Mauled by a Leopard - Macenstein

Mauled by a Leopard

I was mauled by a Leopard yesterday, and while I somehow managed to survive his initial attack, he came back this morning to take another bite. Luckily I am a quick healer, so I am back to 90% health, but I urge anyone out there taking the Leopard upgrade for granted take a quick moment and listen to my tale.

The sad story

I admit I may have been lulled into a false sense of security by how smoothly my last four OS X updates went, and perhaps I should have been more prepared. In general, each previous OS install went off without a hitch, at most requiring one reboot to set everything straight and iron out any wonky behavior. However Leopard provided my first real problematic update, and hopefully someone out there will learn from my mistakes/experience (For the record, I did an Archive and Install installation, preserving user/network settings on a quad-core Mac Pro).

Problem #1: Adobe Creative Suite 2 stopped working.

After installing Leopard, the Bride of Macenstein asked me if I could make a quick chest plate for my son’s SoundWave Halloween Costume (yes, he’s the coolest 3-year-old ever). “Well, sure honey,” I said “Just let me fire up the ol’ Photoshop and..” Photoshop refused to open, telling me I had now exceeded the maximum number of license activations on my serial number.

Wow. That took me by surprise. I had no idea an OS update required an CS3 deactivation first. If you look at the Photoshop> Help>Transfer Activation screen, it tells you “This will allow you to activate Adobe Creative Suite on another computer.” I have used this before when actually transferring the license to another machine, but have never had a problem with the Adobe products (or the Macromedia products before them) with a simple OS upgrade.

I thought I would be screwed, as all my serial number info was at the Lab, but I was able to call into Adobe tech support (on a Saturday, no less!), and eventually get an operator to help me. That process could have gone smoother as well, as after I convinced the woman to give me a new code, my computer froze while entering it. I’m not sure if this was due to Leopard or Photoshop or just a fluke, but it made the process take another 20 minutes, and I thank the woman at Adobe for being so patient.

For the record, I have heard from some CS3 users that they had no problem upgrading, so perhaps it was CS2-specific problem, or simply a me-specific problem, but just to play it safe it might not be a bad idea in any case to de-activate your Adobe Suite before upgrading.

Problem 2: The Leopard ate my Keychain

[Update: Looks like this one has happened to other people. Apple has now (unfortunately a day late for me) released a patch.]

Out of the 3 biggest problems Leopard has thus far caused me, this one hurt the most. What I mostly blame here is my finally breaking down and trying out the .Mac service (after my rant about how .Mac should be free, it should come as no surprise that I really wanted to use it badly). I saw Apple still offers a free 60-day trial of the service, and since both iLife and Leopard sport some pretty cool .Mac-specific features, I figured I would give it a test drive.

Unfortunately, upon signing up, I was told that my Keychain file could not be found, and I was asked if I want to re-create it. Hmm.. that’s odd I thought. I had already successfully checked my e-mail without having to re-enter passwords, so I thought the file was fine. A quick check of Mail however, and I was immediately prompted for all 7 of my e-mail passwords (both incoming and outgoing).

As the Comic Book Guy might say, there was no emoticon for what I was feeling. I did a quick secondary check of a couple sites, and yes, my usernames and passwords were blown away. I went ahead and told .Mac it could recreate the Keychain, and then signed up for .Mac’s trial.

One of the biggest problems this is going to cause me down the road will be when past clients begin calling me to make changes to their websites. I have over 50 or so ftp shortcuts stored in Fetch, and while I was able to import them from backups (yes, I do back up some stuff), the passwords are toast, so I am going to have to try to track them all down. I’m sure this should be a lesson to be more organized and not rely on the all-mighty Keychain, but I have a feeling this is a mistake I am doomed to repeat. I suppose I may or may not be able to blame this one directly on Leopard, as the .Mac registration apparently played a role, but it certainly had coincidental timing.

I point this out as just one more thing to be wary of, as I am not exactly sure what to suggest someone could do to avoid this from happening to them. I attempted to load my Keychain files from my Previous System folder, but Keychain told me there was an error reading the data, so no idea what happened there. Oh well, live and (hopefully) learn.

Problem #3: Final Cut Studio 2 wanted my Serial Number again

The common thread here between these 3 problems seems to be with how various passwords and registrations are handled in OS X and how they are handled during an OS migration. Unfortunately, this problem did require I make the trip out the The Lab to get the serial number, so this was the most labor-intensive of issues I have run into, and of course, the most time sensitive as I had a small rush video edit job pop up. If I had known about it just a few hours earlier, I may have been able to resist Leopard’s sweet siren song and put off the update, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

What have we learned?

