Monday, October 11, 2004

Limitation of Apple's OS X setup Assistant system migration utility: Kernel Extensions

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Following up on issues with Apple's new Setup Assistant (included with the iMac G5, Power Mac G5, and other new Macs), we realized that it has at least one critical limitation: When you use it to migrate from another Mac system, even one that's up to date with the latest Mac OS X software, Setup Assistant apparently excludes kernel extensions ('.kext'), causing certain applications to fail. A perfect example is PGP Disk, which needs /Library/Extensions/PGPdiskDriver.kext to function. Another is Kensington's MouseWorks.
You'll have to manually re-install these applications, but it's not obvious which they are. You can search for 'kext' in the Finder, which is a start. You can dig deeper using Terminal to issue Unix commands. For example, you can type

kextstat -k

to list active kernel extensions. ('kextload' and 'kextunload' provide dynamic control over the loading and unloading of kernel extensions, but dependencies among extensions could create technical issues that may be very tricky to navigate.)

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