Leopard can’t upgrade non-journaled drives

Last week I was hired by a client to upgrade four workstations from Tiger (OS X 10.4) to Leopard. Three upgrades completed normally. In one instance, the system upgrade failed repeatedly on a Mac Pro because the startup drive was formatted as Mac OS X Extended, rather than Mac OS X Extended (Journaled).

In evaluating the situation, I initially thought I could resolve the issue by journaling the startup drive using ProSoft Engineering’s Drive Genius program that is installed on a diagnostic firewire drive that I carry in my travel kit. To my dismay and surprise, journaling the system volume using Drive Genius didn’t allow me to upgrade the OS.

Reviewing the situation further, I noticed that the workstation’s internal drive was partitioned into two volumes. I recognized the secondary volume as an emergency startup system (eDrive) that was created with TechTool Pro. From the vantage point of the OS X Installer, the target disk that also included the eDrive partition was still being viewed as an unjournaled drive.

Therefore, to complete the Leopard installation on the problematic workstation, I backed up the boot and eDrive volumes to separate disk images that I created with Disk Utility, and then reformatted the startup drive into two journaled partitions that were sized at their previous specifications.

Apple has posted a couple of FAQs describing common techniques for resolving problematic OS X installations.


However, I found that none of the FAQs describe the problem or solution that I implemented at the client site. A routine task that normally takes 30-45 minutes to complete, ended up taking a half day.

Mac OS X 10.5 Help
What is a Mac OS Extended (journaled) volume?

Mac OS Extended format is a hard disk format that increases the number of allocation blocks on the disk from previous disk formats used by the Mac OS. This format also allows more than 65,000 files on the hard disk. Mac OS Extended format optimizes the storage capacity of large hard disks by decreasing the minimum size of a single file.

A Mac OS Extended volume can be journaled, which means that the operating system keeps a continuous log (journal) of the changes made to the files on the volume. This helps the operating system restore the volume to a usable state when a power failure or other problem interrupts the disk’s operation and damages files.



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Filed under Apple Software, Troubleshooting

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