Back up b4 Leopard upgrade!

Back up b4 Leopard upgrade!

Summary: Update: I'm seeing reports that other people are having upgrade problems. Before you upgrade to Leopard you really want to create a bootable back up.

TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility

Update: I'm seeing reports that other people are having upgrade problems. Before you upgrade to Leopard you really want to create a bootable back up. There are 2 free utilities that will do this for you on either a FireWire or USB 2 drive:

I've bought and used both of them and they both work great. Create a bootable back up with either one and then do your upgrade. If it works, great. If not, you can always go right back to Tiger - reinstalling right off the external boot drive. End update. Now we return to the original article.

And other things I learned installing Leopard The nice FedEx man dropped by this morning with my Leopard Family pack.

After I did an incremental back up of my system to an external FireWire drive - I do try to practice what I preach - I inserted the DVD.

After restarting I skipped the incredibly slow DVD verification process.

Put Leopard on a diet Then I selected the install that I normally use on a Mac: the Archive and Install option. Selected the boot drive, and then saved about 5 GB of capacity by clicking Customize on the Install Summary screen.

I only use Brother printers - a B&W laser on a wireless USB server and a color laser multifunction on the router - so by skipping the HP, Epson, Canon and other brands I knocked about 3 GB off the install. On my laptop I'll probably install them all - I never know where I'll be when I need to print something - but on my tower that isn't a problem.

Then I deselected all the translations and the additional fonts, which saved another 2 GB. I doubt that I'll suddenly wake up speaking only Korean.

This is more important on a laptop, since OS stuff generally gets installed on the fastest part of a drive - the outer tracks - so smaller and slower 2.5" drives need all the help they can get. But I am religious about backing up everything, so that 5 GB of capacity I saved is really 10 GB.

30 minutes after clicking Install The system rebooted, brought up the colorful startup screen and then HUNG! No log in, no menu bar, nothing. The disk drive was working, so I let it go for a while, but after I watered the garden and it *still* hadn't booted I restarted.

That's when I was glad I had a back up My first thought was that maybe a USB peripheral had interfered with the boot, something I've seen in the past. Disconnected them all, restarted and . . . nope! that wasn't it.

I prefer to panic only as a last resort. Maybe I'd had a particularly inopportune hardware failure. So I booted off the FireWire drive and discovered that everything was fine. Whew!

Back to the install So I re-installed Leopard - this time as an Upgrade Mac OS - rather than my preferred Archive and Install.

Success! It booted up just fine.

Other lessons A few potholes have appeared.

  • SuperDuper, the back up application, won't be tested on Leopard for another couple of days. I'll upgrade it when the tested version is released. Otherwise I'd have just started up Time Machine, the cool new back up app in Leopard. When you attach an external drive Leopard asks if you want to use it for back up.
  • Letterbox, a wonderful Apple Mail utility that optimizes Mail for widescreen (is there any other kind?) display, hasn't yet been updated for Leopard either.
  • For some reason Final Cut Pro *required* me to manually type in the serial number, even though I cut-and-pasted it in. Hey, it's a long serial number and I'm a slow typist.

I also noticed that my RAM usage at start up is about 4x what it was under Tiger. I've got plenty so it's no biggie for me, but I wonder what I'll see on my MacBook.

Other than that, everything is working fine. I love the Quick Look feature that lets you look at a file without opening the application. And the built-in preview in the print dialog box is very nice too.

Update II: check your Admin accounts. I discovered yesterday that I had NO admin accounts. Which meant I couldn't add applications, delete old accounts and make major changes to the system. I didn't realize I had the problem until I wanted to install a new app.

After a quick look at the Apple discussion forums I'd guesstimate that this problem is affecting less than 0.1% of the Leopard installs. If you have the problem it is important, but not urgent, that you fix it. You can use your machine and all your apps, you just can't change anything important.

How to tell:

  • Go to System Preferences and click on Accounts
  • The list of accounts on the left should have at least one that says "Admin"
  • If they all say "Standard" you have the problem

It is easy to fix. Boot up from your Leopard install DVD. After selecting your language go up to the Tools menu and select "Reset passwords". Create a new account with the name "root" and give it a strong password.

Reboot the machine. In the login screen there should be an option to log in as "other". Choose that, login in as "root" with the strong password. Then go to System Preferences>Accounts, choose your main account and give it Admin privileges. Log out of the root account and log back into your main account and you are large and in charge.

I had to go through this process twice before it worked. So it at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

The Storage Bits take Yes, you really should back up your system before you upgrade to Leopard. Use either SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner 3 to create a bootable backup on an external drive. I'm glad I did.

Update III: Despite the glitches I'm really enjoying Spaces, Quick Look and the little, unmentioned enhancements. My current fave: when doing a partial screen capture (cmd-shift-4) a little box next to the selection cursor tells you the pixel dimensions of the selection area. I put pictures in two dimension limited blogs all the time and it is a nifty, time-saving feature.

Comments welcome, as always. How did your upgrade go?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

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  • Wow

    If this was the kind of experienced you got when Vista was released we would hear just endlessly how much it sucked. But because this is an Apple product, it would of course not be subjected to any real scrutiny, the Apple fanboys will give you raking because you dared say there was something not perfect about His OS, and then they will all go into denial about any flaws it has.

