OS X 10.5.7 update: unsafe at any speed

Update: see OS X 10.5.7 overheats some Macs.

Apple’s OS X 10.5.7 update is dangerously unpredictable. Although many Mac users have updated without incident, many others have had nothing but trouble. Friends’ problems range from dead hard drives to frazzled MacBooks to freezes and beyond. In my case, the update destabilized both my home and office iMacs and the backup drives attached to them. Symptoms include:

  • Multiple applications freeze inexplicably. Force-quitting does not work. The only way to move forward is to hold the power button for several seconds until the machine is forced to shut down.
  • The Finder quits mysteriously and cannot restart.
  • In normal mode, restarts time out (forcing you to hold the power button and pray no data was damaged or lost).
  • In safe mode, restarts freeze (forcing you to hold the power button and pray no data was damaged or lost).
  • The machines cannot communicate reliably with attached hard drives. (Backups fail in mid-activity. Attached hard drives disconnect themselves. Attached hard drives cannot be unmounted for repairs. And so on.)
  • Lower-case letters replace capital letters when pasting copied text from one application to another. Yes, really.

These problems affected two iMacs and three connected hard drives by various manufacturers in two locations on separate networks. The only connecting thread is the OS X update.

Friends and readers have recommended various familiar techniques to “fix” the problem, but none of them have worked for me. The proposed fixes include:

Shut down everything. Disconnect printers, remove drives, iPod docks, and so on, from the iMac. Restart the iMac.
If a remote device or connection were at fault, this would reveal it. No such luck.
Restart in single Mode (hold down Control-S), type “fsck – fy” at the command line, and type “reboot” after repairs.
This is readily doable, but fixes nothing. There is nothing to repair. The computer in Single Mode indicates that the hard drive is fine.
Reboot from the install disks, run Disk Utility, and repair the internal hard drive.
Same deal: there is nothing to repair. The internal hard drive is fine, according to Disk Utility.
Run Disk Utility on attached back-up drives, and hit “Repair” until the attached drives are fixed.
There is nothing to repair on attached back-up drives, either (even though they fail). When it isn’t failing to operate because “it is impossible to unmount the drive,” Disk Utility reports that attached back-up drives are fully operational. Although Disk Utility finds nothing wrong with attached drives, they fail mid-way through back-up; thus it is impossible to back up work or home Macs, making it likely that I will lose work or data. Symptoms affect all attached drives, regardless of manufacturer and model.
Restart in Safe Mode and run the Combination Installer.
I’ve done that, too; it does not fix the problem. The update is either unstable in itself, or incompatible with the Mac’s own hardware (or with some very common third-party system addition).

And lots more stuff.

Twitter and the Apple forums contain the complaints of users whose computers have gone blooey after installing the update. Apple, of course, does not respond to these complaints.

At the moment, my options are:

  1. Put up with the freezes and quitting and the inability to back up my work, and trust that Apple will issue a system update soon that returns stability to my machines, and that I won’t lose work or data in the meantime. Or…
  2. Reinstall the original operating system from any installation disk. Run the combo updater. Test for two days to see if the system operates. Connect printers and backup drives. Test for two more days to see if all is well. Then painstakingly reinstall Photoshop, Illustrator, Office, and so on.

With one option, I’m continually frustrated and risk losing my work. With the other option, I lose four or five days reinstalling and testing operating systems, updates, and software.

I choose Apple’s products because they are elegant in every aspect of their design—especially the design of the user experience. Screw-ups like this update are the antithesis of the normal Apple user experience. While no one deliberately decided to make an unusable update, and while probably no one will die as a result, it’s still a very frustrating situation.

87 thoughts on “OS X 10.5.7 update: unsafe at any speed

  1. I’ve held off on the 10.5.7 update in part because of stories like yours. That said, on 10.5.6, and perhaps earlier, I have a FireWire drive that elicits, on occasion, your first four symptoms. App by app my system would become slower and slower with more and more freezes. I’d think, “time to reboot,” start shutting apps down and saving work/data, but no app could close, because they couldn’t write to the MacBook’s internal hard drive.

    I’d finally throw my hands up and hold down the power button and be stuck on the gray screen until…I disconnected the FireWire drive.

    I’ve stopped using the drive.

    It’s obvious that your situation and experience across multiple machines shows the cause to be deeper than just 1 particular attached drive. Just pointing out that it sounds like a similar case of sudden inability to write to disk, with all those mentioned apps likely needing virtual memory at some point in time.

    And I do think Apple needs to recruit you to QA. You seem to have a knack for their updates landing on your machines like a ton of bricks.

