Does the Lion upgrade preserve symlinks at the root level?
August 2, 2011 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Will an upgrade to OSX Lion from Snow Leopard preserve or destroy my /Applications symlink?

My boot disk is a hard drive, but my /Applications directory is a symlink to an SSD. If I upgrade to Lion, will it keep this, or destroy the symlink and add a new (mostly empty) /Applications folder?
posted by Caviar to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
If it does, it is trivial to fix, especially with Lion's Finder's new "merge folders" feature when copying that will let you update your real Applications folder with Lion's updated apps.
posted by kindall at 6:30 PM on August 2, 2011

I suspect the installer will want to dump the Lion versions of the standard MacOS X apps (Mail, Safari, iCal, etc) into /Applications and not respect a symlink. Even though I did the upgrade a few days ago, I don't remember the installer having a lot of customization to it.
posted by birdherder at 6:31 PM on August 2, 2011

This is a good question. I should probably know this with 100% certainty, but I don't.

That said, I very strongly suspect the installer will respect your symlink. Obviously all caveats about having good, tested backups apply here.

But, I mean, Software Update respects it, correct?
posted by churl at 9:33 PM on August 2, 2011

There's a lot of changes under the hood of Lion. You definitely want to have a good backup in-place before you upgrade to Lion. I'm a moderator on a Mac users board, and I can't recall an upgrade that has frustrated/angered/confused seasoned Mac users the way lion has. I haven't come across a member post dealing with your specific question, though. Birdherder is correct that the Lion installer is probably going to add the normal Apple apps back into a normal Apps folder. This would include all the Utilities, too.

I would also suggest you double-check that all of the apps you rely on are Lion-compatible.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:38 AM on August 3, 2011

I've been running Lion on a few other machines, so I have a pretty good idea of what's working already. This is the only one with a root-level symlink though. Software Update does respect it.
posted by Caviar at 5:43 AM on August 3, 2011

Update: I tried this, and it doesn't preserve the symlink. It moved all of my applications to a real /Applications folder on the root drive, and the SSD directory was mostly empty after the upgrade. As near as I can tell, the installer actually moves your applications out of /Applications (at this point, it was the symlink) to a temporary directory, merges the updated applications from Lion into that directory, wipes out the root folders and replaces them, and then moves your applications back into /Applications.

That said, it seems to work fine after I restored the symlink.
posted by Caviar at 5:06 PM on August 12, 2011

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