apple mac_os_x

Before Installing Lion: Check for Application Compatibility

Before you install Mac OS X Lion, take a moment to check if all applications on your computer are compatible with the new OS. The reason why you need to do so is because Lion no longer supports Rosetta. Rosetta is the underlying technology built into Mac OS X that allowed older Mac applications written for the PowerPC platform to run seamlessly on Mac OS X — in fact Rosetta worked so seamlessly that many of us did not even realize it was running behind the scenes.

With Lion, Apple now no longer supports PowerPC applications — you must first check if you have any PowerPC applications on your computer — follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple icon on the left of your Mac’s title bar, and choose the About This Mac option, as shown in Figure 1, below.

    About This Mac
    Figure 1: About This Mac

  2. This will bring up a window of the same name as shown in Figure 2. Click the More Info… button.

    About This Mac Window
    Figure 2: More Info button

  3. You will now see the System Profiler window that provides detailed information about almost everything about your Mac. Scroll down the sidebar on the left until you see the Software category. Once you click the triangle to its left, you will see several other options. Click the Applications option, as shown in Figure 3.

    System Profiler
    Figure 3: System Profiler

  4. Now the window shows all the applications installed on your computer — note that there are columns in this window — click the Kind column header to sort all your installed applications based upon what kind they are, such as PowerPC, Intel, Universal, etc. Scroll down to where you can see a list of all your PowerPC applications, as shown in Figure 4.

    PowerPC Applications
    Figure 4: PowerPC applications

    Note that all the PowerPC apps highlighted in Figure 4 are actually small applets that are part of Microsoft Office for Mac. In my case, these are Query and OpenXML apps that will not hinder the use of Office 2008 and 2011, so I am just going to let them be and wait for Microsoft to provide an upgrade — fortunately, Microsoft has put up a post to show their commitment in resolving these issues.

    If you have older apps that provide no such options, you will no longer be able to use them when you upgrade to Lion. One option for you in that case is to create a dual boot system that lets you decide whether you want to boot to Lion or an older version of OS X – CNET has a great article that discusses this approach.

Note that System Profiler only lets you see which programs are PowerPC specific — it does not let you uninstall them. You can retain these applications when you upgrade to Lion, but the programs themselves will not be able to run within the Mac OS X Lion environment.

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Failed Boot Camp Installation

Once you click the Start Installation button within Boot Camp Assistant, it is assumed that your Windows install disc is in your optical drive — either a drive on your system or an external drive. Thereafter your Mac will reboot, and start off the Windows install disc to begin installing Microsoft Windows to your newly created Boot Camp partition.

If all goes fine, then that’s great. But if you see an error — maybe there is an error reading your disc or some communication error. First ascertain that you are indeed stuck and cannot proceed — then hold the Power button on your Mac to shut down the computer. Thereafter, hold the Option (Alt) key while you restart your computer. Most probably you will see a menu with a single option that lets you boot to your Mac OS — choose this option and boot into your Mac OS X partition.

Make sure you have an alternative installation disc or another optical drive — maybe you can attach an external optical drive. Then ascertain that the Windows install disc is now accessible.

You can next start Boot Camp Assistant. The first two screens will be similar to what you see when running Boot Camp Assistant for the time — but the third screen will differ. Since your Boot Camp partition has already been created, you won’t be asked to carve a new partition at this point of time. Rather you will be presented with the two options you can see in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Relaunch Boot Camp Assistant

These options are:

  1. Create or remove a Windows partition: You can choose to create a new Boot Camp partition — or delete any existing Boot Camp partition.
  2. Start the Windows installer: Lets you restart the Windows installer.

To launch the Windows installation again, please choose the second option and click Continue. This will reboot your computer and start the Windows installation again.

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Using Boot Camp to Create a New Partition

Once you have launched Boot Camp Assistant and made sure you have the additional software you need (such as Windows drivers for your Mac hardware), you will get to the screen that asks you to partition your Mac hard disk to carve out a Windows partition, as shown in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1: Carve a Windows partition with Boot Camp Assistant

By default, you may be asked to create a partition as small as 20 GB — that’s far too less for any practical use. Use as much space as you can spare — yet do not get tempted to use the Divide Equally option if you have a very large hard disk. As you can see in Figure 2 below, I decided to carve a 200GB Windows partition. Click the Partition button to proceed.


Figure 2: Carve a Windows partition with Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant will now partition your hard disk, as shown in Figure 3 below.


Figure 3: Partition being created

Once the partitioning is done, note that your Mac OS X desktop will show a new hard disk partition called BOOTCAMP, as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4: New partition displayed

Boot Camp Assistant will prompt you to insert your Windows installation disc, as shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5: Insert your Windows install disc

Insert your Windows install disc, and click the Start Installation button. In the next post in this series, you will learn what happens next.

