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Old Sep 30, 2012, 08:47 AM   #1
tedesco24
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rookie to set up Mountain Lion

I'm a complete novice and want to upgrade from Snow Leopard 10.6.8 to the current Mountain Lion. I am not using Time Machine so the only back up info I have is my pics, music, docs, etc that I manually make copies of.

Should I back up my current system before upgrading? If so, should I back up to a 500 gb usb drive? Do I back up my entire system or just certain essentials? If so, what is vital to back up? And how do I back up either the entire system or just certain parts? Anything else I should do?

Thank you.
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 09:04 AM   #2
ramram55
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get hold of hard drive and adapter to connect your internal Hd with external,
use either carbon copy clone of super duper (free software from internet), then
back up or use Time Machine to back up.
install your ML then you are in business.
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 09:08 AM   #3
Weaselboy
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Just plug the new, external drive in and turn on Time Machine. It will backup everything and you will be all set. There is really no need for you to use anything else if you just want a backup.
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 11:46 AM   #4
iThinkergoiMac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedesco24 View Post
Should I back up my current system before upgrading?
You should back up your computer all the time ever. Hard drives have moving parts, so they are GUARANTEED to fail. The question isn't "if" but "when". If you aren't backing up your computer you WILL lose data someday unless you are exceedingly lucky.

Just ask the girl at my college who lost 3 years of graphic and video work because she stored it all on one, and only one, very good hard drive that failed for no apparent reason nonetheless.

My important work is on a RAID 1 hard drive enclosure for all my graphic and video work, which has 2 hard drives in one enclosure that are constantly mirrored. My other stuff is backed up to an external hard drive and the most important stuff is also on DropBox, so that even if my apartment burns down I still have it all.
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 03:29 PM   #5
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Another vote for Carbon Copy Cloner. This utility is free, for a short demo period, and well worth paying for. It is the only utility I know of that will duplicate the recovery partition that is installed as a part of the ML installation process. The external clone will also be bootable, useful if your internal drive needs repairs (Disk Warrior etc.) No connection with Bombitch the makers of CCC, just a very satisfied customer.
Time Machine is OK, but some people have had problems with it, and it is not bootable.
Mountain Lion is quite different, coming from SL you may not like some of the new aspects. You can use the Parameters function of the free utility Onyx (separate versions for ML and SL), to customize ML. Google it or search on macupdate.com for the download link. TinkerTool also has some nice features.
As others have said, get an external HD, bus powered USB models are really cheap these days, and make sure you have your valuable data backed up!
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 04:24 PM   #6
/V\acpower
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Forget about what was just said about using special software like Carbon Copy. Too complicated to set up for your need and honestly I have no idea what they want you to accomplish with them especially.

Simplest way : In your current Snow Leopard system : plug in the USB Drive, go in Time Machine and select it as your whole system backup drive. It will backup EVERYTHING on your computer. May take some time (hours). By default it won't exclude anything, but in the settings you can choose to exclude particular drives or folder you don't want to back up, but really don't bother with that.

When it's done. You can safely upgrade your machine to Mountain Lion.

If you use the standard "directly from the App Store" method, you shouldn't even lose any files in the process, since OS X will automatically keep everything and simply "upgrade" the OS to Mountain Lion. You should have everything already set up when you boot up the first time in Mountain Lion. The Time Machine Backup is simply a precaution if something goes wrong in the process.

However, some peoples prefer to do a "clean install", which mean that we completely format (erase) everything on the original drive and then install the OS with only the default things set up. Honestly, Apple don't seem to think its important, but I have to admit that the system seems a bit more responsive and it's easier to manage exactly what is installed or not, what is compatible or not with the OS. For example, if a third party App is going to be of some problem with the new OS, it's easier to find it by reinstalling everyone of them from scratch. Anyway, I still think that a "clean install" install is a desirable thing to do from time to time (like every one or two years). If you want to do that : http://osxdaily.com/2012/07/25/how-t...mountain-lion/

Then, with a clean install, you can still go and browse your old Time Machine backup for your files and manually copy what you still want. You may also use the "Migration assistant" software, but if you do, I suggest you use it only for user settings and files and avoid using it for App, which is the reason why a clean install is an interesting thing to do in the first place.
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 09:15 PM   #7
mrsir2009
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I don't see why you need to back up everything before upgrading - Of course backing up your important stuff is a good idea generally, but when you upgrade your OS from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion your stuff will still be safe and sound right where you left it when the upgrade is finished
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 09:19 PM   #8
scabioustona
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Are you getting a new drive? If not, then you should back up to an external drive via time machine
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 10:03 PM   #9
Mal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsir2009 View Post
I don't see why you need to back up everything before upgrading - Of course backing up your important stuff is a good idea generally, but when you upgrade your OS from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion your stuff will still be safe and sound right where you left it when the upgrade is finished
It's always advisable to have a backup before making any major changes (or really before even using the computer, but let's ignore that obvious argument). The chances of a problem are definitely increased by a major OS upgrade, even one arguable more minor than others.

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Old Oct 1, 2012, 08:37 AM   #10
tedesco24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by /V\acpower View Post
Forget about what was just said about using special software like Carbon Copy. Too complicated to set up for your need and honestly I have no idea what they want you to accomplish with them especially.

Simplest way : In your current Snow Leopard system : plug in the USB Drive, go in Time Machine and select it as your whole system backup drive. It will backup EVERYTHING on your computer. May take some time (hours). By default it won't exclude anything, but in the settings you can choose to exclude particular drives or folder you don't want to back up, but really don't bother with that.

When it's done. You can safely upgrade your machine to Mountain Lion.

