The Leopard Pounces on My Mac

Just Dyin’ To Get Outta That BoxI could not be happier for my experience in upgrading my Mac to the new version of the Macintosh operating system was smooth with no surprises. The most important asset that I had at my disposal was a good plan. I listened to podcasts that discussed how to do the upgrade as well as read articles covering the same topic. I was then able to take that information and apply it to my particular situation in order to come up with a course of action.

The first and most important part of the plan was to have a proper back up of all of my important files since I would be doing a clean install of Leopard. This means that I would be taking my computer’s hard drive down to nothing. It would be wiped clean, every iota of information and then the new OS would be installed on it. So it’d basically be like having a brand new computer. This was compounded by a few factors so I had to do some techie acrobatics. I have a hard drive that is split into two partitions. On one I keep a back up of my system in case my internal ever has trouble (to this day I have not needed it). The second partition is where I keep my music and movies because I do not want it taking up so much space on my Mac’s internal hard drive. Well Leopard has a great back up utility called Time Machine which would require more space on the external hard drive than I had previously allocated for back up. In order to resize the two partitions they would both have to be blanked out. I needed somewhere to save my music and movies. Thankfully a coworker had an external hard drive that he loaned me for a few days that helped me out with this (thanks Joe!). Once I had it all re-partitioned, I kept the back up partition blank (because this is where I would tell Time Machine to back up stuff). I put my music and movies back on the other partition and I also backed up all of my important files that I would need to bring back over after installing Leopard (Documents, pictures, and a few folders of settings). I also downloaded and used Apple’s free Backup application to back up things like my calendar, Address Book, Stickies (little virtual post-it notes in Mac OS X), and Firefox settings. This last item required me to install a special Firefox module into Backup since Firefox is not a native Apple application.

Finally it was time to do the deed. I inserted the Leopard disk and when it launched I told it to “zero out” my computer’s hard drive. This was a scary feeling because everything was going bye-bye. It would be erased and overwritten with zeros (in other words, utterly irretrievable). That took about 10-15 minutes and then in launched into the actual installer. This took only about 45 minutes (some people were reporting as long as an hour and half to two hours for the upgrade).

At this point I had to simply wait for it to finish. So I decided to wax ironic. It just so happens that over the past week I have been reading George Orwell’s classic 1984. Furthermore, it just so happens that the very first Macintosh commercial was based on 1984 (it features Big Brother, representing IBM, and a host of mindless drones who are set free in the end by a sledgehammer-wielding heroine who represents Macintosh). As a sidenote, 1984 is a very disturbing book. It does not contain any gross violence or imagery, but it is scary what could happen if the government ran everything (anybody up for being arrested for “thoughtcrime”? ).

Meanwhile, back in GeekLand, the installation completed and I had but to enter a small amount of personal information, enter my Admin password, and then it booted into the new OS. The next part is what I really loved. I dragged my backed up files from the external hard drive and into their appropriate places on the Mac’s hard drive. They all worked flawlessly. Backup brought my settings, Address Book, Stickies, and email back over. So within about 10 minutes I had everything looking and working like it had been before. I launched Time Machine, told it which volume to back up to and it went straight to work and now I have an automatic back-up system that I do not have to think about. It just happens for me in the background.

I could not be happier. It was definitely worth the wait. And is it just me or is this thing running even faster? If anybody out there needs more details on the nuts and bolts of upgrading to Leopard, leave a comment and let me know and I will share what knowledge I have. The best source of information that I found was the 10/24/2007 episode of the Maccast podcast at Done

Josh H.

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