Going from Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.5, but in an awkward way.
October 25, 2011 11:07 AM   Subscribe

How to fix this problem: upgrading a Mac from 10.4 to 10 .5 but "manually"? More details inside!

Upgraded a Mac mini from 10.4 to 10.5. However, the person chose archive and install vs upgrade and they didn't select the option to move the settings to the new system. Or something.

So here's the issue. There's a Mac computer with fresh install of 10.5.8 on it. There's also a Previous System folder on the same machine, same disk, which has all the user accounts, settings, docs music, photos etc, from the previous 10.4 system that was on the computer. How can one completely move all those user accounts, settings etc to the 10.5 system in the most painless way possible? There is no backup of the system on another drive or disk (yes, insane, but there you go).
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have never tried this, but can you run Migration Assistant and point it to the archived system?
posted by adamrice at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2011

Nah, that doesn't work, Migration Assistant doesn't "see" the Previous System.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on October 25, 2011

That's annoying. I do this quite a bit at work, but I'm not sure if the method I use could be described as "painless". I don't know of an automated way to revert the system installation.

A lot of your files and settings are stored in user folders, so that's what I'd restore first. To do that:

1. Take a look in /Previous Systems/Users/. Note the names of the folders there: those are the short names of the users you had.
2. Create an account on the computer with a username that isn't one of those names. For example, if you have /Previous Systems/Users/bill and /Previous Systems/Users/sue, you might make an account called "Admin", with short name "admin". Log into that account.
3. Create "blank" user accounts for each user you want to restore. Continuing with my example, I would make a user account "Bill", with short name "bill", and another "Sue", with short name "sue". Give them administrator privileges, or don't, appropriately. The new accounts don't need to have the same passwords as the old accounts.
4. Go to the /Users folder. There should be a new folder there for each user you just created. It should not be very large (under 50MB). Delete it.
5. Copy (safer) or move (faster) the user folders from /Previous Systems/Users to /Users/.
6. Repair permissions. Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and run the following command:
sudo chown -R shortname:shortname /Users/shortname
Of course, you'll need to replace "shortname" in that command by the appropriate short name. In my example, I would run
sudo chown -R bill:bill /Users/bill
and then
sudo chown -R sue:sue /Users/sue
If you've never used the Terminal before, you will be prompted for your password, but nothing will show up when you type. That's okay- just press Enter when you're done typing your password. If you don't have a password set on the "admin" account you're using, the command won't work- you need to type something.

After the command finishes (you'll be returned to a prompt that ends with $), you should be able to log out of the account you're using and log in to one of the accounts you restored. There may be question marks in the Dock if you haven't reinstalled applications, but your files and user settings should be back.

(Note that these instructions apply specifically to OS X 10.5. The general procedure is the same for previous OSs, but the permissions on the user folder should be set differently: there isn't always a group for each user in earlier versions of OS X. Look it up.)

A lot of the other stuff that was moved to /Previous Systems/ can just be dragged back to its proper location. Applications in /Previous Systems/Applications can be dragged back to the /Applications folder (make sure you don't replace newer versions of system applications like Safari, Mail, etc.). Some applications will require their folders in /Previous Systems/Library/Application Support be restored to /Library/Application Support. Some programs will be such a pain to get working again (Creative Suite, I'm looking at you) that it might be easier to just reinstall them from their original discs.

Hope that helps! If you have specific questions, you can message me or ask for more details in-thread.
posted by aaronbeekay at 12:01 PM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

And please back up!
posted by aaronbeekay at 12:02 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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