  2. Great Post. I’m glad someone is making some noise about this. I was able to upgrade a couple of mac minis without a problem, and with that, I decided to update my main Mac Pro. It froze after about an hour of use, and required frequent hard resets. I finally solved the issue by repairing disk permissions on all my drives. This seemed to get things going again, and I’ve had no issues since.

    I’ll definitely be a little slower to adopt next time.

  3. Interesting. I never considered that it might be an Apple update that caused the brand new hard drive I just installed to fail catastrophically. I ended up buying a new machine (in fairness, I was in the market anyway) because I don’t have the time it would take to gamble on finding a way to fix/replace the drive.

    I’ll be interested to know whether this turns out to be _their_ problem.

  4. Hi Jeffrey

    The recent update seems to have adversely affected the internal heat management of some iMacs. Over-heating leads to ‘bad things'(TM) happening which can then snowball into all sorts of problems like those above. For me, I’ve resorted to a combo of smcFanControl to tweak my iMac’s fan settings, with iStat menus to keep an eye on the temperatures of the CPU, GPU, and hard drive.

    This has made a huge difference in the stability of my own iMac. YMMV. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to run Apple’s Hardware Test on the RAM, since RAM can start ‘misbehaving’ after a system update, after overheating, or just because you looked at it the wrong way.

    Good luck

  5. Yes, it is all too easy to be complacent as a Mac user. Most of the time things work as expected, which is why when they do go wrong, it seems to hurt even worse.

    Hope Apple issue a fix real soon.

  6. I knew something smelled funny when Software Update opened, tried to load the OS X update, and promptly froze & then crashed. I’ll wait a few weeks, hoping they patch this.

    Apple’s last Airport Extreme update was also pretty buggy. Seems like quality control is getting a bit lax in Cupertino…

  7. You wouldn’t happen to be using the iDisk Sync would you? The reason I ask is that I have had very similar problems as you describe and once I disabled iDisk Sync, everything returned to normal. But I discovered it late and went through the steps you’ve already taken. I was lost for an answer and then I looked at the Console. D’oh.

    FWIW, my problems like yours happened when I installed Leopard. Not just 10.5.7. I haven’t had any issues with 7 but I haven’t auto-synced my iDisk since I discovered that it was being a jerk.

  8. “Screw-ups like this update are the antithesis of the normal Apple user experience. ”

    I couldn’t agree more. Even in the Windows world, desktop admins have to wait for the Windows patches to clear the QA depts. in the central I.T. offices before they ever let any desktops see the updates. It’s gotten that bad it seems.

    This doesn’t address your immediate problem, but QA seems to be the business we are all in these days. I just read today on MacFixit.com that SuperDuper allows you to make a fully bootable clone of your Hard Drive. One side benefit of the Disk Clone is to boot into the Disk Clone, with the stable version of Mac OS X, run the update reboot the Disk Clone with the update and see what happens. If all is okay, go ahead and boot up on your internal HDD and THEN run the update. This is effectively the approach done on Windows machines when they get the monthly updates from Microsoft.

  9. I am new to Mac and when OS X prompted me about the 10.5.7 update, I did it without thinking much trusting Apple’s glorious reputation. Even though nothing frustrating has happened to my apps and devices, your post is an eye-opener and a reminder that there is no need to rush to update your OS as soon as they offer. It’s rather wise to wait it out and see what the community has to say.

    Sorry about your problems, hopefully Apple will release 10.5.8 soon to take care of these embarrassing mishaps.

  10. After updating my MB Pro to 10.5.7, the first reboot sent me to a blank/black screen. Apple Care phone support rep had me zap the pram and then unplug and remove the battery. That fixed it.

    Sometimes the computer goes to indefinite sleep and I have to turn the thing off and reboot.


  11. I have no idea why you continue to update your Apple products in any way. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve read here: “updated my ___ to ___ today and now ___ won’t ___, the ___ is ___ing, and the entire ___ has collapsed, making this whole process very ___ and totally ___ me ___.”

    Feel free to use that template for 10.5.8, by the way!

  12. I ride heard on a production site with 25 workstations. MOST of the time, Apple updates are helpful or, at worst, benign. There was the great Font-update horror of 10.4.7 but that got straightened out with some hammering.

    This one sounds like it could be a real bitch. Fortunately most of our folks are still on 10.4.11.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  13. Our Mac IT guy told me this, and this guy may know more about mac’s then anyone outside of Cupertino.

    I’m running 10.5.7 without any issue on my office iMac and MacBook Pro. There are always going to be users complaining online concerning incremental OS upgrades. The safest course of action is to wait a few weeks after the initial release of the update, which is already past, and install the combo update from the Apple website and NOT the update from the Software Update list. After the combo update is complete, running a permissions repair using Disk Utility is recommend.


