Over the past few months I’ve been having some issues with my MacBook Pro. Random freezes and kernel panics were happening more than once a month, which is very uncommon for my laptop. I decided it was time to do a complete erase and install of OS X on my Mac. I was hoping to wait until OS X Lion was released, but the issues were really starting to annoy me so I just decided to go with it.
Quite frankly, the installation of OS X is the easy part. The backing up and preparation took longer than the install itself I believe. Below are the steps I used and I also included some good guidelines to limit any potential data loss. I made a conscience decision not to use Migration Assistant. Using Migration Assistant makes the process much easier, but I didn’t want to bring over any software or settings that might have been causing my issues.
- Make sure you have installation media for all programs and OS X (.dmg or CD/DVD)
- Have all serial keys handy; I use 1Password to keep track of my serial number information
- Take a screen shot of your Applications folder, it makes a good reference for adding your applications back after you install OS X
- If any programs make use of a library file (many do), make note of the location of that file
- De-authorize iTunes (do this just before shutting down for the final time before installing OS X)
- If you have an iOS Device, sync it with iTunes and sync any additional programs you can. I used my iPhone to sync 1Password, Money and MacGourmet data so that I could restore from my iPhone if necessary. This also works well for iCal and Address Book.
- If any important programs have an export feature, use it to export your data to your Documents folder (or elsewhere)
- Run Time Machine
- Use SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable backup. Also, test the clone to make sure you can properly boot from it.
- Make sure your off site backup is up to date (I use Backblaze)
- Install OS X
- Begin to install applications
- Restore Data
- Once you have all data restored and are comfortable with everything, begin your normal backup procedures
So that’s it. I hope this was a help to some of you. It should be very useful once OS X Lion comes out this summer.
As with most computers, the Mac can often become slower to start up once you have been using it a while. One of the most common things to slow computer start times are those programs that open upon boot. It’s good to look every once in a while to see what programs open upon boot up and evaluate if you still need them to do so.
To see what programs start at boot up, we just need a quick visit to System Preferences. Open System Preferences -> Accounts -> Your User Account -> Login Items.
If you see applications that you no longer need to open at boot, just highlight the application and click the minus button. You can also add applications by clicking the add button and browsing to the application and choosing it.
Want to read other articles for Mac Beginners? Just visit the Beginner Mac section here at Apple Mac HQ.
Unless you have been hiding in a secret underground lair, you probably know that Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard hits stores today. What you might not know is whether or not you should upgrade. The three most notable technology journalist have weighed in with their thoughts and they are fairly positive, though most conclude Snow Leopard isn’t a huge update.
Ed Baig, USA Today: “With Exchange and other technologies, Snow Leopard adds bite, especially for business. But as upgrades go, this one is relatively tame.”
Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal: “Apple already had the best computer operating system in Leopard, and Snow Leopard makes it a little better. But it isn’t a big breakthrough for average users, and, even at $29, it isn’t a typical Apple lust-provoking product.”
David Pogue, The New York Times: “Either way, the big story here isn’t really Snow Leopard. It’s the radical concept of a software update that’s smaller, faster and better — instead of bigger, slower and more bloated. May the rest of the industry take the hint.”
Have you upgraded to Snow Leopard yet? If so, share your comments below!
If you’re running the newest big cat, Leopard, you might want to run Software Update. Apple released OS X 10.5.4 today. You can find a moderately detailed list of changes in this Apple Support article.
Among the notable changes:
- Additional RAM image support
- Addresses Airport reliability issues with 5GHz networks
- Improves iCal reliability for meeting requests, cancellation notices, delegation, and syncing with iPhone
- Addresses an issue in which To Do’s cannot be marked private
- Addresses a potential performance issue when loading secure web pages in Safari
- Expose and Spaces improvements
The OS X 10.5.4 update is recommended for all previous versions of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. It includes general operating system improvements that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac. The 10.5.4 standalone installer weighs in at 88MB. On my MBP, the 10.5.4 combo update (yeah, I never installed 10.5.3) is a whopping 560MB. If you come across any issues installing the update, drop them in the comments.
If you’re sporting the newest OS X cat, Apple has a major treat for you. Fire up Software Update because 10.5.2 has landed. For me the update weighs in at 180MB, but your milage may vary. Apple has updated a slew of things in 10.5.2. Here are some of the highlights:
- Improved Airport connection reliability and stability
- Adds support for more third party routers with Back to my Mac
- List view, folder view, and an updated background with grid view in the Dock
- Ability to turn off menu bar transparency
- Addresses stability issues related to .Mac syncing of iCal calendars
- Improved accuracy of the Data Detectors feature
- Improved printing performance when using some Microsoft Office applications
- Adds support for certain printers connected to the USB port of an Airport Extreme or Airport Express base station
- Adds RAW image support for several cameras
- Improved accuracy of the grammar checker
- Adds a menu bar option for accessing Time Machine features
- Improved external drive recognition in Time Machine
It was just over a month ago when I named Quicksilver one of the applications I couldn’t live without in 2007. What a difference a month can make. I’m currently flying Quicksilver free and haven’t noticed a difference. So what’s different? Spotlight.
With the upgrade to Leopard a few weeks ago, I’ve found myself using Spotlight as my application launcher. A quick command + space and I’m tying in Spotlight as it’s narrowing my results. The vast majority of the time the first result is the applications and a quick stroke of the enter key has the application popping open.
In Leopard I have the added benefit of one less application taking up system resources and not having to wait until Quicksilver finishes loading before I can use my Macbook Pro after logging in. If you’re a Quicksilver user running Leopard and only used it for application launching, you should give Spotlight a try to see if it can replace Quicksilver. While I loved Quicksilver in 2007, I’m loving without it in 2008.
If you’re like me and still running with the old cat, you’re in for a surprise the next time Software Update is run. Apple released 10.4.11 yesterday and it contains a number of updates and fixes. You can find the entire table of updates listed here; but most notably included is:
- Safari 3
- Improved syncing between iPhone and Yahoo! address books
- Improved reliability when mounting external USB hard drives
- Allows the use of the special keys on aluminum Apple Keyboards to control Aperture slideshows
Looks like Tiger will continue to get some love even though Leopard has shipped.