Check what the OS X installer is doing

InstallerIconXWhen you install applications in OS X, you usually download an installer in a .dmg image from the developer, in which there is either the program itself ready to be dragged into your Applications folder, an installation program to run from the disk image itself, or an installation package.

The later of these options will look like an orange box, and when double-clicked will launch the OS X installer program. This program will run you through the steps for installing the package contents, which is usually just a bunch of sequential information before you finally install the package.

In these steps, you will eventually see a progress bar, and then quit the installer to launch your program.

While this process usually goes without problems, sometimes it may be useful to see exactly what the installer is doing, including where files are being copied, and any any errors or warnings encountered with the installation process.

Installer log in OS X

The installer log, shown behind the main installer window here, shows details on what was installed, and where (click image for larger view).

To see this, you can view the installer’s log window, which is accessed by choosing “Installer Log” from the Window menu, or by pressing Command-L. In the window that appears, you will see a subset of the contents of the system’s “install.log” file, which can be viewed in its entirety in the system console (specifically in the /var/log directory). You can now choose to show only errors, errors and installation progress, and all logged items from the drop-down menu at the top-left of the window.

With the information in the installation log, you can see where a program and its components were installed, as well as when authentication (if any) was granted, and who the user was who installed the program. These may help you troubleshoot a faulty installation, or investigate how a program was installed on a system.

One thought on “Check what the OS X installer is doing

  1. MaX

    Quite useful tip. Thanks!
    Also applications like fseventer can help:


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