    *Maybe you can try reinstalling the update from the Apple site.

  14. Option 3:

    Surely your time is worth more than the cost of a new computer. Go to the Apple store, buy a new Mac with ProCare, and have a Genius set it up for you with all your software installed.

    Drop off your misbehaving computer for warranty service. When it’s fixed, sell it to recover some of the cost of buying the new machine.

    Next, get an extra couple of backup disks and rotate through them weekly with something like SuperDuper. That way you’ll always have something bootable to fall back on if something like this happens again. Use something like Time Machine for backing up your data, so that even if you have to boot off of a two week old SuperDuper clone, you can pull your most recent work from Time Machine.

    Finally, accept the fact that computers are monstrously complex systems and that sometimes they don’t work as expected. The steps I’ve described above are appropriate measures for protecting the average home user. For your business, it’s probably worth hiring an IT person to take care of these things for you.

    Your “unsafe at any speed” reference is certainly apt: there are many ways for people to get hurt when computers crash, and there is not enough warning about the various risk factors. It’s about time the industry starting including seatbelts. Apple’s Time Machine is only one baby step towards a workable solution.

  15. Thank God I am not a programmer who has to write updates. The pressure of targeting a plethora of unpredictable computing environments would kill me.

  16. Echoing Robert above, and speaking as someone who used to repair Macs in an earlier life, it would be worth checking to see if you have any non-Apple branded RAM upgrades. It wouldn’t be the first time I have heard of 3rd party RAM crashing the party.

  17. Bryan: I only use Apple RAM, installed by Apple.

    Ryan: That sounds like good advice. Note that I did use the Combo installer and did repair permissions afterward with Disk Utility (on both machines).

    Robert: Interesting info! I had not heard of smcFanControl before. I’m kind of scared to run it.

    Brandt: Re: Option 3 is ballsy and radical. If I had a safe backup, I might consider doing it. But since the update breaks backups in mid-, er, backup, I don’t have a safe, complete, up-to-date backup from which to pull my data if I were to buy a new machine. Still. I like the bold cut of your jib. I have another Happy Cog iMac here standing vacant (from a fellow no longer works here). It hasn’t been updated. It might be worth transferring my data to that machine — then bringing this machine in for service.

    Then again, the next update may fix all of this.

  18. Robert: I downloaded smcFanControl.

    it will not run on my iMac.

    Double-clicking produces no result. The app never loads.

    That sounds bad, doesn’t it?

  19. I had the same reaction the first time I ran smcFanControl, but it’s a menu item (i.e. a daemon process runs in the background) so the only thing you’ll see from double-clicking it is an item in the menu bar that’s basically a temperature reading. Selecting that drops down a menu which gives you access to smcFanControl’s features. Of course, the alternative is that it just didn’t work.

    You are my eyes Jeffrey… what do you see?


  20. Wow. Isn’t it a strange sort of irony?

    My dad has always warned me to set a restore point on my system before installing updates. I’ve got Windows XP, and updates have never given me a problem, but your experience tells me that it really can happen to anyone.

  21. Robert: Aha! Thanks!

    It’s installed. But it’s not at all clear what to do with it. Which slider should I move to the right? ODD? HDD? CPU? All three? How far to the right should I move them? The software “has not been tested” for my iMac.

  22. Hi Jeffrey

    Okay, the way to think of it is: you’re taking a sophisticated, modern, fully-automated system, and switching it to manual. Well, not quite.

    smcFanControl sets a *minimum* fan speed threshold, but the iMac is free to spin the fans at a higher speed if it deems that necessary. I currently have my own CPU @ >1500 RPM, HDD @ > 1800 RPM. That was enough to take the temp of the CPU from over 125F down to 90F, which seems a bit more reasonable. Now, bear in mind, where I am it’s winter, so the ambient air temp is low here. Yours is presumably higher.

    How did I come by those figures? First by Googling to see what others were doing, and then adjusting by trial and error until I had acceptable numbers with the minimum thresholds. You want to set the fans thresholds as low as possible (minimal noise, and wear and tear on the fans), but high enough so that the machine’s CPU, GPU and HDD don’t run hot (i.e. not much above ~100F)

    As I mentioned above, I’ve also installed the excellent iStat Menus so I can keep a close eye on the CPU and HD temps. But, if everything says you’re running cool anyway, perhaps the problem lies elsewhere. (Cough, RAM, cough)

    Good luck

  23. Hi Jeffrey

    The way to think of it is this: you’re taking a modern, sophisticated, fully-automatic system, and switching it to manual. Well, not quite.

    smcFanControl adjusts the minimum speed threshold that the internal fans operate at, but the iMac is free to spin them faster if it deems that necessary. In my case, my CPU and GPU were running at 125F and the system became unstable. I now have smcFanControl set at 1500 RPM for the CPU and 1800 for the HDD (I don’t bother with the ODD. It’s at 700), and that’s brought my CPU and GPU down to ~90F, which is a bit more sedate.

