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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.


How Not to Reinstall a Server

March 16, 2004

A past client called recently because their OS X 10.1/Filemaker Pro webserver went down. Their current "support" company had been trying to bring a semblance of reliability back to the thing for months.

When I arrived onsite I found a brand-new install of Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" sitting on the server— not the server version; it wasn't even a version the client owned (and the client is a Federal Gov agency— whoboy). Filemaker had been restored from backup, but none of the web server files were in the correct place, and the webserver connector was not installed. Ok, enough complaining, I won't bore you with trying to find software, data files, etc.

The thing about old servers is you should leave well enough alone. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. OS X 10.1 server is no exception.

After an erase-install of OS X 10.1 Server, and an install of Filemaker Pro (5.5) and the webserver connector, things were going along swimmingly until the server went online for real. Then Filemaker locked up at the first access. Ok, so I grabbed the Filemaker update to 5.5v2 and that problem went away.

Then I decided to put Retrospect back on the server, since it needed to be backed up, right? Retrospect 5.0x wanted Mac OS X 10.1.2 or higher. A trip to Software Update gave me a notice about having to download a new version of Installer. After doing this, no more updates were available. I tried to manually install 10.1.2 and 10.1.3, but got an error that I needed the Installer Update. ...Ok..., so I tried to install that. Nope.

I was in a vicious cycle of searching for updaters, finding the same ones over and over and not being able to install any of them. Finally a search through the entire knowledge base for "Installer Update Software Update" revealed this article which described the problem I was having. Apparently the default page that 10.1 Software Update currently directs you to will break 10.1 for any further updates— yet the fix is not an easy to find document if you are following instructions.

Installing this new update, I was able finally to install all subsequent updaters and bring the server fully back on line as well as add it to the nightly backup routine.

Moral of the Story, Part 1: hire a support company that actually knows about the products they are supporting; Part 2: don't trust Software Update, check around.