Sunday, 8 November 2009

Day 1 with Snow Leopard

Let me start by saying that I'm a fan of clean installs, so don't expect to find any information about upgrading issues here.

So, what you'll find here is a summary of how I've set up Snow Leopard from scratch.

Make Leopard boot in 64 bit mode
For selected Macs models only*, you can enable this. By default, all Macs except Xserves (server machines) boot in 32 bit mode.

*Which models?
Open the Terminal and type the following:
ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi
If you get the following output, you're all set to go. Otherwise, skip this section.
| | "firmware-abi" = <"EFI64">
OK, you're happy. You got the EFI64 message (that means your Extensible Firmware Interface is 64 bit) and (still inside the Terminal, type:
sudo nano /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist
Type in your password when asked. A handy text editor will open a configuration file. Carefully, change it so it looks like this:
Kernel
mach_kernel
Kernel Flags
arch=x86_64
So, the idea is to insert the line
arch=x86_64
Right after the "Kernel Flags" section. Press control and X simultaneously, then Y, then return. Now we're done. Restart, then open the Terminal again, and type:
uname -a
If you get something like the following, the magic worked! Congrats!
Darwin xxxxxxx 10.1.2 Darwin Kernel Version 10.1.2: Wed Sep 9 23:09:02 PDT 2009; root:xnu-1486.1.8~1/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64

2D Dock
Yes, we'll be using the Terminal utility again. Open it, and type
defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES
killall Dock
To set the Dock to a 2D look, or
defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean NO
killall Dock
To (re)set it to the 3D glassy look. I prefer 2D myself because it's easier to see which apps are open (the little dot).

Install MS Office 2008 without Rosetta
Rosetta provide PowerPC support for Intel Macs, and is not installed by default in Snow Leopard. I find a waste of space and time to install it, so... Guess what! Terminal again. I open it at login, as you may guess.

Obviously, you need to insert the MS Office 2008 DVD into your Mac's optical drive. After that, type inside the Terminal the following:
sudo installer -package /Volumes/Microsoft\ Office\ 2008/Office\ Installer.mpkg/ -target /
Type in your password, and wait. Wait! It takes a while, even on your shiny new Snow Leopard Mac or your recently upgraded system. You will get the familiar prompt back once the installation is done. No nags, no questions asked, just an old fashioned, straightforward install.

Don't run anything yet. First, download and install all available updates first. Just go to http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.mspx to fetch them, then install them.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0
Nothing. You don't have to do anything. It's one of my favourite applications... I would recommend you, however, to run the Adobe Updater before you run any Adobe application. In the case of a default Elements 6.0 installation, you can find it in
Applications > Utilities > Adobe Utilities > Adobe Updater
or similar. Sometimes there's a number after updater showing the version of the utility (i.e. 4, 5)

Best luck and enjoy your Mac!

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