Mountain Lion and the ancient AirPort Base Station

Christopher Breen
2 August, 2012
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Reader Nick Hamilton finds himself stuck between old hardware and a new operating system. He writes:

I have an older AirPort Express Base Station. I recently installed Mountain Lion and have found that its version of AirPort Utility doesn’t work with this Base Station—when I try to select the base station I’m told that I need AirPort Utility 5.6. I downloaded that version but when I attempt to install it Mountain Lion tells me it’s not supported. What do I do?

Mountain Lion is telling you an untruth. That version of AirPort Utility will run on your Mac (even under Mountain Lion) and work with your Base Station. The fly in the ointment in this case is the installer. It simply refuses to install this perfectly fine utility.

The way around is to extract the utility from the installer package. For this kind of thing I always turn to CharlesSoft’s US$20 Pacifist. Pacifist lives to open .pkg package files, .dmg disk images, and .zip, .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, and .xar archives and extract their contents. I ran this very package through Pacifist, located the application, extracted it, and it ran like a champ on my MacBook Pro—allowing me to configure an ancient AirPort Express Base Station.


4 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. AussieMacUser says:

    Good article – I have an older Time Machine and a similar thing happened. However, while I was able to run the Mountain Lion update, I could not use Time Capsule, even though I could see previous backups. For some reason, the Time Capsule program could not point to the Time Machine when I tried to save the next backup. (However, the Time Machine eventually had to be replaced by Apple for other reasons)

  2. Laith says:

    Oh My Gosh!!!… …Thank you SO MUCH!!!… …I was also just having this same trouble in Lion a few weeks ago and kinda gave up. I got my AirPort Express back in 2005 while living in Japan, and just recently got my hands on a really cheep Zeppelin speaker system so dug it out from the back of the cupboard so I could AirPlay to it.

  3. Ben says:

    what the hell is going on with the app store can not get any of my updates or a version of the new operating system (mountain lion) have been trying for about 2 weeks now all to a no avail starting to get a little bit pissed off any answers would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Heaps Ben Rigby

  4. Chris says:

    Excellent service Macworld – thanks for providing the useful knowhow we do not get enough of from Apple or Adobe or pretty much anyone these days…

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