So I installed the software updates this morning, it wanted to reboot but I was leaving for work. I decided to give the machine a rest, shut down and unplugged everything – forgetting that the battery has been taken out of the laptop (I figure why kill a perfectly good battery by leaving it in when it’s never used).
Booted it up this afternoon, and it took an unusually long time to apply the update but I didn’t think much of it… until the system finished booting and the Dock was constantly going away and reopening. Dock crash reporting is actually a fairly slow process on an iBook G4, so at least I could still use Finder – and eventually managed to open the Console.
I saw some strange errors involving service versions – making me suspect that applying updates without the time set is a bad idea – and what appeared to be requests for quicklook indexing a video file right before the crash. I had video files in my download folder (showing up on the dock thanks to stacks) so I moved them to my desktop – and while the video thumbnail appeared, finder crashed. bingo.
Unfortunately removing Perian didn’t seem to help, so I rebooted. And nothing happened (you have no idea how hard it is to diagnose problems when the laptop’s monitor doesn’t work). I eventually managed to read the bootup text in verbose mode, and apparently the kernel does starts to load, gets past netboot and up to the hard drive… and then stops. I didn’t think Perian installed a kext but something killed the kernel.
Luckily for me, I do the superduper backup thing at 11pm every night and nothing significant happened between then and the update. Having heard about issues with Apple Software Updates before, I’m really not surprised (but I am really dissapointed) that one has caused my first ever need to restore from the backup.
I just wish there was a better way to know what happened, and what the cause was so I can avoid it next time. My impressions of quicklook have been very bad so far (there’s no obvious way to turn video thumbnails off, it seriously chews up bandwidth on network drives, and apparently it can send the Dock into an infinite crash cycle). Chalk up a point for “things that would never happen or are recoverable without formatting your HDD on Windows”.
I’ve never tested the SuperDuper backup because this old G4 doesn’t want to boot from my FireWire drive… wish me luck 😦