondering if I should try updating it again…

UPDATE: In just 30 minutes I had installed Leopard and restored my Time Machine backup and my system is now back like it was just prior to the software update.  I think I’ll wait a few days for that to see if others start chiming in with problems.  :)



James- I think you’ve caught the same Apple curse as me…
This update went just fine with me, but my Apple gear has given me a lot of headaches lately.

Gregory Jordan

I just installed it and was wondering what was going on. The system restarted twice then the screen and keyboard kept dimming… I’d raise them up and they’d dim again… and the hard drive kept spinning and spinning. All seems ok now though. But can I say YIKES!!!

Allan Pedersen

You really fight to keep this apple crap running…


jk, using “bricking” is misleading. To brick an electronic device is to ruin the firmware or other part of the device disabling it to boot up properly at all. What you did is damamged your operating system infrastructure.

Its bloody hard to brick a mac unless you upgrade the firmware with hacked firmware.

Brian Lewis

No problems installing on either the MBP or the wife’s MB. An aside, when you mentioned you installed Leopard and restored from time machine, did you do that in two steps? You can forego the first step and just restore from time machine.


Upgraded by 10.5.2 MBP the moment the update hit the streets. Two restarts and everything is just fine.


Do visit Macfixit.com and read their common sense suggestions for preparing for Mac major updates such as this one. They have evolved the rather complex procedure based on the past seven years of Mac OSX updates and know of what they speak.


I have updated a Macbook 2.4, MBP 2.16.

I downloaded the Combo Installer; 537 meg.

Installed over 1.6 gig; or took over 1.6 gig.
No problems. Reboots twice and up and running.

My wives IMac; 20″; is next as soon as solitaire is finished.

I would really recommend using the Combo updater. It has always been solid for me.

Georges Pelpel

Updated my MacBook Pro and Intel MacMini without a problems.
Both computers went through the same process: Start update, Ask for Restart, regular Re-Boot activity up to blue screen, Beep, Automatic second Re-Boot, and all was fine.


“it just works” != “it always works”

The first phrase is about usability; the second about stability.

The first phrase is speaking of past experience; the second about future expectation.

The first phrase is an achievable goal; the second an impossible one.

Mac users speak the first one, Windows users hear the second – and scoff.


I just updated my MacBook… no problemo! My laptop though is a secondary machine with only limited apps loaded. My wifes ne iMac is next.


situations like these are why i keep my personal files on a separate partition from the system files.

that and backups are good ways to avoid data loss from experiences like these.

Dave Zatz

Could have tried PRAM and SMC resets before complete wipe. 30 minutes is quick – is that a USB drive or Firewire? Do you not have much on the Mac? My restore yesterday took well over an hour – though I have plenty of tunes, videos, and a few virtual machines.

Gavin Miller

@Mike Cane. One good feature of Vista over XP is its backup centre. It’s very good indeed and I have turned off system restore and just use this.


Update went smoothly on my MacPro 2.8 (Early 2008)…can’t tell any difference, really…

Rick Huizinga

@mikecane: With Windows Home Server, you would have been able to do the same kind of restore. Its already saved me a couple of times…

Mike Cane

Ouch. Glad you got it back.

What to know: If this had happened with a Vista update, would you have been able to do the same kind of restore?

(Hey, what do I know! I’m cursing the hell out of the XP SP3 for slowing my system to just about brain-dead speed at times!!! In that respect, it’s been worse than SP2 was for me.)


My MacBook Air is working fine post update… I have not tried it on my Mac mini yet!

Will Ginn

James, you are “snake bit” with your MBP!
For a system/hardware known for it’s ease of use, yours has not been of late.

Peter Norman


Some advice to consider: When the clean install of Leopard is finished, apply the 10.5.3 update right away.

That is, use Software Update to update your Mac completely to 10.5.3 before restoring anything from your Time Machine backup or installing any other software – while you have a clean new install with as few variables as possible at play.

This way, you’ll clearly establish whether or not your Mac has issues with the 10.5.3 update.

If you have problems updating to 10.5.3 from the clean install, then you won’t have gone thru your restore from the Time machine backup for nothing; if you do not have trouble, then clearly there was something about your install of 10.5.2 that contributed to the failed 10.5.3 update.

This is the way I would proceed – simply because I like to keep things, well, simple! Ha! Doing a clean install of Leopard, restoring from Time Machine’s backup and then applying the 10.5.3 update will put too many variables into play when attempting to diagnose why the 10.5.3 update is failing.

Otherwise you could be at this all night. And well…night-time is for sleeping!

All the best!


Lots of tough luck with Mac, James. Hope the time machine works well. (Maybe creating an image file of your hard drive would be a better option.)

James Kendrick

Jose, I let the update reboot itself and it never came back up working. To Apple’s credit, it did a clean install and restore from my Time Machine backup and in about 30 minutes I was back exactly where I was when the update was made.

Gavin Miller

You’d think Microsoft could get this right, I mean, do they push out these things untested!!!! Hang on, let me read that post again….

Actually I miss ‘Guru Meditation’.


Seems like someone around here made a post a few days ago about how it was only the hardware that you were having a problem with as far as the mac goes. Never the software.

Looks like you jinxed yourself. ;-)


James, did you wait long enough? My MacBook took not less than 10 minutes to start up again but now it’s working fine


I’m amazed you jumped the first day it came out. A lot of apple fans jump as soon as an update is out. I’ve never had a problem with any mac updates, but I still wait a few days to install just to see if problems arise. Live and learn.

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