    I got those number by first Googling to see what others were using, and then adjusting them until I found the lower fan threshold at which the machine still ran cool, and then bumping the numbers up a notch. It’s a balance between not running the fans too high (i.e. noise, and wear and tear), and not running the insides of the iMac too hot (i.e. CPU and GPU not much above 100F)

    Now, bear in mind that where I am it’s winter now, so the ambient air temp is quite low. Yours is presumably quite higher, and that’s a factor that effects how efficient the fans are. As I mentioned above, I’ve started using the excellent iStat Menu to keep close tabs on what’s happening temperature-wise inside my iMac. Yes, manually over-riding the fan settings is a bit of a drag, however, stopping the crashes and freezes has been a sanity-saver for me.

    But, if everything indicates that you’re already running cool, then I guess your stability problems lie elsewhere (Cough, RAM, cough!)

    Good luck

  24. I caught my iMac wanting to update this morning, stopped it though, I think I will skip the 10.5.7 update as from reading this article its just not worth the risk when everything is running so smoothly. Hmm lets see how it pan out if there is another update soon to help relieve some of the problems. Hope things get sorted for you soon Jeff for Im feeling your pain : )

  25. mmm, a friend just handed me her ibook which has the same infection, no matter what I try has resulted in a startup. I get as for as a 1970’s folder icon with both the OS logo and ? blinking. This cookie is seriously lost!
    Resets of firmware/PRAM won’t resolve the issue, attempt to startup from an external disk results in the Panic Button Screen.

    Nearest Genius Bar is 3.5 hours from our studio, which will inevitably end up with a clean install, so anyone who has a stroke of their genius… bring it on!!

  26. I haven’t had a problem with this update on my 1.6Ghz PowerMac G5.

    However, you undoubtably have different hardware. The similarities in the hardware of machines having trouble with this update may hold the key to the cause of these problems–maybe.

    It may be time to boot from your 10.5 DVD and do an Archive and Install of the OS. (You should backup first, of course, but you already did that, I’m sure…) After booting from the DVD, Click the Options… button early on in the Mac OS X install process to get the choice. In addition, choose the option to preserve User and Network Settings.

    Next, apply the 10.5.7 combo updater downloaded from Apple.

    Do this, (after backup) and get back to us.

  27. I should also note:

    Archive and Install is like the old-school mac OS 9 “Clean Install.”

    The hard drive is not erased, as in a Windows “Clean Install.” Instead, a new system is created and the old one is chucked

  28. Actually, “chucked” is the wrong word. The old system is saved on the hard drive. Importantly, you shouldn’t have to re-install all your applications.

  29. hmm. I’ve updated a whole lab full of machines. No problems at all.

    Most like some file is trashed. I’d strongly recommend installing the 10.5.7 combo updater if you haven’t tried that already, in hopes that the borked file is one of the ones included in that update.

    btw: your comment system doesn’t seem to like “.name” domain names. :-(

  30. Jeffrey: Try the method mentioned by Wiley. A co-worker’s Mac had similar issues after the update and Apple Support had us do the “Archive and Install” option while reinstalling Leopard. It preserved all of the user settings and apps and the MBP was usable again.

  31. I was bitten by the freeze bug, and all applications randomly freezing … even a kernel panic. Happened 3-4 times a week. On the MacBook Pro Unibody.

    But it hasn’t crashed in over a week. The only hardware-related thing changed is that I have my Battlefield 2 DVD constantly in the drive.

    Uptime is now 3days and getting along fine.
    I don’t know how and why ; I even feel a bit stupid saying that … Maybe due to the fact I reboot my MBP every 3-4 days for BF2, and Mac OS doesn’t get the chance to hit a faulty RAM chip.

    Anyway, seems to work for me.

    And now that I said it, the computer is going to combust spontaneously according to murphy’s law.

  32. Im working with IT support and have about 80 macs on different locations and no problems with 10.5.7 . Must have something to do with 3:rd party software or hardware stuff.

