Archiving & Preparing for a clean OS install

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jdm7, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. jdm7 macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2005
    I have several specific questions and have been going in circles researching and trying to find the best solution(s).

    Here's the deal:
    I have a 2.0 ghz G5 iMac that has a nearly full hard drive. It has mainly been used as my primary work and occasional home computer. Recently, I was given a 2 ghz intel core duo MacBook pro from my employer that has now become my primary machine. In addition, I have two external hard drives that will be thrown into the mix as well. The first is a 500 gb drive that only has my digitized cd collection on it. The second is a 250 gb drive that serves as an archive of client files. Lastly, I have a treo that is synced with the imac with the markzware missing sync software.

    This is where you come in:
    1) I need to zero out the iMac drive. It has had a few issues and it would just be good to have a clean slate for my family to work with. I have music files on it that need to be moved to my "music" ext. hard drive. I have personal items (iphoto, imovie, quicken, treo info, keychain, etc.) that I need to make sure I can save and use after the clean install or move to the MacBook Pro. In addition, there are tons of other files that I may not want but need to make sure they are available at some point if they are needed. What is the best way to prep for and complete this?

    2) What is the best way to streamline the reinstall process after the clean os install? Should I try to collect all the app installers i've purchased online as dmgs and burn to a dvd or should I just download again from the manufacturer site?

    3) When this is all said and done, I'd like itunes to be able to have all of my music from the external drive available to play. Also, if I rip more cds or make purchases from itunes, I'd like them to go directly to the ext. drive automatically without holding down keys every time my family launches itunes. How do I do this?

    4) I keep a small digital camera with me while I'm away for work and my family has one as well. In addition, I occasionally take "notes" pictures with my treo that backs up to iphoto when I sync. Since I download my camera to iphoto on the MacBook Pro and the treo and my family download to the iphoto on the iMac, we have pictures in multiple places. What is the best way to maintain a "master" location for iphotos? Is there a way?

    5) Is there a site that can explain how to set up a secure wireless network with an airport express and how to share access to computers and drives on that network.

    Thanks in advance for your much needed help.
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Right off the bat, I feel I need to say this: make sure that the important files are backed up. It sounds like you've got hundreds of GB of files that could go poof with a drive failure (maybe not).
    A few things. First, if the MBP has the disk space, Applications->Utilities->Migration Assistant will move files to your MBP (where you run it) from the iMac. This is likely the easiest solution. Second, especially as you seem to have lots of disk space already in use, I strongly recommend, if at all possible, that you get an additional external drive and use something like Carbon Copy Cloner (free) to clone the iMac to the external. Then all your stuff will be (at least relatively) safe.

    I would, at the very least, ensure that you have all the key or license codes and that all the DMGs are available. Downloading ahead of time, as you mentioned, isn't a bad idea. This, plus the backup and migration mentioned above, should be sufficient. Also, as a side note, be sure to customize your re-install to remove languages and printer drivers you don't need.

    Yes. You can set up an iTunes library anywhere and use iTunes->Preferences->Advanced to tell iTunes where to look. More details can be provided if you need them.
    I'll leave this for others, although I suspect it's the same as the iTunes solution. Apple's apps are still too single-user focused to do this easily.

    Yes. What setup do you need? Basically, you just use WPA2 Personal on the AirPort Express and the Macs; this is secure. Sharing access is a different topic, and we can discuss that next.
  3. jdm7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2005
    thanks jsw. that helped me know that I was on the right track.

    I backed up the imac with carbon copy cloner and am in the process of collection/organizing all needed files, key codes and applications.
    i'll begin the clean install later this week.

    On two of the other points I had initially:
    1) Is it possible to have two hard drives of music and have itunes pull from both?

    2) Is there a step-by-step guide or website on setting up the network? I know it may seem basic for many here, but I want to be exact in what i'm doing.

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