LittleBITS: New Year’s Resolution, macOS Upgrades, Ad Hoc Wi-Fi Networks

Originally published at: LittleBITS: New Year’s Resolution, macOS Upgrades, Ad Hoc Wi-Fi Networks - TidBITS

Feeling overwhelmed by negativity? Adam Engst shares some 2021 wrap-up posts showing that even in a pandemic-ridden year, a lot of good stuff happened that didn’t make the headlines. He also looks at the solution to a macOS upgrade problem and explains how to bring back the menu command for creating an ad hoc Wi-Fi network.

…due to CVS failing to return the COVID-19 PCR test results he needed to fly to Canada within the required 72-hour time frame.

Ha, excellent topic!

Can anybody here point us to COVID-19 test options that result in a proper testing certificate (as needed for international air travel) yet can still be carried out at home? I’ve heard of such options that require a video chat with the supplier while you do the swab and then upon conclusion they email you your test certificate. For my own purposes, antigen would work just as well as PCR, as long as I can get the results within 24 hrs of departure. Can anybody point me to something they’ve had success with and that you can actually get shipped these days? :slight_smile:

I hear this is what Google is using for its employees who have to travel.

Regarding the upgrade issue where the progress bar stopped for 8 hours - I recently had a Big Sur VM under Parallels that I upgraded to Monterey, and the progress bar also stopped for a very long period of time. After a while, I shut down the VM and then started it back up again, and it booted into Monterey without any other issues. Apparently, there are cases where the upgrade keeps on going, but the progress bar gets stuck.

New York City offers free at home testing for seniors and for anyone who is immunocomprimised, as well as for those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, or those who live in an area, or who work, or have been in a setting in which positive testing levels are high (which turns out to be almost all of NYC). And a if family, groups of friends, roommates have been exposed, they can be tested at the same time in the same home. The tests are administered by qualified professionals, and certificates are available to those who request them:

New York City also offers free in home vaccinations to those who cannot make it to another facility.

Some time ago, at the recommendation of a TidBITS Talk contributor, I created a second admin account on each Mac in the house. Would that have simplified Tonya’s upgrade recovery? Has the installer been known to downgrade all users? In Tonya’s case, was her iMac left with no admin users at all?

Good thinking. But it didn’t help—for whatever reason, all the admin accounts on her Mac were downgraded to standard.

I’ve experienced the multi-hour OS upgrade in the past. It turned out to be because of having TexLive installed. Does Tonya use that? My best recollection is that what happens is the upgrade process moves and restores all the files in the folder where TexLive installs its many thousands of tiny files (maybe /usr/local). It takes forever. I also remember there was a control key I could press to see a status window showing what the upgrade was doing (which was how I identified the TexLive files as the issue). Maybe Ctrl+L or Ctrl+T. I know Ctrl+T works to get status when using dd to copy disk images.

Edit: Looks like it’s Ctrl+L

1 Like

Interesting! No, Tonya had nothing like that, but I’m dying to try Command-L during an update now.

1 Like

:astonished: Am I the only one here who feels like he’s never heard of cmd-L during updates before?

1 Like

It’s certainly the first I’ve ever heard of it. Come on, Apple, I need an update to test! :slight_smile:

How did Tonya do the upgrade to Big Sur? I need to do the same upgrade to my Mojave 2014 iMac. Instead of an over the top upgrade, was considering a clean install of Big Sur on my iMac, then running Migration Assistant on external bootable CarbonCopyCloner clone to bring files over. Originally I was going to do a full clean install, but will save that for a future Monterey upgrade on a new Mac. Any thoughts appreciated.

Assuming the old version of macOS is running fine…then IMHO either an over the top upgrade or a new install and MA from either the original drive or a clone are fundamentally identically…all the operating system components and apps get upgraded to the new pieces and the old ones get deleted and all old extensions, preferences, etc, etc, etc from /Library and ~/Library get copied over and all user installed apps and home directories get copied over.

Some folks like the “clean install” because you get rid of “any old cruft” that’s hanging around on the old drive and there’s something to be said for that…but if the “old cruft” isn’t hurting anything then carrying it over still doesn’t hurt anything. You would gain however much drive space was previously used up by said “old cruft”…but with current drive sizes this is mostly a non issue.

The only way to actually not have all all the old cruft carried over…is to do a clean install and then reinstall every app, utility, and whatnot from original downloads or the App store…and to really do a clean install one also needs to not migrate home directories as a lot of said “old cruft” is actually inside the home directory. Doing a real, actual clean install is pretty time consuming by the time you dig up all the old serial numbers, download the latest versions of whatever you want to install, do it all over again because you forgot something important, and doing every bit of preference customization and toolbar layouts and etc, etc, etc.

You have to weigh the time involved vs the gain received in drive space and no longer having all the “old cruft” around…and personally I think it’s just not worth it unless your old macOS is having issues. I’ve done over the top upgrades for years and while my new M1 Pro MBP did have a fresh Monterey on it I used MA to move everything over from the previous laptop which was a 2015 rMBA running up to date Monterey. It wasn’t having any macOS issues so the time spent to start fresh just wasn’t worth it.

Mojave bugs & bit rot are getting to me. Over the top upgrades have worked fine in the past. Haven’t done a full clean install in over 15 years. If I were upgrading to Monterey on new M1 Mac, would really like to clean out cruft, but for now just want to move on. Big Sur upgrade is going to move a lot of files around to create SSV [Signed System Volume], so I thought maybe erase & Big Sur install, then Migration Assistant from external clone would be less churn on my internal SSD, and complete faster.

Just a standard upgrade. It’s usually not worth trying to do a clean install unless you know there are problems or if you’re trying to start fresh from a very messy system.

@neil1’s advice above is pretty much what I would have written too.