  33. Hi Jeffrey,

    I’m running on a Macbook Unibody with non-Apple RAM and 10.5.7 didn’t gave me any problems. Must be some hardware problems with older Macs.
    However I can understand the frustration. I have a major problem since the beginning with my Mac : every now and then, when I wake it up from “sleep” it freezes while turning on external screen (also happens when plug out then in the external screen via minidisplay port), then I have to hold the power button and restart the Mac. Here is the most annoying part : when restarted, a lot of colors are messed up whithout any other choice than clearing cache and all that sort of stuff (and that sometimes doesn’t fix it, for example my Finder icon still keep a purple taint).
    Never found one person with the same problem. At least you are not alone with 10.5.7 and Apple will probably issue a fix soon. Not sure of that for my problem…

  34. Robert:

    I’m running at 37 degrees Farenheit. Which seems pretty cool. So overheating is not the problem.

    D’oh! 37 degrees *Centrigrade*.

    111 degrees Farenheit. That’s hot, baby!

  35. Have a MacBook Pro 3,1 (pre-unibody Intel model) and have had problems with going to sleep ever since 10.5.7 came down.

    I even went to far as to erase and install the machine from a fully wiped out clean drive. I then ran software update to get from the Leopard Disc’s 10.5.6 up to 10.5.6 (and all the other updates). I repaired permissions and then re-installed all apps from scratch. I don’t have any external drives plugged into this laptop.

    It was good for a few days and then when I created a second user on it (for my wife to login herself), it started again with the sleep problems.

    The symptoms are that when you either chose sleep from the Apple Menu or just close the lid, the machine freezes, the mouse arrow disappears, the WiFi rainbow makes it look like there’s no signal and the only way to do anything is to hold the power button down (or presumably yank the battery/power cord).

  36. Daniel:

    That’s a frightening and perplexing story. It sounds like damage was done that a fresh install could not repair. Please keep us posted.


    Thanks for the feedback.

    The similarities in the hardware of machines having trouble with this update may hold the key to the cause of these problems

    Could be, although a lot of MacBook Pro owners are having trouble.

    You should backup first, of course, but you already did that, I’m sure…

    As mentioned in my post, backups fail midway through. That’s one of the problems the update has caused. I no longer have a reliable backup.

    However, from time to time, attached backup hard drives do work, and, from time to time, the very presence of an attached hard drive does not cause the system to freeze. Over the next few days, if the opportunity presents itself to create a backup that actually works, I will seize it.

    It may be time to boot from your 10.5 DVD and do an Archive and Install of the OS.

    As mentioned in my post, this is what I am trying to avoid having to do. Note also that even this time-consuming step may not work. Read Daniel’s story, immediately above. How is what happened to him even possible? It sounds as though the temporary presence of 10.5.7 in his MacBook Pro created hardware damage that lingered even after he had removed 10.5.7 from his machine!


    I’d strongly recommend installing the 10.5.7 combo updater if you haven’t tried that already, in

    As mentioned in the post, I did that on both machines. It didn’t help.

    Maybe there were too many words in the post. :)

    Reading will be easier in the new template.

  37. Get the application/finder freezing issues on my iMac 24″ Intel C2D 2.16GHz.

    /var/log/system.log is full of the following types of message when it locks :

    NVDA(OpenGL): Channel exception! status = 0xfff
    f info32 = 0x3 = Fifo: Unknown Method Error

    SSHing in from another machine works, and all the UNIX stuff under the hood still functions, it is just the display that has frozen.

    See this thread also.

    My money is on Apple having made some power management/fan changes in 10.5.7, that have perhaps been highlighted in the hot weather we’ve had this week (in the UK at least).

  38. I’ve updated a Mac Mini, a MacBook Pro and a brand new Mac Pro to 10.5.7 via software update. No problems*.

    * On the Mac Pro, I’ve noticed QuickSilver fails to boot properly on login, but booting it manually is fine.

    The MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro were both recipients of migrated accounts via Migration Assistant – the MacBook Pro migrating from a Powerbook.

    I don’t have any of the 3rd party software you are running as listed in your post.

    Hope it helps.

  39. “As mentioned in my post, backups fail midway through.”

    I wouldn’t rely on the automated backup at this point. Manually back up any important files, excluding applications, in any way possible, including burning a DVD. I’m guessing that not every copy to another volume fails. It still may not work. Unfortunately, the Finder seems corrupted, based on what you say. The good news is that your Hard Drives “appear” to be OK, (the File System itself) based on what you report. Backup:

    1) Documents
    2) Pictures
    3) Movies
    4) Music
    5) Fonts
    6) ~/Library/Mail

    In these instances, it’s good to have an emergency firewire drive with an installed system from which to boot. You can choose the hard drive at startup by holding down the option key. This gives you a known good system when things go wrong. Plus you can then run a backup from the other system.

    If you do an Archive and Install with the preserve user and Network Settings, (Not a regular re-install) the hard drive is not erased, and applications do not need to be re-installed. The System (Including the Finder) is replaced.

