Tiger Resets Defaults, Users Complain

Updated: Users say the operating system can reset the default browser and change e-mail configuraion; some call the changes "Microsoft-like."

As more users begin to install and play around with Tiger, Apples Mac OS 10.4, reports are surfacing that the operating system changes some application defaults upon installation.

For example, Tiger can sometimes reset the default browser to Safari, even if a user had set it to Firefox in a past version.

Some users are complaining that the same thing occurs with e-mail programs, as Tiger changes their configuration to Mac Mail.

"The most annoying effect for me was that BBEdit lost all its file associations, of which Id made dozens," said one user, Allen Pike. "However, its not like Apple stole them. Many files reverted back to being associated with Dreamweaver MX."

Other users have groused that the default changes are "Microsoft-like," and given the bad feelings that some Mac devotees harbor toward the Redmond behemoth, the comment is not complimentary.

Some have suspected the configuration changes to be a bug that could be changed in future versions.

The company is investgating the issue, according to an Apple spokesman. "But I can confirm that Apple is not intentionally changing defaults in Tiger," he said late Friday.

Although the general lack of loud uproar from the Mac community could be an indication that Apple users are more forgiving than Microsoft users, it is more likely an illustration of how familiar users have become with technical glitches and default changes.

"Just like Microsoft, Apple sets certain defaults because thats the way the operating system works best," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg.

"If there were something more insidious happening, like Tiger deleting Internet Explorer, then people might have a reason to be paranoid. But as it is, it doesnt seem like theres anything untoward going on."

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about the potential impact of problems with Tiger.

Lack of wider criticism could also be because the issue isnt affecting all Tiger users.

Tim Bajarin, president of analyst firm Creative Strategies, said he installed Tiger at both work and home, and had different experiences with both systems.

The older system, which he had at home, had a few default changes, but Bajarin noted that on his work machines, Tiger asked about default switches before making them.

"I think this might be a matter of different systems reacting in different ways to Tiger," he said. "Some people could have problems, while others will be fine."

Also, the issue is similar to other Apple OS upgrades, so only first-time Mac OS upgraders will be surprised, said Gartenberg.

With the last OS version, Panther, difficulties cropped up with Firewire hard drives, for example.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include information and comments from an Apple representative.

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