Snow Leopard is
coming upon us and it’s about time to upgrade. $29 is a sweet spot for this brand new operating system but is this evolutionary OS worth the loss of your precious data? No Way! I suggest playing this upgrade safe and preparing for the worst. Over the next few minutes I’m going to help your upgrade along by recommending steps you should take to make this processes as pain free as possible.
What You Need
- An External Hard Drive
- Time Machine
Before you do anything, it’s time for some maintenance. I went through the folders I use the most and deleted all the unnecessary files. From old documents to program DMG’s, I removed most of the unneeded bloat from my hard drive. Not only is this a generally good habit, it saves some space on your drive and makes your back-up that much shorter. From there, I sorted extraneous files and cleaned up my desktop. (Right now, the only icons on my screen are of the three hard drives.) Basically, I preformed spring cleaning in August.
I also suggest taking inventory of all the applications and preferences panes you have installed. Jotting down the few panes you have isn’t an issues but if, like me, you have a lot of apps hand writing them all down is troublesome. For that, open up terminal and type: “ls /Applications/ >> appsiuse.txt” without quotes. You’ll now have a text document with all your apps listed.
Check Your Software
Some maintenance every now and again is worth while but before investing any more time and money into this upgrade make sure the software you use most is supported. If you NEED a certain application and for whatever the reason, it doesn’t work, you’re in trouble. If you have a back-up you could reinstall leopard and restore you’re back-up but that’s a hassle. Use this wiki to check what software is currently supported in snow leopard before moving on.
The bread and butter of this post: protecting your data from failure. It’s highly recommended that you back-up your computer regularly but I cannot stress how important this is now. Installing a new OS posses the largest risk for error and you can never be too careful with your documents and irreplaceable media.
While other tools such as carbon copy cloner and SuperDuper work well, I’ll be using time machine for this post. Grab a clean external hard drive, firewire is recommended for speed and the ability to boot from the drive, and plug it into your mac. From there, go into your applications folder, launch time machine and turn it on.
Now, just let the program run it’s course. When you first enable time machine it will create a complete back-up of your computer. For me, after maintenance and moving youtube videos/events to a different external hard drive, I had about 170GB of data that needed to be backed up. This process can take some time so I recommend backing up your entire hard drive the day before your upgrade. This saves time when you have snow leopard in hand and allows you some breathing room to resolve any issues you may have.
That’s everything you should do before installing snow leopard. The easiest way to upgrade is to choose upgrade in the snow leopard installation interface. Ideally, it will install snow leopard and keep all your settings, documents, and media the way you left them in leopard. However, for those of you who want to start fresh, you can always wipe your drive clean and install snow leopard by it’s self. From there, you can restore your data from time machine or just start from the beginning: it’s your choice. I plan to detail this process, in video, in the near future so stay tuned and subscribed.