Snow Leopard users' 4 biggest gripes

Apple Genius Bars will likely be standing-room only this week as numerous user complaints about Snow Leopard spread across the Web. Snow Leopard received many favorable reviews, but that hasn't protected Apple's latest OS from gripes about annoyances, glitches, and problems that started with OS 10.5 that still haven't been addressed. Here's a list of some of the top user complaints about OS 10.6, gleaned from Apple's forums.

HP Printer Problems

Many difficulties centered on HP printers surfaced over the weekend, the main one being that the OS upgrade removes necessary drivers. Error #9672 appeared for dozens of users attempting to connect HP LaserJet P1006 -- and other printers -- to their Snow Leopard Macs.

Westhamunited says, "I contacted Apple Care and they suggested that I try to download a generic driver until HP updates the driver for the P1006. I also contacted HP and had no luck." Rickmeister, who claims to be an HP employee, clarifies the problem by saying "this printer is not supported yet from HP. Drivers are not on the [Snow Leopard] DVD or Apple software updates. [Snow Leopard] drivers for this printer are TBD from HP..."

The problem is further complicated by printers not connecting via wireless. Some found it functioning when plugged in via USB, but attempting to connect through Airport came with many problems. For those attempting to wirelessly connect, it's recommended you physically plug the printer into your computer and cross your fingers for the appropriate drivers.

Some Samsung printers were fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling drivers using the printer's packaged CD. Mary Jane Highfield shares: "Uninstalled and reinstalled the printer driver--while the printer was attached to the computer via USB cable (the instructions on the Samsung site say to do that), and then went to my Airport Utility and made sure the printer was listed (a step I had omitted before). Voila, my CLP-600n now prints wirelessly!"

Bricking and the Spinning Wheel of Death

For the several customers complaining about bricking (the inability to use the machine at all) and the spinning wheel of death (the Mac equivalent of Microsoft's blue screen of death), it appears Snow Leopard isn't the problem. Since Snow Leopard does not include a firmware upgrade, which could cause bricking, it instead exposes preexisting faults on your computer. User R C-R says, "What [Snow Leopard] can do, & do very well, is to expose a preexisting problem you weren't aware of. Typically, it is a hardware problem (especially marginal third party memory added to the Mac) or corruption of the file system on the hard drive, which basically causes the new OS not to be written to the drive correctly."

Some of the problems leading to the spinning wheel of death, which are not related directly to Snow Leopard installs: "... a forced or improper shutdown, sudden removal of power (not too likely in a laptop), or use of an inappropriate utility (like a too-old version of a disk utility) can cause small amounts of directory damage. Such corruptions never get better on their own, usually get worse over time & normal use, & really become critical when large numbers of files are written to the drive, like with an update or upgrade of the OS."

If you've tinkered under the hood of your Mac and install Snow Leopard, watch out. The forum regarding these crippling faults stretched for miles.

Incompatible Apps

Apple released an official list of incompatible software that just won't work with Snow Leopard. Some of them include:

* Parallels Desktop, v2.5 and earlier

* McAfee VirusScan, v8.6

* Norton AntiVirus v11.0

* Internet Cleanup 5 v5.0.4

* Application Enhancer v2.0.1 and earlier

* Unsanity

* AT&T Laptop Connect Card v 1.0.4, 1.0.5, 1.10.0

* launch2net v2.13.0

* iWOW plug-in for iTunes v2.0

* Missing Sync for Palm Sony CLIE Driver v6.0.4

* TonePort UX8 Driver v4.1.0

* ioHD Driver v6.0.3

* Silicon Image SiI3132 Drivers v1.5.16.0

Apple recommends checking with the vendors of products to see if updates are available. It's unsure as to why these programs no longer work on Snow Leopard.

Cisco VPN

Cisco VPN is a necessity for many business customers who need to remotely connect to company networks. Happily, Apple built Cisco VPN into Snow Leopard. Unhappily, many have experienced problems -- including some that say it just doesn't work.

Robert Williams5 reports, "I was very disappointed when the built-in Cisco VPN client wouldn't connect to my office network, but we're also using IPSec over UDP. The standalone Cisco client works great though. Come on Apple, surely you spent enough time with the Cisco clients to know that there's more than IPSec over TCP."

The solution here is to contact your IT department to get Cisco VPN reinstalled on your computer. Also try a complete reinstall. Those workarounds should evade further problems with TCP versus UDP.