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#19265 - 11/18/11 02:59 PM installer refuses to install
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
trying to run the 10.6.8 combo updater to fix issues with a damaged OS as a result of disk error. (disk replaced and files salvaged, won't boot properly, os damage)

booting off another hdd since that one won't get to desktop, the installer yellow triangles on the internal hdd and says this can't be installed on this disk. This volume does not meet the requirements for this update. so I look in the log and see a handful of exception:TypeError:Result of expression 'my.target' null is not an object.

Lots of googling around yields many dozens of people that have encountered this problem (for a wide variety of reasons, some of them match my situation) but no applicable answers.

I've seen this happen when a volume is partitioned to an unexpected type, but this is GUID/HFS+ on an intel. I've also seen it happen when you have the wrong version of mac os on it. (trying to run the 10.6.8 combo on a machine with leopard on it for example) Or when trying to run say an ilife or java update without the right/prior version installed.

Judging from the log error I am assuming it's looking to get os version information and is failing in its search for or in a file, such as /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist. I know there are around 1/2 dozen files to get the os version from, and that's the only one I know the name of offhand, and it's ok. So as a start I'd like to check the others but I don't know where they are, to see if one of them is damaged or missing.

Or if you have other ideas I'm all ears. Can't use pacifist because it only installs to the booted volume, and this one won't load to the desktop.


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#19271 - 11/18/11 11:39 PM Re: installer refuses to install [Re: Virtual1]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Although it might workout... i don't think that the basic principle of running an update on an OS that won't boot in the first place, in order to “fix the problem” is entirely sound. More likely than not, the the two problems are related. I.e., though the search for some damaged "version" file to make Installer happy is possibly valid... chances are that whatever is preventing the current OS from booting is also what's actually causing the update process to fail at such an early stage.

What is the version number of the current (unbootable) OS?

Does it boot into SU mode?

Does it boot into Safe Mode?

I assume it has been DiskWarrior-ed to death, and that all appears normal from that angle. [yes?]

Is doing a fresh 10.6.x install impossible for some reason, or merely inconvenient?

Is it possible that the original "Leopard-->Snow Leopard" upgrade history for this Mac was one that may have been limited in some manner (where the 10.6 disk was a special deal which was linked to the machine and its original hardware somehow) ?


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/18/11 11:50 PM)

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#19275 - 11/19/11 06:53 AM Re: installer refuses to install [Re: Hal Itosis]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
Although it might workout... i don't think that the basic principle of running an update on an OS that won't boot in the first place, in order to “fix the problem” is entirely sound. More likely than not, the the two problems are related. I.e., though the search for some damaged "version" file to make Installer happy is possibly valid... chances are that whatever is preventing the current OS from booting is also what's actually causing the update process to fail at such an early stage.

I have to repair damaged operating systems on the average 3 times per week, and I have determined that first trying the combo updater and then trying an archive and install is the fastest, most effective, least disruptive route to go. About 85% of OS damage I am able to completely fix with a combo updater. 13% requires an archive and install. The remaining 2% requires much more work such as moving data, fresh install, and manually reimporting user accounts.

Although A&I would fix anything a combo updater fixes, it requires a lot more time to run, and uninstalls some drivers. (and I'd have to run the combo updater after it anyway) So I try to avoid that if possible. I'm always mindful of performing the least invasive/disruptive repairs practically possible.


Quote:
What is the version number of the current (unbootable) OS?

Does it boot into SU mode?

Does it boot into Safe Mode?

I assume it has been DiskWarrior-ed to death, and that all appears normal from that angle. [yes?]

The quick fixes didn't help and I've already determined beyond reasonable doubt that the OS must be repaired with at least a combo updater.


Quote:
Is doing a fresh 10.6.x install impossible for some reason, or merely inconvenient?

See above.


Quote:
Is it possible that the original "Leopard-->Snow Leopard" upgrade history for this Mac was one that may have been limited in some manner (where the 10.6 disk was a special deal which was linked to the machine and its original hardware somehow) ?

I have seen where previous issues can cause future updates not to run. It doesn't really matter what caused it, the damage is done, be it from the IO errors, (most likely) or some other prior cause. I've ran into this problem on several occasions in the past, that either required me to A&I or reinstall and restore d data, and I don't like how disruptive a process this is for the user and would like to take the less disruptive combo updater option.