    Afterward, you needn’t apply the 10.5 update, but I would try, frankly.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that many people aren’t having a problem with this update. Some are. No matter the vendor, there are no pre-certified successes where software is concerned. It’s ephemeral stuff.

  40. Hi Jeffrey

    Another old mainstay to consider, that’s often overlooked – a corrupt font file. Being a designer, I’m sure you have a multitude of installed fonts. One bad font can bring a Mac to its knees, especially if it’s a widely used System font like Helvetica.

    Could that be the common element between your Macs?


  41. Apple pushed out an SMC firmware update to “adjust the fan behavior” of 15″ and 17″ MBPs (and perhaps other models). Could be that’s in reaction to the overheating issue…? Might want to check for similar update for your various Macs.

  42. I need support. My external hard drive start to have problem after this update, when connect the drive the system say that is unrecognized filesystem. Is too bad.

  43. OMG. I am about to blow up from all the problems 10.5.7 has brought to my pro. It has basically become a windows machine. The freezing is both driving me nuts and making it impossible to back everything up.
    I cant default to backup before the update b.c apple support had me delete that from my time machine when the update broke it.
    I really wish apple would address this and send out a new update, however lesson learned. No more updates for me unless they are tried and true.d
    Thanks for the article which addresses so many of the things I have tried too! Please let us know if you find a solution!

  44. I agree with Laura entirely! I finally broke down and called Apple support, which was ENTIRELY useless at the first level. I am a developer (20+ years Windows development) and recent apple-convert. I’m amazed at the instability of my machine after 10.5.7 installation. It’s like i’m running Vista (but even worse… because i crossed over to an iMac for the stable OS). The second level support guy recommended a few things to no avail. This is totally absurd. I’ll be working fine, simply surfing the net at which point my mouse pointer will jump about 4 inches across my screen. at that point, i know my machine is screwed. i can not successfully shut down without holding down the power button. at first i thought it may be attributed to sleeping/waking, but i don’t think so any longer. i’m at a total loss, and even more disappointed that i left MS world for this. i sure hope i’m not approached by Microsoft about posing for a commercial blasting Apple for their crappy stability in 10.5.7! i’d be the perfect testimony for things gone bad in apple-land. i previously did not have one issue with 105.6 or 10.5.5. Would love a solution to this madness.

  45. Very sorry to hear about your vexing problems. It is unusual for the Mac environment but not at all unique. I had similar problems, but not after an update to 10.5.7. I tried EVERYTHING you did, and added full diagnostics from Tech Tool Pro 5 and other apps. No go.
    After a complete Hardware/OS meltdown, I took it to the Genius Bar. The answer: bad RAM. In fact the RAM had been slowly failing and then short circuited, bombing my HD and CPU and other peripherals. It also produced a lot of heat. None of these failures showed up on ANY of my diagnostics. When you’ve tried everything already, the answer is usually the least likely freak show one. It’s very likely that the update had little or no effect other than nudging the already failing hardware over the cliff.
    Your time is valuable too. Take your unit to Apple and get it fixed. Recover your data and sell the unit.

  46. I’ve got 4 Macs and the 10.5.7 update went smoothly on 3 of them. Only my PowerMac G5 started having problems. Power problems. It had trouble waking up or turning on. I thought it was a hardware problem, but I finally ran repair permissions on it and its working good now.

    My sister just brought me her 5 month old MacBook and its having the same exact problems. I tried running repair permissions on it last night, but it would shut off before the permissions could be set. Now I can’t even get it to start. I push the power button and I hear a click from the hard drive trying to start. I’m going to try again tonight. I’ll probably wind up doing an archive and reinstall.

    This is the first OS update I’ve ever had problems with.

  47. Replace 10.5.7 with any update to OS X and replace the current users with other users and that is the update process for all people. A tiny percentage on every update will have issues but not on any other updates while others take their place in the this particular update gives me grief.

    Last OS X update that gave me issues was an early one in the days of 10.4, I had zero problems with 10.3.x updates, one with 10.4.x updates and zero issues with 10.5.x updates to this present day on my collection of Macs.

    Par for the course really.

    I also am a firm believer in every Major OS you do a wipe and install fresh as I install lots of utilieis and software I end up using once or twice and the programmers hide files and mini programs across the system trying to subvert pirates and some of these are still there and/or running or fiddling with OS X even though I don’t use them anymore or have ‘thought’ they were uninstalled by dragging the icon to the trash, which of course is not the case as there is usually a few system directories programmers have installed files to as well.

    Hang in there if you are having trouble becuase the likelihood of hitting problems on any other updates will be less if you got hit on this one.


