The Apple OS X Mavericks installation troubleshooting guide

October 24, 2013 6:05 AM EDT

Apple [AAPL] introduced the Mavericks OS as a free upgrade Tuesday. 11 percent of Mac users have already installed the OS, but there have been some reported installation problems. This is what to do:

Apple OS X Mavericks Installation Troubleshooting Guide

[ABOVE: Apple's Mavericks OS is already installed on around 11 percent of active Macs, claims GoSquared.]

Don't Panic!

Before you upgrade do prepare your Mac for the process following these steps. Most users who follow these steps enjoy stress-free Mavericks upgrades. 

If you won't follow those steps installation problems can be minimized by running Disk Utility to Verify and Repair your Disk beforehand. Please backup your data first. Let me stress that one more time: Please back up your data before you upgrade your system. Honestly -- it is tedious and time consuming but it makes absolute sense.

If you've succesfully installed Mavericks, but think performance may be less than you expect, please take a look at this report: How to improve Mac performance: OS X Mavericks edition.

If you are having problems, three words: "Don't Panic".

Now read on…

Three main known problems:

  • Stuck Downloads
  • Hard disk errors
  • Hung installation

The solutions

Stuck Download

If your Mac App Store download stops progressing quit the Store, restart your system and try to download Mavericks again. An estimated 11 per cent of Mac users have already installed the OS, so lots of people are downloading the software simultaneously. Try again a little later to avoid the crowd.

Hard disk errors

Some Mac users receive an error message warning the OS X Installer thinks their disk may be damaged when they begin installation.

  • Reboot your Mac
  • Hold down Command-R immediately after hearing the boot chime on startup
  • Recovery partition loads
  • Open Disk Utility in this partition
  • Run Disk Repair

Reboot normally and try the installation again -- it should work.

Hung installation

You're installer runs fine but progress has halted. Don't interrupt the process immediately -- installation can take a while and in many cases any slight flaws will be automatically repaired by the installer, so give it an hour before moving to the next step.

If the installer hasn't yet restarted your Mac to install Mavericks (ie. Your original OS X system is running) then reboot:

  • Attempt to quit Mavericks installer
  • If this fails Force Quit the installer
  • Reboot the system
  • Repeat the installation (you'll either find it in the Applications folder or you can re-download it from the Mac App Store).

If the installer has restarted your Mac to install Mavericks then things may be a little more troublesome:

  • Force Restart your system by holding down the power button.
  • Hopefully the system will restart in your previous OS X version
  • Run Disk Utility to Repair permissions and Disk.
  • Run any general maintenance software you may own (eg. Onyx)
  • Download and reinstall the most recent Combo update for your OS (available here)
  • Repeat the installation (you'll either find the installer in the Applications folder or you can re-download it).

If the system does not restart in your previous OS X version then you must reinstall the OS.

  • Reboot with Command R keys depressed
  • Restore your system from backup or use the OS X installation tool to reinstall (NB: Hopefully your data will remain safe)
  • Try to install Mavericks.

Should any of these steps fail, please look to Apple Support. If you encounter other problems with your Mavericks installation then please let us know in comments below.

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