    Let's watch...
    • Fizzled Friday

      I got up this morning and clicked on ZDNet fully expecting to take the day off and enjoy all of the jovial kibitzing of the various 'fanboys'. Well then I find out that Leopold is not going to be released untill 6:00 pm. Rats! - no day off. I stopped at the local drug store (Apple Dealer) on the way home hoping to get a 'glimpse' of the magnificant new beast. "nope - we can't put it on the floor until 6:00 pm" the salesman said.
      The folks on the east coast should already be up and running, (how long does it take to get home, open the box, plug it in and get back on line?) I thought to myself. I'll have lots of entertainment when I get home. Nope! Here it is 8:00 pm MSDT and still no glorious reviews. Maybe the darn things don't work? Oh well I guess I'll download and install a few more programs on my clunky old 'Vista' and wait and wait and wait an...
  • Hehe, never had a problem installing Vista!!

    Also never had a problem installing Linux and I've installed [b]MANY[/b] different distros!! Sorry to hear that your Mac didn't "Just Work" when, in my experience, both Linux and Windows "Just Work". I guess you have a choice of having a company tell you "It Just Works" or having OSs that actual [b]DO[/b] just work. Looks like I made the right one and you made the wrong one.

    snicker, smirk :)
    • I still backed up

      Never had an issue with Win2K, XP or Vista. I still made damn sure I did my backups ( and now disk images ) before doing ANY large modification to ANY system.

      It is just a good "I store important info on a computer" kind of thing to do.
      • You won't belive this but

        There's an Apple board full of this problem (seems connected to some 3rd party "system enhancements" but not absolute) and any number are worried because the did NOT backup before.

        Considering that the people who jump on the newest latest and greatest tend to be enthusiasts, hence "knowledgible", you'd think they'd back up first. But NOPE! They didn't
        • Problem: Application Enhancer

          Received an email this weekend from the makers - there is a problem
          with Leopard & Application Enhancers. I use AE with Clear Dock on 2
          Macs - got caught on the first and cleared the apps out on the

          On the Family Pack I did verify the DVD for the first install to ensure
          there were no defects and it's been skipped ever since. First install
          was a MacBook and that went very smooth. Second, an iMac, was
          using AE & Clear Dock and would hit the blue screen.

          Fortunately Apple's Support site has some very good posts and I was
          able to find out about the AE problem there. Changed to an Archive &
          Install and the iMac install was then smooth.

          Learned the lesson before the G4 PowerBook (AE was gone) and that
          was an easy one as well.

          If you have apps that are not Leopard ready (like AE) you can have a
          problem. That is why it's a good idea to check the developer's site
          before installing.

          It's important to back up and it's also important to clean your disk up, freeing a lot of space on the HD.
    • Windows "just works"?

      It gives my friends so much grief I'm terrified to even try it!
    • To be fair, the smart choice would be to back up before the Leopard upgrade

      as it would be a smart choice to back up a Windows machine before a Vista upgrade, even a Linux upgrade.

      All it takes is one small bug or issue to complicate the process to the point of data loss or long hours spent correcting the issue.

      It may upgrade easily 99 percent of the time, but why risk being part of the 1 percent in which it does not?
      John Zern
  • You mean...

    ... you installed Vista ON PURPOSE??!
  • RE: Back up b4 Leopard upgrade!

    Went off without a hitch. However, I -- as a
    holdover from Windows installs on my other
    machine -- always format the drive and install
    everything fresh before pulling data back down
    from an external server.

    Sorry to here you had a problem.

    BTW, have you tried BootCamp yet? I'm
    installing Vista over the weekend to see how it
    compares to my PC in a side-by-side.
  • Learn the hard way

    I'll save the obvious sniggers. All this time and preparation and they still screwed it up.

    With BSOD and hangs and reinstallations, it's apparent that Apple just isn't used to the upgrade process (unless it just breaks the previous OS and installs over everything).

    One of the problems of course is all these Apple fanbois who actually bought non-Apple software - never recommended for such a sheltered OS.

    Never mind, they'll eventually get it right or find that supporting more than 5% of the planet's computing is just a bit too much.
  • I expected to see

    I went onto zdnet & cnet expecting to see loads of blogs and articles about Apple's Blue Screen of Death. Nothing more than a sideline. If this had been Vista there would be pages and pages worth of anti MS bull, keeping you busy redaing for days. I thought it was just PC World that pulled Apple articles that might offend Steve. Not I'm not so sure.
    • well...

      I think they all might be busy trying to get their OS Crap up and running again... happy upgrading :) hahaha
      • The green-eyed monster rearing it's ugly head again

        My system is working fine just as it has for twenty years, thank you
        very much.
  • RE: Back up b4 Leopard upgrade!

    I partitioned external HD and used CCC to copy Tiger to small HD partition. I now have a bootable Tiger OS in the event I have a problem with Leopard.

    Yep, one problem. There are no drivers for the HP C3100 series of all in one printers. Printer works but scanner is dead.

    Toast required a that I register software when using it for the first time.

    FireFox download window is not working.

    Other wise all is well.

    BTW, upgrade took 44 minutes. After install I deleted all languages using Monolingual and recovered 3GB on HD.
  • That's interesting...

    ...because in other blogs here at ZDNet it's being said that you have to use Archive and Install, to avoid the BSOD that some have seen. I wonder why there's a difference?

    Carl Rapson
    • Maybe I ran into a different bug

      I started with an archive and install. It didn't work. Then I did the upgrade and it did.

      Just one data point so who knows what the cause is.

      Backing up is the important message.

      R Harris
  • Lacie made a very good backup

    utility called silverkeeper.

    It makes a bootable backup and it worked great.

    I only had 1 probleam after upgrading to Leopard. The install went great, but after I installed some pathces that were already released(I was fully patched before) one of the patches caused my wireless card to not be detected by the system.

    After reading the support forums I decided to run another upgrade install. This worked, patches and all.