Yosemite gone wonky? Fixing an OS X systems failure

“Back in October, I wrote, ‘So far, Yosemite has been out about a week and we’re not hearing posts about systems failing terribly.’ And, other than Wi-Fi problems, we haven’t heard all that much about Yosemite being a nightmare,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “That is, until last night, when my machine crashed right after I upgraded to Yosemite.”

“Unfortunately, shortly after upgrading, my machine became unusable,” Gewirtz writes. “Here’s what happened. All of a sudden, I couldn’t see any applications in my Applications folder. If I tried to run an application by using an existing Dock item or shortcut, it would run. But if I tried to move an application into the Applications folder or look at the contents, nothing.”

“I write about new technology and if I don’t eat my own dog food, I won’t be able to tell you about my experiences,” Gewirtz writes. “So, this last 24 hours of pain-in-the-butt has been all for you! You’re welcome.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Late 2009 iMac upgraded after first week… No problems. Sorry, if you wanted to write about something for us, be the point of the spear and not yak about what other have experienced.
    You were lazy and waited until your candy arse was sure of no problems. Now, it sounds like you did not even use Time Machine or even keep a backup.
    Really, I think you are the follower for your own security… This time it bit you back.

    Oh, I did a Time Machine backup just in case and no need to do it for me since I was one of the early adopters and not one of the late followers. Geez!

    1. Time Machine is great for files and such, but for a major OS upgrade I don’t trust it enough.

      Before I do a major OS upgrade I run all the usual “clean up” software. (No one piece of software catches everything so I run a few different ones.) Then, I do a full disk image duplication (same hardware and all) backup. Finally with a guaranteed, clean, bootable disk safely away, I upgrade my main drive.

      I haven’t had a significant problem upgrading since OS X, 10.1. But, I still follow this routine. Better safe than sorry.

      1. Can you name some of the clean up software that you use? My upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mavericks had a few issues where Mavericks didn’t (and still doesn’t) work right. I would like to clean out anything I can before I do the leap to Yosemite.

      2. My routine is similar, except I always have a mirrored drive and keep a Time Machine archive. Actually, I have mirrored (Carbon Copy Cloner) drives in separate locations.

        However when it comes time to upgrade, I make sure all mirrors and archives are up to date first, then I run cleaning software (Onyx), and then one more mirror/archive update.

        At issue, is that if something happens during the cleaning process I want to be able to restore.

        One last think I do before upgrading… I wait.

        There’s no point in being the first person. I have multiple Macs, so I upgrade one that isn’t needed, and test all of my software on that first. However if you don’t have a backup Mac, I’d recommending waiting a while to see what gets reported.

  2. my old 2009 mac pro is working PERFECTLY! Upgrade was seamless and I love the new typeface San francisco that I now use – I hope this guy backed up all his files and installed the correctly.

  3. strange you wanted to spend 24 hours with that.

    One of the Yosemite installs on one of my Macs wanted to act up, it was slow etc… so what did I do, I erased it all and made a new clean install.
    …no 24 hr nightmare trying to fix what wasn’t to be fixed.
    and what, it worked fine after.

    Did I miss something here.

    1. Yosemite is ugly in some very obvious ways. They can’t even get the menu bar to look half decent. Who’s idea was it to make the Help > Search item have a grey background? I did install the San Francisco font and like the appearance a bit better, but certain applications still suffer a downgrade in user experience due to the colour changes. Performance seems to have taken a slight hit on my MacBook Air, as well.

      1. I installed the SF font as well, I like it.
        only one issue with it though.. my VPN software looks like crap with it.. all other apps work fine. VPN software font is skinny, jagged, some places a PITA to read.. glad I really only use 1 button and a drop down box.
        Pretty sure it’s the client.. not Yosemite though.

        Other than that tweak, I use cDock to get a 3D dock in Yosemite. (and color sidebar in finder)

        I had major WiFi issues back when Lion hit.. As did many.. But every OS X release/update where people have run into WiFi issues.. I have been fine. (knocks heavily on wood)

        When I upgraded to Mavericks.. My Time Machine had extreme problems.. It’s a Firewire drive, but also has USB 3. Apple couldn’t figure it out.. Even total clean install couldn’t fix it. The drive kept disappearing from Finder, even though I could see it in disk utility.. couldn’t eject it either.

        Finally figured it out. unplugged it from firewire.. used USB. problem went away.. unplugged it from USB after 2 weeks.. tried FW again. no problem..
        For whatever reason Mavericks was confused as to which way the HD was connected. Even after a clean install.. Never seen that before, but not having the issue anymore.
        (2011 iMac so I don’t have USB 3.. before someone says to keep using USB)

        2 Macs, both running smooth.

      2. Yikes! Saying ‘San Francisco’ font to senior users of Mac OS stirs some very bad memories. Take a look at the original ‘San Francisco’ font:

        No thank you!

