Some users have reported graphics issues, including lags, stalls or slowdowns in video playback, artifacts or corruption (particularly when moving windows) and more after updating to Mac OS X 10.6.4.
Users have also reported complete system freezes when exiting a screen saver, sometime in conjunction with VMware. This problem may be accompanied by the error message “”A serious error has occurred inside your computer’s OpenGL graphics drivers.”
Other users have reported issues with Steam from Valve and some Blizzard games including Starcraft 2.
A Valve technical support representative posted the following message to the company’s support forums:
“The recent 10.6.4 update from Apple has noticeable performance issues for NVidia graphic chip owners running high performance games. If you wish to avoid this, you should consider waiting to install the 10.6.4 update until Apple has had the opportunity to address this issue.”
These issues may be related to OpenGL changes made in the Mac OS X 10.6.4 update.
Option #1 — try this first
Download the Mac OS X 10.6.4 combo updater, which weighs in at a hefty 887MB but is a troubleshooting godsend. Quit all open applications and run the installer.
Option #2 — if option #1 fails, try this.
Booting your Mac in Safe Mode then simply restarting normally is one of the most overlooked, most effective procedures for solving a variety of issues after an incremental Mac OS X update. The reason for its efficacy: booting in Safe Mode forces a disk directory check, clears potentially problematic cache files and performs other routines, detailed here.
To boot in Safe Mode, hold the Shift key while your Mac is starting up. After booting in Safe Mode, simply restart normally (without holding the Shift key) and check for persistence of the issue.
Option #3 — if options #1 and #2 fail, try this.
Downgrade to Mac OS X 10.6.3. Although this option eliminates important security fixes included in Mac OS X 10.6.4, along with any other enhancements, it may be the best best if options #1 and #2 prove ineffective.
Reinstall (if you don’t have a current Time Machine backup). Insert your Snow Leopard installation disc, then restart while holding down the C key. When prompted, choose the normal “Install” option. Make sure to select “Preserve Users and Network Settings.”
After installation, you’ll be left with an earlier iteration of Mac OS X 10.6.x (most current retail discs include Mac OS X 10.6.2), but an otherwise largely intact system. Download the Mac OS X 10.6.3 combo updater and apply it if your disc has an earlier version of Snow Leopard. You may need to restore some saved username/password information, browser information, etc.
Restore from Time Machine Backup. If you have a current Time Machine backup. Connect the Time Machine backup disk, then insert your Snow Leopard installation disc, then restart while holding down the C key. After selecting your language, go to the Utilities menu and choose“Restore from Time Machine Backup.” Choose your Time Machine backup disk and choose a backup iteration directly prior to when you installed the Mac OS X 10.6.4, and continue with the process.
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Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.