OSX 10.7 (Lion) Upgrade fail = 10.6 "Upgrade"
Sep 22, 2011

Being a sysadmin, when Lion OSX came out, it made sense to update.That way, I would find potential bugs/inconsistencies before deploying at large.

As it turns out, I found a few thing: On the positive side, it does start up faster, Mail and iCal work great. On the negative Side: I don’t like the new Mission Control as it’s more cumbersome than it needs to, my samba shares don’t work as Apple removed Samba support since they didn’t agree with GPLv3. Instead of using GPLv3 Samba, Apple wrote their own smb library. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t work well with standard 3.4 Samba servers. Lastly, and this may only apply to my situation, my encryption software doesn’t support Lion yet.

The last two cons are a deal breaker for me. I can’t upgrade machines until I can get Lion to properly read/write to Samba shares as well as until the encryption software is updated to support Lion.

Well, with those known facts, I can plan next steps accordingly: Not upgrade Snow Leopard Machines (10.6.8) and downgrade new machines that come with Lion (10.7.1) to 10.6.8

Having just received a bunch of new MBP’s, I had to downgrade them. What I thought it’d be an easy task, it really wasn’t. Hence, I’m documenting the steps here to refresh my memory when I can’t remember as well as to help anyone out there having a similar problem.

The new MBP have i series processors. In my case, i7’s. What I didn’t know was that the old Snow Leopard installation disk won’t work on these machines as the processor is different. Luckily, I had a 10.6.6 i-series installation disk. And with that in my hand the upgrade process was well underway

Note: If you don’t have the i-series installation disk, I believe you can request one from Apple if your machine came with Lion.

Here’s how downgrade went:

1. Boot from 10.6 installation disk (hold down c when you hear the chime)
2. Once greeted, open disk utility and delete the Macintosh HD partition. This will remove and create a new partition
3. Select to install a new instance of Snow Leopard

The process above is fine if you have to do it once, but if don’t, I found a better approach!

1. Set up a machine just like the 3 steps above using the installation disk
2. Once the OS is installed, setup your standard software/hardware/network settings (software updates, printers, shares, Open Office, etc)
3. Create a Time Machine backup

Once you have the Time Machine snapshot, setting up new computers is a breeze:

1. Boot from Snow Leopard installation disk (hold down c when you hear the chime)
2. Once greeted, open disk utility and erase the Macintosh HD partition. This will remove and create a new partition
3. At this point, instead of installing a new OS instance, select to recover from Time Machine backup
(ensure your external hard drive with the backup is connected)
4. Recover!

The nice thing about this method is that the installation process only takes about 15 mins and once done you have a nicely setup system.


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