Setting up Snow Leopard on MacBook Pro
   (last updated on July 2, 2011)

System details
2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4 GB memory
15 inch screen
24 inch Apple LCD monitor
Initial setup (Nov 8, 2009)
Booted the new MacBook system
Opted for "transfer applications and data" from the older mac (powerbook G4 running 10.4 Tiger)
Connected the old Powerbook G4 with the new MacBook Pro using a Firewire 800 cable
It took ~90 min to transfer entire contents (~60 GB)
Booted the new MacBook system
Initial settings looked ok except that several software and data files (mostly "Classic") were disabled (marked with crossed circles) since they were not compatible with Snow Leopard on Intel processor.
Setting up multiple desktops (Nov 9/10, 2009)
Current options and their pros and cons,

Desktop manager 0.5.3 was incompatible.
Desktop manager 0.5.4r1 could not be launched (it quits immediately).
You Control Desktop 1.3 was incompatible.
Spaces works but is not as good as some other programs for pre-Leopard OS.
Hyperspace is OK but needs Spaces to run. Also, it does not provide many features (personally I would like to see the menu bar pager similar to "Desktop Manager").

Among these only 'Spaces' (and Hyperspace) works well with Exposé, so there is not a lot of option at the moment.

April 6, 2010
The new version of Hyperspace (1.0.5) keeps crashing so I have stopped using it. One trick that has made Spaces more convenient to use is to enable it via Active Screen Corners (in Exposé). This bypasses the need to use keyboard or mouse click in the Dock or the menu bar.

July 2, 2011
I have settled down to using OS X 10.6 built in Spaces and Expose utilities for my needs. For this I assigned the right top corner of the screen to Spaces in Expose. It works fine and does not require pressing any key.

Changing desktop background (Apr 6, 2010)
Desktop background could be easily set in System Preferences (Desktop & Screen Saver). However, I was unable to change the background today. The problem was corrupt "" file inside (Home Directory)/Library/Preferences folder. Deleting the file solved the problem.
Changing login screen background (Nov 10, 2009)

Installed the utility 'Desktop 2 Login'. It allows you to set up the login screen background to whatever your current desktop picture background is (much better!). Download it from here,

'Loginox' is another utility which is more flexible than 'Desktop 2 Login' since it allows you to choose a picture from a collection. You can download it from here,
Setting up classic Mac OS emulators (Dec 12/13, 2009)

As much as I love Mac OS X, I have a few programs that run only in Classic Mac OS environment. I had no problem using these in OS 10.4 but they are no longer supported in 10.6 on Intel Mac machine. To get around this problem, I experimented with two emulators, BasiliskII and SheepShaver. Both worked great.

BasiliskII for Mac OS 7.5.3 (very stable!)
See screenshots One Two Three Four

Download OS-7.5.3 from Apple's website.

SheepShaver for Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9.2
(OS 8.6 is somewhat unstable but 9.2 is pretty good)
I use SheepShaver launcher that allows me to select the OS I wish to run. Read more about it here. Download it from here.

See screenshots One Two Three Four Five
Checkout this screenshot of all three classic Mac operating systems (7.5.3, 8.6 and 9.2) running simultaneously!

(I hope to summarize setup details at some point when I have more time.)

Multimedia related updates/upgrades

April 11, 2010
Upgraded Flip4Mac WMV component (by Telestream Inc.). Following is a brief info about Flip4Mac WMV as provided by Telestream

"Flip4Mac WMV is a collection of QuickTime components that enable you to play, import, and export Windows Media® video and audio files, based on the edition you license. Flip4Mac WMV can be used with most of your favorite QuickTime applications including QuickTime Player, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro."

Upgraded Perian, an open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats. Perian is free and considered as swiss-army knife for QuickTime. It DOES NOT replace all Flip4Mac supported formats.

AirPort Utility (Time Capsule)

February 6, 2010
Reset AirPort password (in case you forget it)

Press and hold the reset button, located on the back of the Time Capsule, for one second (DO NOT press it more than one second, otherwise you will lose your entire network setting!).

Open AirPort setup utility, select your Time Capsule, click on Manual Setup, select AirPort, and enter new password. Wait for few seconds and try connecting the internet.

Read the Apple Time Capsule manual for more details.

Miscellaneous utilities

November 9, 2009
Installed 'Classic Menu'. Created a 'Classic Menu Items' folder inside 'Library/Preferences'
Created an alias of the home folder (because the 'make alias' link in the 'File' menu was greyed out) in ther 'terminal' window as below,

ln -s /Users/bpg Desktop/bpg
Then dragged the alias to 'Library/Preferences/Classic Menu Items' folder.

January 10, 2010
Installed 'Name Mangler-2.0', a tiny little program that is quite handy when it comes to renaming a large number of files in bulk. It has a clean interface and many options (including Regular Expressions) to rename files.

January 20, 2010
Installed "Caffeine", a great utility that prevents Mac from automatically going to sleep or the display dimming while watching movies etc.

January 23, 2010
Switched to 'keepassx' from 'pastor', to manage all my passwords, serial numbers, etc. Pastor is good but lacks several features (such as sorting and security) that I really needed.

