Housebreaking Tips for a Panther

Mac OS X PantherWith my girlfriend away all weekend in San Francisco, I figured that if I was going to make the somewhat reckless and potentially time-consuming decision to install Mac OS X Panther that I may as well do it while I had two good, solid days to myself. On Friday night I settled down after dinner and and set about preparing my system for the upgrade. First I did some research around the Web for tips on how best to avert any potential problems, which led me to pay for and download “Take Control of Upgrading to Panther” — a PDF-based ebook from TidBITS publishing that is an invaluable primer sold at the bargain price of US$5.

Following its excellent advice, I backed everything up to an external FireWire hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner, and proceeded to disable all of my login items and nearly all of my third party software add-ons like Default Folder X and WindowShade X. When that was done, I inserted the Panther CD-ROMs and ran an ‘Archive and Install,’ which gave me a fresh system while also verifying and repairing the hard disk itself.

These precautions were a bit extensive and probably required far more technical savvy than really should be necessary for a consumer operating system, but hey, that’s where we are in the history of usable software. The complexity of the process, though, doesn’t take away from the fact that this kind of methodical preparation works. I haven’t yet fully stress-tested Panther, but it thus far runs wonderfully and without a hitch on my aging Titanium PowerBook G4. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it at first, but the system is actually snappier than its predecessor, a happy consequence which squeezes at least a few more months of life out of this laptop for me.



  1. Although I don’t recommend it – don’t blame me! – I just archived and installed without doing any backups or turning anything off or anything like that – and Panther runs an absolute treat for me.

    It’s certainly killing the horrible 10.2.8, which made a mockery of my beautiful new dual 2ghz G5.

    Am looking forward to learning lots of nerdy new tips and tricks… what do you think of Expose, by the way? I’m LOVING it.

  2. The third party add-on called ‘Xounds’ causes the Finder in 10.3 to constantly restart and quit. Disable it; it doesn’t seem to be compatible.

  3. Virginia, Expose is really excellent and I’m very happy with it. It makes me wonder, though, why Apple doesn’t create a keyboard with special keys tied directly to their unique software features. An Expose button on the left side of my keyboard would be a killer — and cheap — home run. For that matter, a second Enter key on the left side of the keyboard would be a real hit too.

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