OS X Snow Leopard Installation Process Changes Described?

AppleInsider has received information detailing a number of changes to the installation process for Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X Snow Leopard in comparison to the process for OS X Leopard. Notable changes include the preservation of minor point updates upon reinstallation, a shifting of Rosetta and QuickTime 7 to optional installs, and removal of the "Erase and Install" and "Archive and Install" options from the basic installer to reduce user confusion, although the options are still available via Disk Utility.

- Although Rosetta and Quicktime 7 are both included on the Mac OS X 10.6 installation DVD, both are designated as optional installs by default. However, if Mac OS X 10.6 is being installed on a Mac that contains a registration a key for Quicktime 7 Pro, the installer will install Quicktime 7 automatically.

- Options to "Erase and Install" and "Archive and Install" are no longer present in the Mac OS X 10.6 installer. According to those familiar with the software, this was done for convenience, so that users do not accidentally erase and install their Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard partitions. However, "Erase and Install" remains available through Disk Utility, which is also included on the installation DVD.

- If you need to reinstall 10.6, it automatically archives and installs for you.

- A reinstallation will not affect your Mac OS X version number. In other words, reinstallation of Mac OS X 10.6 on a Mac that contains Mac OS X 10.6.1 (when it becomes available) will not overwrite any new components delivered by 10.6.1. So when the re-install is complete, you will still be running Mac OS X 10.6.1. This will save users considerable time.

Additionally, the installer will copy a large chunk of data from the installation disc to the user's hard drive at the beginning of the installation process, allowing the bulk of the process to occur on the user's drive rather than constantly transferring data from the optical media. The Snow Leopard installer will also sequester existing applications known to be incompatible with the updated operating system, allowing for more reliable system behavior upon upgrading.

Finally, the report notes that word of a Snow Leopard release as early as August 24th has been suggested, although there is no confirmation of that information at this time. Apple has previously stated that it is scheduling a September launch of the new operating system.

A new Mac OS X Snow Leopard build (10A432) has reportedly been designated "Golden Master", paving the way for manufacturing of optical media for retail distribution. Mac OS X Snow Leopard will be priced at $29 for current OS X Leopard owners, and users purchasing a new Mac on June 8th, 2009 or later can receive the updated operating system for $9.95 though Apple's "Up to Date" program.

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