Booting from External Hard Drives
I installed Snow Leopard on an external hard drive a few months ago to give it a once over. My daughter then received a Macbook from Santa for Christmas and I got more exposure to the OS. I felt it was time that I took the plunge and migrated all my data over to Snow Leopard. I stopped using Tiger and started using Snow Leopard exclusively this past week. I have a 750GB Seagate drive that currently has Snow Leopard on it. Tiger is still installed on a mirrored RAID set composed of the internal 250GB drive and an external 250GB drive; so, if I needed to, I can roll back easily.
Migrating Data and Configurations
Most people will find that the Migration Assistant, found in the Utilities Folder (⌘-shift U shortcut in the finder application), will be able to handily migrate average user accounts and machine preferences from one disk to the other, or from an old computer to a newer one. I first used this automated way to migrate the ‘other’ users of my system, my wife and children. I chose to migrate my data manually because my home directory had 82GB of data in it. 60GB of which were in my iPhoto Library.
I had hundreds of programs installed in my Tiger OS that I just never used. I’m going to install my programs on an As-Needed basis. Currently, I have the software I use daily installed. iLife ’09, Gimmer Proxy for Adblocking in Safari, CyberDuck, and a half dozen other programs I use regularly. I think I’ve covered 80% of what I need currently.
Migrating iPhoto Data
Migrating iPhoto was the easiest task possible. In your home directory /Users/YOURNAME there is a directory called Pictures. Within the Pictures directory there is a special item called iPhoto Library. It’s actually a directory that Apple has labeled as a package — you can right click on the item and “Show Package Contents” to navigate into it, but trust me, you don’t want to. The only thing I had to do to move everything in iPhoto was to move this iPhoto Library file from one disk to the other. Just place it in your /Users/YOURNAME/Pictures folder and you’re done. Fire up iPhoto ’09 in Leopard and it automatically upgrades your iPhoto Library and you’re done.
I have all my music on an external mirrored RAID set. I just needed to fire up iTunes, change the preferences to where my music library is, uncheck copy music to location, and in finger select all the subdirectories in the iTunes subdirectory and dump them into the Music Library area inside the iTunes program. I lost all my ratings and such, but what are you going to do?
I have all of my movies on an external mirrored RAID set also. I only had to fire up iMovie and it found all my movies and optimized them automatically.
Mail Data Migration
So, this is a little embarrassing. I have almost every email I’ve ever received going back about 15 years or more. Again, a lot of data to move and the safest way to do that is to do it manually. This was only slightly more difficult. There was one folder, and one plist file to move into place. The mail folder to move was /Users/YOURNAME/Library/Mail and the plist file was found at /Users/YOURNAME/Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist. After those files are moved to the new system, you fire up mail, and if you’re moving from Tiger to Snow Leopard, it automatically upgrades your mail archive. You will have to type in your passwords again, but all your other settings, filters, signatures, etc. are saved.
I’m no where close to the bleeding edge on this migration. As a matter of fact, I’m well behind the pack for a good reason. I wanted other schmucks to figure out the difficult tricks to getting the supported peripherals in Tiger to work in Snow Leopard. I had a slight issue with my Samsung ML-1710 Laser printer as it was no longer supported in OS X 10.6. Not a really big deal, right? Apple said, “see the manufacturers site for the updated driver.” So, I moseyed over to Samsung and started searching and didn’t find a thing. There was a “Live Chat” option, so I asked. Nope, not supported. The help desk person would send it up the food chain, as a request, but I needed to print now! The printer doesn’t even support PCL or PS. So I couldn’t even use a generic PCL4, PCL5 or PS driver. Crap. That was that, right? Well, I don’t give up that easily… ever.
I kept searching. Looking for cheap wireless print servers. Thinking about tiny linux machines that I could use as a NAS and Print Server. And then I found it. A site that had instructions how to install foomatic print drivers in Mac OS X 10.5. I thought to myself, it’s worth a try. So I downloaded the links on the page. Sadly there were broken links. But I didn’t give up. I copied the links, removed the filenames, and searched the internet directory looking for similar files. Luckily, there were updated files! I downloaded all three files, installed them, and my printer, which was not supported by either Apple or Samsung is now working again. I saved these files to my site here so you’ll never run into broken links!
internet link: gplgs-8.64so-ub.dmg local link: gplgs-8.64so-ub.dmg
internet link: foomatic-rip-184.108.40.206.dmg local link: foomatic-rip-220.127.116.11.dmg
internet link: samsung-gdi-1.816.2.dmg local link: samsung-gdi-1.816.2.dmg
I installed the above files in order. First the GPL Ghost Script package, then the Foomatic package, then the Samsung drivers. Afterwards, I opened System Preferences, clicked on Print & Fax, unlocked my preference panel, pressed the little + button in the middle on the left, and added my printer. The driver automatically selected and came up as Samsung ML-1710 Foomatic/gdi.
I know I’m going to have the same problem with my scanner, a Canon Canoscan LiDE 30. It’s a great little scanner that I picked up years ago for $30. I don’t want to upgrade it. it does everything I want it to and it does it fast enough for me. I’ve found a program that solves all my scanner problems, VueScan. I just downloaded the demo and tested it out. It supports my scanner without the need of installing drivers in Snow Leopard. Can you ask for more? And at $40 for the program, it’ll save me at least $30 and 2 lbs. of land-fill-guilt from my alternative of junking this scanner and buying another one.
Upgrade completed. I now have Snow Leopard installed on an external drive. Now, I have to break my mirrored RAID set and reformat my internal hard drive (keeping the external hard drive intact with all it’s data for backup for right now). This will allow me to image my current external drive to my internal drive moving my Snow Leopard disk into my iMac and finishing off the process completely.
This is the scary part. I think I’ll sit on Snow Leopard for a week or so before proceeding, just to be safe.