The other password managing utility '1Password' (Agile Web Solutions) is more than what I needed (an overkill). It is extremely good but also expensive (version 3 is ~40 USD).

The current version of keepassx (0.4.1) is pretty good. It contains everything that I was looking for. The password file is very secure. There is an option of locking it after certain period of inactivity (hrs/minues/seconds). Passwords/keys can be arranged in different groups. The only major problem I found is that search feature does not work. Trying to search something causes the program to crash. Otherwise it is good.

February 8, 2010
'AllBookmarks' (Agile Web) is a great piece of software. It consolidates bookmarks from different browsers (Safari, Firefox, Camino, etc.) and displays them in one place. It eliminates the need to search different browsers for specific bookmarks (see a screenshot here). It does has a bit of issue with bookmark backup files (in Mozilla/Firefox) which requires refreshing the list from time to time. Otherwise it is an excellent tool and best of is FREE!

February 12, 2010
Two other utilities 'Default Folder X' (St. Clair Software) and 'Volumizer' (by Greg Weston) are worth a try. The Default Folder X makes it very easy to save, open, and search files using least amount of mouse clicks. It saves valuable time. The Volumizer reveals all mounted disks in the menu bar (screenshot) and the dock. You can easily open and brown contents without swithing to the Finder.

April 9, 2010
OmniDiskSweeper (Omni Group) is a great utility to identify large files/folders on the hard drive and delete them easily. It makes the system maintenance job very easy. Another utility GrandPerspective does similar thing but slightly differently.

July 2, 2011
Reading pdf files in Firefox 5 browser (by installing new Schubert|it pdf browser plugin version 2.4.1)
Download the package from Schubert|it website or from here. Insure that any pervious version of the plugin is uninstalled/removed. Quite Firefix. Install the new plugin. Restart Firefox. The plugin should be recognized as a new extension and start working. If there is a problem then you may need to switch firefox to 32 bit mode and then back to 64 bit to fix the issue. For this, do Get Info on Firefox in Applications folder (in Finder) and check the 32 bit box in the popup. Start firefox and try opening a pdf link. It should open the file this time. You may also confirm that the plugin is recognized in installed Extensions. Now quit the firefox and switch it back to 64 bit mode. Start it again and things should be working fine. o get info for Firefox in Applications folder. Set

Hardware changes

March 24, 2010
The hard drive has suddenly died. Two days ago, the laptop froze twice within a gap of 4-6 hrs and needed hard reboot. After the second reboot, it refused to go beyond the gray screen with Apple logo and spinning circle. Attempts to repair the drive using the original installer DVD were unsuccessful. All suggestions posted on the net (and, of couse, Apple website) failed to work. The TechTool Pro (5.0.7) was unable to repair it either. Luckily, Time Capsule backup was up-to-date and prevented the disaster from happening. The laptop is under warranty so the drive should get replaced without any charge. Overall, bad experience.

Outputs of the command line disk utilities

MacHD:Volumes bpg$ diskutil list
0: *320.1 GB disk0
0: GUID_partition_scheme *999.5 GB disk1
1: EFI 209.7 MB disk1s1
2: Apple_HFS Restore 939.5 MB disk1s2
3: Apple_HFS WinOS 8.4 GB disk1s3
4: Apple_HFS MacBookHD 410.0 GB disk1s4
5: Apple_HFS Media 579.5 GB disk1s5
0: *804.4 MB disk2

MacHD:Volumes bpg$ disktool -l
***Disk Appeared ('disk0',Mountpoint = '', fsType = '', volName = '')
***Disk Appeared ('disk1',Mountpoint = '', fsType = '', volName = '')
***Disk Appeared ('disk1s1',Mountpoint = '', fsType = '', volName = '')
***Disk Appeared ('disk1s2',Mountpoint = '/Volumes/Restore', fsType = 'hfs', volName = 'Restore')
***Disk Appeared ('disk1s3',Mountpoint = '/Volumes/WinOS', fsType = 'hfs', volName = 'WinOS')
***Disk Appeared ('disk1s4',Mountpoint = '/', fsType = 'hfs', volName = 'MacBookHD')
***Disk Appeared ('disk1s5',Mountpoint = '/Volumes/Media', fsType = 'hfs', volName = 'Media')

MacHD:Volumes bpg$ diskutil repairVolume /dev/disk0
Error starting filesystem repair for disk0: Unrecognized filesystem (-9958)

MacHD:Volumes bpg$ diskutil mount /dev/disk0
Volume on disk0 failed to mount; if it has a partitioning scheme, use "diskutil mountDisk"

MacHD:Volumes bpg$ diskutil mountDisk /dev/disk0
Volume(s) mounted successfully

Although it says that the Volume was mounted successfully but it did not happen.

MacHD:Volumes bpg$ hdiutil attach -nomount /dev/disk0

It didn't do anything either.

April 9, 2010
Ok, the problem is finally solved! It turns out that the hard drive was fine. The bad part was actually the cable that connects the hard drive to the logic board.

Questions? Comments? Send an email to bpg10000 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com.