Also, I have several times encountered a similar case where the OS installer would not start for the exact same reason. So this problem can sometimes force me to do a clean reinstall, which is one of the most disruptive repairs I ever have to make. And it's sad to see the PC tech with windows, that is one of the most common required fixes since registry damage is common and usually forces a reinstall. If nothing else I'd like to say I can fix it better than windows wink


In this case I got lucky in that the 10.6.3 (A) allowed itself to run without the same error, and (B) retained the users and settings. Frequently when forced to A&I under these conditions it basically refuses to import directory services, nuking accounts but importing home folders, requiring resetup. So this one was nicer than it could have been. I suspect there is a link between DS damage and this entire problem. I am still searching for answers as to what causes the root error message in the installer, and also where it determines installed OS version. I have seen cases where the software KNOWS what version of OS is installed even though the systemversion.plist is GONE, I get the impression that one file is for 3rd party use and apple relies primarily on a different file - I need to know where that is.
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#19278 - 11/19/11 09:50 AM Re: installer refuses to install [Re: Virtual1]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
I have seen cases where the software KNOWS what version of OS is installed even though the systemversion.plist is GONE,

Cases? (plural), really? How would that situation even arise? [what would ever make that particular file go away?]


Originally Posted By: Virtual1
I get the impression that one file is for 3rd party use and apple relies primarily on a different file - I need to know where that is.

I'd tend to think it might depend on which engineer (at Apple) is writing what code. There may be any number of ways, and /SystemVersion.plist should be just as reliable as any other. [e.g., that's what sw_vers reads, and probably system_profiler as well.] I mean, that's the entire purpose of that file... is it not?

But okay, using this as a starting point...

$ sysctl -n kern.osversion
10K549

... i then ran this command:

$ sudo grep -F -l -r 10K549 /System/Library /private/{etc,var/[^v]*} 2>/dev/null
Password:
/System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches/Startup/kernelcache_i386.771041B6
/System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist
/System/Library/Extensions/AVFrameBuffer.kext/Contents/Info.plist
/System/Library/Extensions/AVVideoCard.kext/Contents/Info.plist
/private/var/log/asl/2011.11.13.asl
/private/var/log/asl/2011.11.14.asl
/private/var/log/asl/2011.11.16.asl
/private/var/log/asl/2011.11.17.asl
/private/var/log/asl/2011.11.19.asl
/private/var/log/install.log
/private/var/log/system.log
:
:

[There were more matches in /private/var/log, but logs are probably not the best answer.]

Hmm, even though i excluded stuff in the /var/vm directory, grep seemed to get lost somewhere (or at least took much longer to finish than i felt like waiting). So i did ^C to get a prompt back.


idunno, i think the quest for a single magic file —other than SystemVersion.plist —where Apple gets the OS version from is perhaps folly. My guess is that's where they look first, and if that fails (for some strange reason), then they fallback to some error routine that tries other "likely" places.

In fact, wasn't it by manipulating SystemVersion.plist that some hackers have been able to fool Apple's updaters into installing stuff that otherwise would be refused?


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/19/11 10:18 AM)
Edit Reason: swapped in -F and -l options to grep for faster, leaner output.

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#19279 - 11/19/11 10:32 AM Re: installer refuses to install [Re: Virtual1]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
PS - i guess we've reached the point where we don't even mention "permissions" anymore? smirk
The assumption being you have done a DURP run already, as that would be relevant here. tongue

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#19286 - 11/19/11 07:19 PM Re: installer refuses to install [Re: Hal Itosis]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Quote:
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
I have seen cases where the software KNOWS what version of OS is installed even though the systemversion.plist is GONE,

Cases? (plural), really? How would that situation even arise? [what would ever make that particular file go away?]

rm for example wink


Quote:
But okay, using this as a starting point...

$ sysctl -n kern.osversion
10K549

... i then ran this command:
[font:Courier]
$ sudo grep -F -l -r 10K549 /System/Library /private/{etc,var/[^v]*} 2>/dev/null

Although build number is occasionally referenced, it seems to go more on the actual version number ("10.5.8" etc)

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