        The ‘Yosemite San Francisco’ font is something totally different. (‘Sans’ Francisco, 😉 ) It is a slightly fatter rendition of Helvetica than the scrawny Helvetica in Yosemite. I like it much better. For those interested, it is available here:


  4. Zdnet technical writers, don’t appear to be technical, they appear to be ignorant. Technically, no computer will ever be without problems at some point, something will fail, or go wrong. Recovery on a Mac has always been far simpler then Windows, but even recovery can have issues if something is corrupt.. For all we know, he caused all of his own problems, and that conveniently, gets left out of the article, and of course all the lame comments from people that more than likely would not ever recover their Windows system without the Geek squad chime in,.. Nothing is perfect, but I’ll take a Mac over Windows any day of the week.

  5. On balance, I haven’t had many issues with Yosemite. But then again, I’m not a power user. My only two grips are these: 1) The ‘junk mail’ filter in mail doesn’t work ~ I keep receiving junk mail from sources I had no problem with under Mavericks; and, 2) The white trash can on the dock is plain ass stupid! On white backgrounds, one can barely see it since it looks like bird plop! Anyone know where to grab an icon to replace it? I’ve never seen a white trash can, except for the plastic ones used in the kitchen but never in an office anywhere!

  6. Lots of bugs all over Yosemite:

    Here are 2 on Mail after regular complaints about Mavericks Mail App.

    1- Open Apple Mail if you double click on a hotline it will open. Right (Control) click and elect open behind Mail from the menu and nothing happens.

    2-If you have multiple accounts running with a fairly large database, opening Mail will bring up an unable to log in dialog box. Apparently Mail is too stupid to spread out the logins when a get new mail/launch action happens.

    Both of these I have seen on multiple Macs on fast Cable Internet.

    There are plenty elsewhere, but Mail is a widely used app.

    1. I, too, have had problems with Mail. Multiple problems. Multiple instant quits, too. Still can’t ask it to open a link in the background, among other things. Speakable Items is still messed up. And there are other things not right.
      Having said all that, for some reason, I find myself being patient and just waiting for the updates that will fix it all. Maybe my frustrations will get to me later on but, for now, I’m just hoping Apple doesn’t take its sweet time releasing more updates.

    2. Hotlinks, I noticed this as well.. I figured it was some setting I had with Adblock or some other extension.

      Good to know it is a bug.
      Don’t have the #2 issue.

      Noticed a few times Mail showed iCloud email was offline.. yet still functioned. Even restarting Mail wouldn’t remove the disconnected icon.

  7. An obvious issue is that for some Yosemite worked perfectly. For many it does not, so for those of you that it works do not be too smug, remember, karma is a bitch.

    For me Yosemite install went quite good for about a wee, Then the subtitle crashes. Then this past few weeks it crashed multiple times a day. This last week it occurred four to five times a day. Of course I did all the normal things, Permissions, Verify disk, both from booting from Cmd + R. Then even tried TSMART, everything was good. Onyx could not find anything wrong nor could a hardware test.

    On my 2010 MBP copied off all my data then did a erase of the HDD. From there I did a fresh install of Yosemite. Installed the programs I needed all seemed okay. Went twenty-four hours then another crash. Now I know it is not hardware, it is Yosemite. Very much hoping Yosemite’s next version fixes all these issues.

    Because of these issues I do not know if it is Yosemite, or Yosemite and my hardware not working together. Almost went and purchased a MBA or iPad, hoping new hardware would stop these crashes. Maybe Yosemite is more demanding of older equipment. I remember when upgrading Windows we had similar issues, hardware was not up to it.

  8. From what I had previously read, I would not be able to answer my iPhone on my late 2009 iMac, but I can! Nice surprise. I sometimes have to click on my wifi network when waking from sleep, other than that, no issues.

  9. it’s hard to know what exactly caused the described upgrade problem. But I can verify, eas an Appleseed beta tester, that I still consider OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite to be glitchy and unfinished. I continue to NOT use it on any of my Macs as the main boot OS. I only run it on its own separate, non-critical boot volumes. It’s going to stay that way until I personally consider Yosemite to be ready for prime time on my hardware.

    And, of course, I don’t like the kindergarten inspired GUI changes, some of which are downright anti-functional. That includes the removal of the title bar in many standard Apple applications provided with Yosemite, especially Safari 8.


    However, I have to point out that the author of this article stated nothing about preparing his installation of OS X 10.9 Mavericks for the upgrade. Did he repair the boot volume before the upgrade? Did he repair the permissions on the boot volume before the upgrade? BOTH of these preparations are standard requirements before ANY OS update or upgrade. Creeping corruption, even with SSDs, is to be expected at all times.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.