  48. Just echoing Brandt earlier, really: I cannot imagine working withoout a net. I always have a lovely clone to revert to at the first sign of any kind of serious trouble. Not much that goes wrong with computers can really hurt you when you always have a perfect, day-old duplicate of your system on tap.

  49. You shouldn’t have to reinstall all your apps after doing an OS reinstall w/ preserve settings. I can see that Adobe’s annoying security will cause problems though.

    I too am having problems with fans wailing but no lockups. I got iCyclone to raise the minimum fan speed to try to keep it from doing it cycle from no fans to blasting fans and back.

    I do think Safari 4 taxes the computer more which produces more heat.

    I also see my fans ramp up every time FileSyncAgent kicks in to check for updates on my iDisk. It slams the CPU briefly then hides after the assault. I recently added iDisk file syncing to keep my MB and MP files current (and no heinous Internet transfer wait). Not sure how I could throttle that app back.

  50. I am having the same problem on my white 13″ Macbook. Computer will not boot up, after the update failing last night. People can say whatever they want about avoiding automatic updates, but I get them much more often on my Vista desktop and I’ve never had a problem. If Apple is going to push updates to my machine, I should have the peace of mind of knowing that I can install them safely. I’m really frustrated right now as I don’t want to lose all of my work and I don’t want to go days without a machine when I use it to run my business. This is getting to be far worse than Windows.

  51. I am having the goes to sleep and never wakes up problem after installing 10.5.7 combo. the only temporary fix i have is playing itunes, which even when the screen goes black allows my macbook to wake back up from its half nap. If not it goes to sleep, the fan kicks up, and the only way to get it back is to remove the battery, put it back in, and hit the power button. I read on http://www.tuaw.com/2009/06/11/is-the-mac-os-x-10-5-7-update-causing-you-grief/
    that one user, Ryan, wrote”
    “Activating” the Ethernet interface in all network locations and rebooting solved this issue for me.”
    I don’t get how to do that and also can’t imagine it working, but…?

  52. 10.5.7 has completely F-ed up my iMac 3.06. It has also managed to completely F my external firewire HD. Awesome!!!

  53. Wow. Glad I found this post. We recently did a family pack upgrade to leapord (and subsequent updates to 10.5.7) and have had trouble on three of the 4 computers. I hadn’t linked them before this. My daughters iMac G5 has the issue with not waking up from sleep. It takes multiple attempts to get it to start up. My wifes new iMac has random apps freezing constantly. Firefox, Trash, Addium, Safari, System Pref, Finder, etc, etc. We’ve been to the genius bar multiple times with no luck yet. We have another appointment tomorrow to see what’s next. My powerbook g4 15″ had a slew of similar issues, but they ended up replacing the logic board which seemed to fix some of the problems.., but i still have a few small issues with it not waking up from sleep. Very very interesting. I love my macs, but this is not acceptable.

  54. the sooner Steve Jobs is gone from apple the sooner respect for the customer (and QA) will return!

    I will gladly trade slightly less beuatiful products for ones which are actually robust & reliable.

    I will even pay a premium to do so –

    oh wait, I am already doing that!? :-(


  55. I wanted to warn any G5 2.5 Quadcore users – it is likely this update will cause you headaches – be warned!

    I was in the process of getting my G5 2.5 Quadcore ready for sale & thankfully had backed up everything on the machine – I then started doing a clean install of Leopard on a totally clean Hard Drive from the original installer – fine everything sweet – then every time I used the software update & restarted the machine I was presented with a black screen – nothing – no access to hard drive etc. I repeatedly reinstalled the software & tried updating – initially unaware of the new 10.5.7 assuming I was just updating to 10.5.6 – each time on restart after software update Black Screen – nightmare! After 3 or 4 attempts I then took a look at the software update & realized the problem could only be coming from 10.5.7 (before my computer never missed a beat – no crashes etc solid under every previous version of 10.5) – I can only assume from the symptoms that after the update there is some incompatibility with the Video Drivers – hence the Black Screen.

    Anyone who has this problem & has the grace to use another machine to read this – I suggest you :
    1) hold down eject button on start up – to eject any cd/dvds in your machine
    2) Insert an older operating system – such as the original 10.5 disc
    3) Once the operating system disc is loaded – hold down the power button to shut down the machine
    4) Press the Power Button to start the machine up & hold down the “c” key which will force the computer to start up from the operating disc you have loaded on the computer

    This should get you access to the machine & the screen should be working

    Then you will have options to install an older operating system to get you back up & running – make sure you pick the option you want – if you using time machine, you should be able to restore the machine to a previous state prior to the update.

    I hope this helps with anyone going through ‘10.5.7 no screen problems’ – good luck!

