Backing up a Macbook
September 5, 2009 1:16 AM   Subscribe

I've received a new 320GB hard drive that I want to fit in my Macbook which is still running OSX Tiger. I also want to install my Snow Leopard Box set. I need to back all my data up on an external HD. How should I do things?

My plan of action was to:
1)Copy all files on my laptop to the external hard drive
2) Install new hard drive.
3) Install Snow Leopard
4) Access HD and transfer everything over.

Also, any programs which will make the backing up easier?

Seeing as I've never done anything like this before, I want to make sure I haven't missed anything incase I loose all my data and music (I shudder just thinking of the possibility).
posted by ashaw to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I want to make sure I haven't missed anything incase I loose all my data and music

Well ideally I'd want to backup all the data at least onto DVD-Rs. That shouldn't take up many discs unless you're a professional architect or something.

Then also backup your tunes onto discs, if practicable. Depends on how many gigabytes, but the (temporary) security of having imaged your hard-to-replace data onto optical disc is worth the hassle IMO.

The next step would be getting an external adapter for the new 2.5" hard drive. I'm using a ThermalTake BlacX drive adapter with my Macbook Pro through eSATA and it's cool, it also uses USB 2.0, which is SLLLLOOOOOW.

How you go from here depends on what kind of install faces you. If you have the original installers for your apps on the original discs (and/or have the downloads on backup), then I'd prefer doing a clean install on the new hard drive and reinstalling everything. can re-import from mailboxes you've backed up; you should backup up everything in {home}/Library onto a DVD-R to facilitate this ({home}/Library/Mail is where your Mail mailbox data is saved).

Restoring your musical library in iTunes is a simple drag & drop affair, and you can optionally turn off iTunes' management of your library and designate a different place to store it other than {home}/Music/iTunes; I have a folder that I call /Stuff/Music Library that I maintain, copying over purchased and ripped music that iTunes puts in its folder after I back it up incrementally.

But having said all that for Snow Leopard I just upgraded in-place and things turned out fine. To do that, you should use Carbon Copy Cloner or another tool to copy your internal drive onto your new external, and then boot and test out the external to verify that everything's cool.

After that you can exchange the external for the internal, test some more, then do the SL upgrade (just launch the upgrade app from the install disc).

Then you could put the old drive in the external case, reformat, and use it for Time Machine or other external backup. I actually had an eSATA card corrupt all my writes for about a week before noticing, but maybe USB is more reliable than eSATA in that regard.
posted by Palamedes at 1:42 AM on September 5, 2009

Why not just pull your current hard drive (take a backup first), put in the new drive, and install Snow Leopard fresh? Then either pop your original drive in a USB enclosure and copy your data back, or get it from your backup.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:55 AM on September 5, 2009

Best answer: i second what wongcorgi said, but you dont say if you have a spare enclosure lying around. just a external drive. so in the case that the external drive for whatever reason isn't the kind you can open up easily, what i would do is

1) download carbon copy cloner(free) or superduper (easier to use, holds your hand, but kinda not free but you don't need to register it to do what you're doing here)

2) erase external hard drive in disk utility (make sure it's has a guid partition so you can boot off it)

3) use one of the two programs you downloaded to do a full backup from current drive to external drive. if you're using superduper you can skip step two because i think it erases the drive anyways.

4) install new internal drive

5) reboot off the external drive

6) format internal drive w/ disk utility, run carbon copy cloner or superduper again and back up everything from external drive to new internal drive

7) reboot off the internal drive. make sure it starts up and it's exactly like how your other drive was before.

8) stick in 10.6 dvd and do an upgrade install. customize as needed

9) After it installs and reboots. check if everything (like old apps, drivers, printers, 3rd party system prefs, plug ins) still work. Just start using it for a while.

10) if anything goes wrong you can always go back to the external drive and work off that or use it to reclone your new internal drive.
posted by sammich at 2:20 AM on September 5, 2009

I screwed up on the anchor tag for carbon copy cloner. It's at
posted by sammich at 2:23 AM on September 5, 2009

Just for the record, I did exactly as Sammich said for my installation of 10.5 & a 320GB drive, but altered slightly.

I used Superduper to create a bootable backup on an external drive (over USB2.0 - it took aaaaages), and when I installed 10.5, I managed to point it, somewhere in the installer, to use that backup. Anyway, it worked perfectly, and I didn't even have to reinstall anything.
posted by Magnakai at 5:10 AM on September 5, 2009

Thirding sammich.

I recently did an even more involved set of cloning - CCC is a great piece of software. It took a number of days, but everything's where I want it to be now.
posted by omnidrew at 7:50 AM on September 5, 2009

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