So, the lesson here is of course, really, really for serious really make a good backup before doing an OS upgrade. I’m actually not sure what good, if any, it would have done in my case, as my OLD Keychain files were in the Previous System folder (yet unreadable), but the point is after four trouble-free OS X updates, it appears my luck was simply bound to run out at some point. The scary thing here is, I honestly haven’t had all that much time to play with Leopard yet, and have only launched a handful of my applications. I see apps such as Toast, MigliaTV, Particle Illusion and Maya staring at me from the dock, all waiting to play the “Will it or won’t it?” game (I am particularly scared of Maya, as anyone who has dealt with their licensing scheme can imagine). I could have a nasty surprise waiting for me.

Whose fault is it?

So, was I innocently mauled by a Leopard, or did I go to the zoo wearing steak sauce aftershave and poke the big cat with a stick? I’m going with the former here, A) because it helps me keep my excellent opinion of myself, and b) because my only crime here was not having every username, password and serial number written down in an easily accessible place. I’m not sure I should have known about the Adobe licensing thing, I think Leopard or the .Mac registration process put the whammy on my Keychain, and I think the migration to Leopard deleted Apple’s own Final Cut Studio info from my drives.

I have not seen rampant reports of similar experiences yet (although, as I said, I haven’t had all that much time to cruise the forums) so I could be in a very small minority experiencing these problems, but hopefully, the one or two of you out there who were able to wait a day to install Leopard may be able to better protect yourselves from the pitfalls I experienced.

FYI, Toast opened fine.


11 Responses to “Mauled by a Leopard”
  1. Jason Philo says:

    Adobe in general is wonky anytime you do anything with installing/re-installing an OS.

    A backup should always be done before an OS upgrades. I’m surprised Doctor! Final Cut—I would guess the same thing although I have no personal experience with it.

    Ultimately, clean installs are the way to go when you’re doing an upgrade. None of these problems were from Leopard—I was expecting you to have legitimate OS complaints. I’ll give the benefit on the Keychain issue, but everything else sounds like operator error. Sounds like a glamorous title just to get readers. You didn’t get bitten by a Leopard, you just woke up on the wrong side of the cave.

  2. Darcy Reynard says:

    I also had the little Keychain episode but I was able to recover mine through Keychain First Aid. It was brown trousers time before then ’cause I have a lot of passwords in there that I cannot remember.

  3. Kurt says:

    I have CS3 and also had no problem. However, I did have to re-enter my serial number when I fired up Aperture so maybe some Apple aps went a bit squirrely. Once I re-entered my SN, it was fine.

  4. Jordan says:

    I wrote about the keychain issue


    Pretty tricky stuff. But Apple provides a very nice tool to manage it.

  5. Mark says:

    Wait, so was it CS3 or CS2 that had the issue? I’m just double-checking as I’m looking to upgrade my MBP and have CS2 so avoiding any issues and hopefully running it fine would definitely ensure a speedy install of Leopard.

  6. Mitch says:

    Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper to clone your hard drive is highly recommended – on a regular basis and definitely before OS updates / upgrades.

    Might I suggest checking out 1Password – it is an awesome password manager.

  7. Rogier says:

    Hmmm if you own a Mac Pro Quad core, why didn’t you just pop in a new clean drive and put the current drive with the app’s in an other bay.
    Do a clean install on the new drive and either drag & drop your user folder.
    Or use the migration assistant.

    As for Adobe, non of their products are currently Leopard ready according to their spec’s…

  8. Rogier,

    Thanks for reading Macenstein!

    Your suggestion is a great one. Unfortunately, my copy of Leopard didn’t include an extra hard drive.


    Actually, I have all 4 bas filled with 500 GB drives already, so there really wasn’t room to add a new one.

    -The Doc

  9. Flying Phil says:

    If you did an Archive and Install, the installation didn’t copy all the info from the proapps folder. Motion will crash and all the other final cut studio apps will ask for the sn#. Just locate the old files in the proapps folder and copy into the new proapp folder and everything will work as before.

  10. A quick update, if anyone cares.
    I found an old system folder backup I did about 5 months ago, and was able to copy that Keychain into my Users>library>Keychains folder.
    After a reboot, it showed up.
    In KeyChain Access, I selected KeyChain repair, which felt it needed to repair the old keychain.

    I now seem to have back a good percentage of my fetch passwords, so I am less screwed now.

  11. Excellent! Congrats on finding some of your old passwords.

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