El Capitan Install

Wow! I decided to wait for a week before installing El Capitan. Just have too much software for stuff to go wrong. I have been reading about peoples problems with this initial release of 10.11. I had a couple of them myself, but was able, for the most part, to work them out.

Overview

After reading about peoples issues on various websites I was a little taken back, but then not surprised when I thought about it. Just look at the amount of software alone out ther for the Mac. There is tons thanks to the App Store and all the Mac developers these days. Trying to make an OS work with all that stuff has got to be almost impossible. I was in the El Capitan Beta Program and thought it was coming along nicely, but there is just no way to test all that software and all those devices in a Beta program. Because of what I was reading during the first week of El Capitan I decided to do a bunch of preparation of my iMac in hopes of avoiding some of the grief.

Preparation

This is probably overkill but this is what I did to prepare my iMac for El Capitan. Remember, I have lots of software on this machine, much of it used, but some of it for testing for the Macessence blog.

1. I began by running CleanMyMac 3 and doing a general cleanup.
2. After a reboot, I ran Permisisons (something El Capitan takes care of behind the scenes)
3. I did a “Safe Boot” of the Mac (boot with Shift Key down) for more cleanup
4. I ran a Time Machine and Clone backup of the machine
5. I made sure the Clone was bootable
6. This goes without saying, but before and during the first week of El Capitan I updated bunches of my applications with El Capitan specific updates

After all of this, which took quite a while, I installed El Capitan. It is a 6 GB download.

The Install

After downloading El Capitan goes right into the install. The download took about 1 hour on my iMac, YMMV. The install took about 30 minutes or so. There is one restart during that time unlike a typical Windows install that restarts about 10 times. Just wanted to mention here that during the bootup process it sat there for about 10 minutes. It looks like it is stuck but it is not. Just wait it out, it will complete booting up eventually.

When the boot process is completed it takes you through the obligatory setup screens for iCloud and other stuff. I guess the whole process took close to two hours so be prepared to spend some time here.

Observations

When I first booted into El Capitan I had all kinds of SBBOD (spinning beach balls of death). It has a new pretty beach ball, but it still is annoying. It just seemed like everything was running so slowly. I did another restart which helped a little. After a while I noticed the SBBOD seemed to be associated with network activity. After doing a little research I decided to Flush the DNS, but Apple had removed the old way of doing that. I finally discovered this method online for the Terminal application:

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;say flushed

If you put the above info into your Terminal application and enter your account password it does Flush the DNS in your system. I then restarted and things got a little better.

At this point my main observation of El Capitan is that it is fast! Most activities are very snappy. However, there are still seveal SBBOD at times, especially with the Mail application (I will be staying with Postbox thank you).

Please note that I continue to run the El Capitan Beta on a separate HD. It has already had a couple of updates bringing it to 10.11.1. I am sure the .1 release is not too far away and am hopefull it will fix some of these bugs, especially the SBBOD stuff.

Conclusion

My advice at this point is this. If you have a lean machine and only do a couple of things on your Mac then it might be just fine to upgrade. However, if you are a power user and do tons of stuff on your Mac I would wait for 10.11.1 to be released. Most of my misison critical software is doing fine, but you might want to save yourself some of the bugginess and just wait for the first update.