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Launching Boot Camp Assistant

If you have fulfilled all requirements for installing Microsoft Windows 7 on your Mac using Boot Camp, then spare an hour or two and get started:

  1. Close all applications on your Mac so that you can just see your Desktop. Choose the Go | Utilities menu option, as shown in Figure 1.


    Figure 1: Access the Utlities option

  2. This opens the Utilities folder within your Applications — here you will find the Boot Camp Assistant application, as shown in Figure 2 — double-click to launch the Boot Camp Assistant.


    Figure 2: Boot Camp Assistant

  3. This summons the Boot Camp Assistant’s first screen as shown in Figure 3. As shown in the screen, Apple recommends that you back up your entire disk before proceeding — assuming you have backed up your important stuff, proceed by clicking the Continue button.


    Figure 3: Starting with Boot Camp Assistant

  4. You are now prompted to either download the additional software that you will need after installing Microsoft Windows 7 (see Figure 4) — this is typically the drivers for your Mac hardware and are included in the original DVD or CD media that was in the box that contained your Mac hardware — most of the time this is the same media that you use to do a Restore of your Mac software. Even if you don’t have this additional software handy, you are allowed to download it now from the Apple site. Most of you who upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion using the Mac AppStore will have to choose the download option since you probably have no media. If you do have the media, or have already downloaded the software before, you can go ahead and choose the second option. However if you choose the first option to download the additional software now, be prepared for a fairly large download. Make your choice and click the Continue button.


    Figure 4: Do you need the additional software?

  5. Assuming you chose the Download option, you might next see a window asking you to input your admin password. Enter your password, and click OK. Boot Camp Assistant will now start downloading the drivers and other software, as shown in Figure 5, below.


    Figure 5: Additional software being downloaded

In the next post in this series, I’ll show you what you need to do next to get Windows 7 installed on your Mac using Boot Camp.

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Requirements for installing Windows 7 using Boot Camp

If you want to install Microsoft Windows 7 on a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion, using Boot Camp — you will need to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. An Intel based Mac — that’s almost any Mac sold in the last few years.
  2. An optical drive — typically at least a DVD drive these days.
  3. Your Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion DVD, depending upon which version of OS X you have installed. This contains the drivers you will require to run Microsoft Windows 7. This can either be the DVD media that was included in the box containing your Mac or even an upgrade CD or DVD you bough (in case of Snow Leopard). Since Lion upgrade installations were mostly made available via the Mac AppStore, you will be allowed to download the Windows 7 drivers when you launch the Boot Camp application — in that case, you will also need blank CD, DVD, or USB media for installation of Windows 7 drivers for your Mac computer.

    OK — you can create a Lion install DVD from your download from the App Store — but I have not tried it to install Windows 7 drivers for Boot Camp — if it works for you, do send me a line here.

  4. At least 16 GB of free hard disk space for 32-bit versions of Windows 7, and 20 GB or more space for 64-bit versions of Windows 7.
  5. A full version of Microsoft Windows 7 — among the separate versions, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate are supported in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

Once you have all these ready, you need to spare around an hour or two of your time — it actually takes much less time but it is good to not do this task in a hurry.

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What is Boot Camp?

Boot Camp is a technology built within Intel chip based Macs that allows you to create a separate partition in your Mac OS hard disk that can run Microsoft Windows. This separate partition is created from within the existing Mac OS hard disk without deleting any of your existing Mac data — it goes without saying that you need plenty of hard disk space to create a Boot Camp partition.

Boot Camp is probably the only technology that lets you run Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows on the same hardware without any virtual machines — this means no emulation is required and you are running Windows on a normal computer — the Apple hardware is functioning like just any hardware from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Sony, or Toshiba — or any other vendor.

Earlier versions of Boot Camp let you run Windows XP and Windows Vista — but Mac OS X Lion only lets you run Windows 7. After you install Boot Camp, you can hold the Option (Alt) key on your Mac’s keyboard to bring up the screen that you see in the Figure below — here you can choose to boot into either the Mac OS X or Windows 7.

You can also set either Mac OS X or Windows 7 as the default boot — you will learn about this process in a future blog post. In future blog posts, you will also learn more about what you need to install Windows using Boot Camp, and how you actually complete the process.

Meanwhile, you can learn more about Boot Camp on the Apple site.

Typically all sites that I end up visiting are created by geeks for geeks — I tried in this post to make things very simple — simple enough for a 10 year old to understand and yet relevant to you even if you are a geek — if you want to share some feedback, do get in touch through this feedback form — have a great day!

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Burn a CD or DVD on Mac OS X

Burning a CD or DVD is very easy on Mac OS X — first you insert a blank CD or DVD in your Mac. You will see a dialog like the one you see in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: How do you want to burn your CD or DVD?

