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Ask Max: Problems trying to upgrade the OS from 10.3 to 10.4

Asked on 04/12/2007:

I'm having a major problem trying to upgrade my dual G4 1.25 MHz Mac from 10.3.9 to 10.4.x. The Mac has 65+ gigs of free space and 1.25 gigs of ram. Here's the problem:

The installer program runs ok through all the prompts until it gets to the point where it says 'preparing target disk' after the target drive has been selected. The problem is that after running for 30 to 45 minutes, the program displays the message 'There were problems with the installation process. Please try the install again.' I've even let the install process run overnight with the same results.

At this point, I've run the disk utility and repaired permissions. I also have Tech Tool 4 but that utility does not seem to have anything that would help.

Any suggestions or information of any kind would be greatly appreciated.


It looks like you have done the basic step one should do to fix that problem. The next steps are more advanced but should hopefully save your data and get you to 10.4. The first thing to try is a different install option. When you select the destination drive to install onto there is an "Options" button at the lower left of the window. Click on it and select the "Archive and Install" option. Make sure to check the checkbox for preserve user data and network settings. Then install as regular. If you find that the installer fails again you are probably dealing with a hard drive issue. The drive could be fixed with a reformatting but you do not want to lose your data and applications. I would recommend that you buy a new internal hard drive and install it in one of your open drive expansion bays. Then you will need to format the new hard drive from Disk Utility. There is a copy on the 10.4 install DVD under the Utilities menu. Now install Mac OS X 10.4 onto your new drive. That will almost certainly work. Once the computer has booted up to the new install of 10.4 you can start entering your information like it was a new computer, but when it asks if you have information from an old Mac say that you do. Pretend like you have a computer in Target disk mode and click through the menus. It should then find your 10.3 hard drive and import your data and applications from that drive. Now you need to verify that all the things you want are on the new drive. After a week or so of living on the new drive and checking everything is on it, you can erase the old drive and start using it as additional storage. Keep an eye on it as it could be a failing hard drive. Back up the data you store on it.

Hope the moves you to 10.4 without delay.

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