  56. I think the problem is with MobileMe.
    Probably most of you are using an iPhone and probably you was interested in activating a Mobileme account.
    Well, I did.
    My iphone was half dead. battery life shortened and overheating. I disabled push and problem solved.
    My iMac was having performance issues each half an hour. I just couldn’t move the mouse pointer! restarting was not a choice.
    I just stopped the iDisk sync. and all looks to be fine… so far.

  57. I had trouble with my fan coming on constantly and a hot cpu.
    I archived and installed to 10.5.6 ….. problem solved!!

  58. I’ve been having app/finder freezing issues, aswell as Time Machine failing to make backups since I got back from holiday. It didn’t immediately occur to me that it might be the 10.5.7 upgrade. I’m glad that I’m not alone in these issues, it reassures me that it most likely a software issue and not hardware.

    I’ll just have to put up with it until apple (hopefully) fixes the problem.

  59. I’m having the feezing issue on my 17″ MacBook Pro with Mac OS 10.5.7. As pointed out on
    the freezing issue is repeatable, i.e. it is related to the “second sleep” after reboot.
    It seems to be that the computer doesn’t go sleeping properly but rather keeps running, including disks. If you then leave the laptop running (lid closed), it will overheat.
    Temporary solution: let no the computer to sleep but always power off.
    Permanent solution: APPLE, FIX THE PROBLEM, please.

  60. OK, now I follow the “Ethernet fix”:
    For all the locations in Network Preferences, make sure that the exists Ethernet as an service:
    – go to network preferences
    – select the Location you want to use/change
    – click the + to Create a new Service
    – select Ethernet for Interface
    – let the Service name be whatever the system suggests
    – click Create
    – click Apply
    You don’t have to have any cable on the Ethernet port!

    This really solved the Sleep problem on my MacBook, although it is a hack.
    Thanks Eric for making me to have a look on the discussion once again.

  61. Had same freeze problem with 10.5.7. Disabled Sleep in Energy Saver [System Pref]. No freezes since. Just using screen saver.

  62. i have the same problem since the update. suddenly the whole syystem freezes. after 3 days i had to hard-reboot the mac many times, now everything seems corrupted, safari does not start software update crashes ..
    tried to reinstall, but installer complies “hardrive has issues”. ran disk check .. tells me everything ok. trying to get a full back up (again, since last one failed due to freeze issue). Argh ! i need to work !!

  63. @ruediger:

    You’re having exactly the same experiences I did. Freezes and crashes, system atomizing itself into crazy components, “corrupted” disk that can’t be fixed because it is “okay,” etc.

    Here are the steps that enabled me to get back to work:

    1. Installed smcFanControl on my iMacs and MacBook Pro, and adjusted settings until the machines ran cooler. They still run hotter than they should; and the adjustments mean my fan and hard drive will wear out sooner than they otherwise might; but the machines work again, and that’s the main thing. Be patient: It may take a day before you find the fan speed sweet spot that reduces heat sufficiently to stop your Mac behaving like a PC on crack.

    2. Replaced one of my backup drives. Just bought a new one. The update fried the old one. It was under warranty but if the drive burned out because of defects in Apple’s system update (not defects in the drive itself), to whom would I turn for compensation? I just wrote it off as a loss and plugged in a new drive. This enabled me to begin running backups again. (The update had prevented me from running backups.)

    3. Trained myself to repair Disk Permissions after *any* change. No less a Macintosh expert than John Gruber says repairing Disk Permissions is mostly hooey. Most of the time it’s not needed, and many Apple engineers never fix permissions (except in very limited circumstances), my friend Gruber has told me. Nevertheless, since I wasted nearly two weeks trying to recover from 10.5.7, I have converted to the religion of repairing Disk Permissions after I make any change to the system, whether it be updating Photoshop, or adding a new font to the library. In combination with the temperature control, it seems to help.

    My MacBook Pro (less than a year old) still turns itself off for no reason at all from time to time, but it does it maybe once a day, or once every few days, instead of every hour of every day, every time the machine is left unattended. I consider this a win. For instance, I’m now able to take the MacBook Pro onto the stage before speaking and plug it into the lecture hall’s projection system. That sounds normal, and it is normal. But immediately after installing 10.5.7, and for weeks afterward, “normal” was impossible. If I brought my MacBook Pro to the stage, it would shut itself off while I was carrying it, and it might take as long as three minutes to reboot. (That sounds like my machine was defective, but it isn’t; 10.5.7 is defective. Fortunately its worst offenses can be worked around.)

    I’m looking forward to Snow Leopard—and doing an Archive and Install of Snow Leopard on all my studio’s Macs.

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