Typically, you could choose the Open in Finder action — unless you want to create a DVD you want to play on your TV, for which you will choose the Open iDVD option. You can also choose the Open iTunes option if you want to create a music CD. If you need to burn an image to a CD or DVD, you can choose the Open Disk Utility option — we covered this in the earlier Burn Image to CD or DVD with Disk Utility post. You can see all these options in Figure 2, below.

Figure 2: Choose Open Finder to burn a regular data CD or DVD

Do you want to use a third-party application such as Roxio Toast to burn your disc? If you don’t see this application here, choose the Open Other Application option.

If you choose the Open Finder option, you’ll see a Finder window with a CD or DVD listed as a folder on the Sidebar, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Untitled DVD is your new DVD (or CD) — also note that you can see how much space is available in your DVD or CD

You can also right-click (or Ctrl-click) the CD or DVD listed on the Sidebar, and choose some of the options shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Rename your disc, or remove it

The Rename option lets you change the volume name of the disc. The Remove option lets you delete the disc project altogether.

To add files to burn to disc, drag your files to the disc’s folder — you will see how much space is available on your new disc, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: How much free space is available on your disc?

At this point of time, no disc has been burned. Once you are ready to burn your disc, just select the File | Burn (Disc Name) menu option as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Get your disc burning

You will see a message box that lets you choose the burn speed, and if you want to save the disc compilation to a folder (useful if you need to burn multiple copies of the disc), a shown in Figure 7, below

Figure 7: Choose the burn speed

Click the Burn button, and OS X starts burning your disc, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Your disc is burning

apple mac_os_x

Backup your OS X Lion Download on DVD or External Drive

You already learned how you can pause and resume your OS X Lion download from the Mac App Store. But as soon as your download is over, you will see the OS X Lion install screen that you see in Figure 1, below. Resist installing this upgrade for now, and choose the Install Mac OS X Lion | Quit Install Mac OS X Lion menu option for now.


Figure 1: Install screen for Mac OS X Lion
Why did I ask you to quit the install? That is because it is best that you first create a backup of the 3.74 GB download! Yes, it is true — as soon as you finish installing OS X Lion, the downloaded install file will be cleaned up! You might want to install OS X Lion on other computers, or just retain a backup of the install file — after all, 3.74 GB is not a minuscule size, even by today’s standards.
So head to launch Finder, and go to your Applications folder — it is here that you will find the Install Mac OS X Lion app, as you can see in Figure 2. Note that all applications in this folder, as shown in Figure 2 have the app file extension — this is because I have globally enabled file extensions on my Mac.
Figure 2: The Install Mac OS X Lion app
Right-click or Ctrl-click this app, and choose the Show Package Contents option in the resultant context menu. Within the Contents | Shared Support folder, you will find the InstallESD.dmg file (see Figure 3)


Figure 3: The InstallESD.dmg file
Select and Alt-drag this file to any location on your computer — remember Alt-drag will make a copy, just dragging will remove the DMG from the package — you don’t want to do that! Once extracted, you can burn this image to a DVD. You can also make a backup of this image on an external hard disk.
apple mac_os_x

Burn Image to CD or DVD with Disk Utility

You really don’t need a separate CD or DVD burning application on your Mac OS X, especially if you want to do something as simple as burning an image to a CD or DVD. Mac OS X’s Disk Utility is all you need:

  1. Minimize all your application windows and click an empty area of your desktop. Click the Go | Utilities menu option. In the resultant Finder window, click the Disk Utility icon to launch the program — you will see the interface shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1: Disk Utility

  2. Click the Burn button on the toolbar. This will bring up the Select Image to Burn dialog — navigate and select a DMG or other image format that Disk Utility can work with. Select the Burn button.
  3. Disk Utility will ask you to insert a blank disc (see Figure 2). Insert a disc, and in a while, your image will be burnt to a disc.

    Figure 2: Insert a disc

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Show or Hide File Extensions on the Mac for one file

You already learned how you can show or hide file extensions for all files on Mac OS X. Now let me show you how you can enable the visibility of the file extension for just one file:

  1. Select the file within Finder or your Mac OS X desktop for which you want the file extension to be visible (or not visible).
  2. Now right-click (or Ctrl-click) the file, and choose the Get Info option from the resultant menu.
  3. This opens the Get Info dialog for that file, as shown in Figure 1, below.

    Figure 1: Get Info

  4. You’ll see the Name and Extension pane within the Get Info dialog — here there is an option to check — it’s called “Hide extension” — if you want to show the file extension, you will uncheck this option — and keep it checked, if you want to hide the file extension. Checking or unchecking this option overrides the global settings to hide or show file extensions in Mac OS X.