If you use the standard "directly from the App Store" method, you shouldn't even lose any files in the process, since OS X will automatically keep everything and simply "upgrade" the OS to Mountain Lion. You should have everything already set up when you boot up the first time in Mountain Lion. The Time Machine Backup is simply a precaution if something goes wrong in the process.

However, some peoples prefer to do a "clean install", which mean that we completely format (erase) everything on the original drive and then install the OS with only the default things set up. Honestly, Apple don't seem to think its important, but I have to admit that the system seems a bit more responsive and it's easier to manage exactly what is installed or not, what is compatible or not with the OS. For example, if a third party App is going to be of some problem with the new OS, it's easier to find it by reinstalling everyone of them from scratch. Anyway, I still think that a "clean install" install is a desirable thing to do from time to time (like every one or two years). If you want to do that : http://osxdaily.com/2012/07/25/how-t...mountain-lion/

Then, with a clean install, you can still go and browse your old Time Machine backup for your files and manually copy what you still want. You may also use the "Migration assistant" software, but if you do, I suggest you use it only for user settings and files and avoid using it for App, which is the reason why a clean install is an interesting thing to do in the first place.
If I do the clean install, will that completely wipe my system and set it back to "brand new out of the box"? Will I need to re-install all of my programs, such as iLife, iWork, Quickbooks, etc? What about the programs that I bought from the app store, will they "just be there" or do I need to track them down and re-install? What about all of the obscure docs that I haven't used in years, how do I prevent losing them if I wipe my system clean?

I'm currently backing up my photos, music, docs, etc manually to a 500gb portable usb drive. For example, I take a picture, then I upload it to both my mac hard drive and the portable drive. If I set up Time Machine to use the same usb drive as my backup, will I have duplicate data or does Time Machine recognize the data on the portable disk and ask if I want to duplicate it?
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Old Oct 1, 2012, 08:44 AM   #11
Weaselboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedesco24 View Post
If I do the clean install, will that completely wipe my system and set it back to "brand new out of the box"? Will I need to re-install all of my programs, such as iLife, iWork, Quickbooks, etc? What about the programs that I bought from the app store, will they "just be there" or do I need to track them down and re-install? What about all of the obscure docs that I haven't used in years, how do I prevent losing them if I wipe my system clean?
Yes, a clean install will wipe out everything... every app every last document and bit of data you have. You will need to manually reinstall everything.

If your machine is working fine now, I would not go through all the hassle of a clean install. Many of us have upgraded over and over with no problems whatsoever.

No offense intended, but by some of your questions I am guessing this is all a little new to you. I am concerned given your apparent level of Mac knowledge if you do a "clean install" you are going to be taking on more than you will want to handle.

If you do a true clean install you will need to backup anything you want to keep to an external drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedesco24 View Post
I'm currently backing up my photos, music, docs, etc manually to a 500gb portable usb drive. For example, I take a picture, then I upload it to both my mac hard drive and the portable drive. If I set up Time Machine to use the same usb drive as my backup, will I have duplicate data or does Time Machine recognize the data on the portable disk and ask if I want to duplicate it?
Time Machine will not recognize the data you already have on the external drive. It will make a complete backup of its own.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:56 AM   #12
/V\acpower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedesco24 View Post
If I do the clean install, will that completely wipe my system and set it back to "brand new out of the box"? Will I need to re-install all of my programs, such as iLife, iWork, Quickbooks, etc? What about the programs that I bought from the app store, will they "just be there" or do I need to track them down and re-install? What about all of the obscure docs that I haven't used in years, how do I prevent losing them if I wipe my system clean?

I'm currently backing up my photos, music, docs, etc manually to a 500gb portable usb drive. For example, I take a picture, then I upload it to both my mac hard drive and the portable drive. If I set up Time Machine to use the same usb drive as my backup, will I have duplicate data or does Time Machine recognize the data on the portable disk and ask if I want to duplicate it?
About your apps :

iLife : Older Mac have iLife on the second install disk that came with the computer (assuming you still have them), when you do a clean install, after reinstalling OS X, you will need to reinstall iLife from the disk that came from the computer.

Every App from the App Store : simply login into the App Store and you will have the full list of every app you purchased available to install again. Basically you can reinstall any App you bought on the App Store on any Mac in which you login with your Apple ID.

Every App you bought elsewhere : You can reinstall them the same way you did before. If you bought an Application from a disc, then reinstall from the disk. If it was directly on the web, then you surely can redownload them, since normally it's the serial key that validate your purchase, not the download itself.

But like the one before me said, since you really seem to be a beginner, simply go with a simple "OS upgrade", which mean, install Mountain Lion directly from your actual Snow Leopard Intallation. Just make a Time Machine backup before hand, which will be useful only if something goes wrong with the installation (but really, 99,9% of chances it won't). It is simple and it work.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 04:26 AM   #13
throAU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsir2009 View Post
I don't see why you need to back up everything before upgrading - Of course backing up your important stuff is a good idea generally, but when you upgrade your OS from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion your stuff will still be safe and sound right where you left it when the upgrade is finished
It can be handy to have a complete image of the machine to get back to the way things were before you messed with it.


Yes, you can generally download apps again, reinstall them, etc - but they won't be the same version/patch level/etc and there's the potential to introduce issues between apps and the OS that were not there before you messed with it.

Plus the "oh bugger, restore" is a simple case of "restore from time machine" and you're golden. Backing up the complete system is far less complicated come recovery time.


And yes, if you have anything you care about on your machine, you should be backing it up regularly.

Hard drives can and do fail - and once they do start to fail it can often be too late to start backing things up at that point. Your data may already be broken, corrupted, not retrievable, etc. Machines also get stolen, too.
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