Anyone else get errors on upgrading macOS to Big Sur?

Over the past couple of months I’ve upgraded two separate machines from Catalina to Big Sur. Both completed the installation, rebooted, then presented a scary error to the effect of “The installation failed, you need to wipe your entire disk and start again”.
As it turns out, rebooting & manually selecting the startup disk was enough to fix the error.

I’m curious how unlucky I have to be to have this happen twice though, and was wondering if the common factor was that both had nix installed using a separate volume (sh <(curl -L --darwin-use-unencrypted-nix-store-volume)

Have any other nix users upgrade from Catalina to Big Sur? Did you experience anything like this, or am I grasping at straws?

This sounds a lot like an issue that’s been pinned in the Nix repo since early February:

If you run dscl . -list "/Users" on both of the systems, do you see a number of nixbld users? Your install command suggests you would have a single-user install (which won’t create these users), but nix-darwin may also create them.

If you do have the users present, this is probably the same issue. If so:

  1. I could use your help composing any additional (for Catalina → Big Sur 11.? as appropriate) notes to add to the summary post so that it covers/reflects your experience. My goal in writing them so far is to just describe the process and quote any dialogs verbatim so that hopefully people in your situation find it sooner rather than later.
  2. This problem is reported to recur on future updates. If you don’t mind being a guinea pig, it’s good to get reports on future updates. If you don’t need the extra adrenaline, the issue I linked also links to a script for migrating the nixbld users to hopefully avoid a recurrence.

Oh yeah, that’s almost certainly the same issue. Sorry I missed it when searching originally. And yep, I’m using the multiuser install.

One of these machines is due for an update from 11.2.2 to 11.2.3, I’ll see if that triggers the problem again.

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Yeah, I hit the “Your computer booted to Recovery because a failure occurred during installation” error on upgrading 11.2.2 → 11.2.3. Took a couple of screenshots but I think you have all the information already in that github ticket.

One of these machines could be guinea pigged onto the 11.3 beta if it would help?

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More eyes are probably helpful for noticing changes in the behavior, if it isn’t otherwise disruptive. :slight_smile:

I did get the existing 11.3 note on a spare laptop enrolled in the 11.3 beta (maybe beta 2 or 3? it looks like I have an update to beta 4 available), but I have already migrated the nixbld users for that install so I’m not likely to notice further shifts.

Would you rather I try upgrading to 11.3 with or without the migration script?

Without, I think. I’ll go ahead and take my available updates to cover the migrated case.

Upgrading 11.2.3 → 11.3 beta 5 resulted in the same error ("Your computer booted to Recovery because a failure occurred during installation. An error occurred migrating user data during an install”).

Pretty sure the process was identical to all the other updates - it rebooted to macOS Recovery with “Select a user you know the password for”, I picked my user, entered the password, it gives me the “An error occurred…” message with a list of recovery options. I then rebooted, enter my password again, and the update completes. I didn’t see the “Set a password for each user on your Mac” prompt that you mention… though this Mac doesn’t have a T2 chip, maybe it’s tied to that?

Thanks :slight_smile:

The machine I used does have a T2, and it wouldn’t surprise me if T2 and FileVault both affect some of the particulars here. It’s also possible the behavior I saw was fixed or otherwise shifted between beta 3 and 5.

I forgot to update when the 2nd finished last night, but both of my updates (beta 3 → 4, 4 → 5 went clean with migrated users.