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A Weekend Date With X - Part I - Introductions

A Weekend Date With X - Part I - Introductions

by , 8:30 AM EST, March 29th, 2001

Like many other Observers, we were anxiously waiting for the FedEx guy to stop by this past Saturday with our shiny new copy of Mac OS X 10.0. When it arrived in the late morning, we got right down to installing it and kicking the tires. After spending the weekend with it, we came away with a favorable impression, and wanted to share some of the ups and downs of the experience.


Since we make a regular backup of our important data (you do make backups, don't you?) the only thing we felt was absolutely necessary was to make a backup of the System Folder on the machines in question. This is because no matter where you install OS X, it will make modifications to your OS 9.1 System Folder if you plan on using the Classic environment to run OS 9.1 applications.

OS X can be placed on the same volume as OS 9, put on another partition, or even on a separate drive. Not wanting to be too brave on our first try, we put OS X on its own SCSI drive, connected to the SCSI card that came with our G4. Once we were comfortable with this setup, we then installed OS X on the same drive as OS 9.1 on our PowerBook. One side effect of this installation is that you will have folders for both OS 9.1 and X on the same drive.

Before the installs, we made sure all our software was up-to-date. At the very least, your Startup Disk control panel should be at least version 9.2. You may have done this via Software Update, which provides version 9.2.1, or you can get 9.2 from the OS X CD. But be sure to avoid the Firmware Update from Hell. Although not required, it was offered via Software Update on Friday. It had features that sounded useful for OS X, but has the nasty side effect of disabling some non-Apple RAM, or not recognizing RAM with problems, depending on which version of the story turns out to be true.


The installation went about as smoothly as one could expect (see our stills from installing OS X), especially for an operating system of this complexity. You just insert the OS X CD, run the installer, and your machine will reboot and (hopefully) boot from the CD and start the installer. The lengthy README contains all sorts of tips, including (ironically) the suggestion to apply any firmware updates, on the CD or otherwise. It also mentions system requirements of 128 MB RAM and 1.5 GB of disk space.

The installer then asks where you'd like to put OS X. We were never a fan of partitioning, but fortunately, the install worked on a separate drive (for our G4 install) and on the same drive as OS 9 (for our PowerBook install). This author recommends you only partition if you don't have an extra drive, or enough space on your OS 9 drive. A nice touch is that if you do choose to format a drive with the installer, as we did with our separate SCSI drive, you'll be asked to confirm the operation. This keeps you from accidentally erasing a drive.

After selecting the installation type (we can't think of any reason not to go with the Easy Install or basic installation) you are off and running. You'll see the progress of the install, complete with a nifty animated progress bar. It took about 15 minutes to complete the installation. At this point, you're ready to customize your setup.

Initial Setup

After the install is complete and your machine is rebooted, you'll shortly be presented with a nifty Welcome animation. Then to some questions, most of which you'll be able to answer. Your country and keyboard layout should be easy. You are then asked for some personal information, which will be sent to Apple to register OS X. Next is the Internet setup, which can be tricky, so be sure to record your networking "magic numbers" before you get to this point. After a few more questions (mail, time zone, date and time) you can click on the Done button, and begin your OS X adventure! One nice touch is that if you have an iTools account, your mail and iDisk should be accessible after completing the installation.

Coming tomorrow, in Part II, we'll get to know Mac OS X a little better...

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