Going to restore Mac Mini when Lion comes out - what to backup??

Discussion in 'macOS' started by felixen, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. felixen macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    Hi guys.

    I've been using Time Capsule for a while now, so I figured that when I have to restore my Mac some day, I would just load the entire image/backup from Time Capsule and pick up where I left off.

    However my Mini is slow as hell nowadays, so I figure loading the whole backup will be inefficient compared to starting from fresh. I don't wanna start all over though, so what should I backup on an external harddrive? I'm thinking:

    1) The entire iTunes folder - this will save all songs, playlists and information I have manually edited in any song, right??

    2) .dmg's and .zip's of applications I have saved - then I won't have to find every single app again, and won't forget any.

    3) iPhoto library - is it possible to copy the whole thing and paste it back when I'm restored on Lion?

    4) This one I don't know if it is possible, but for a lot of logins and such my Mac have always asked me if I wanted to save the info in the key bundle, or whatever they call it, so I won't have to remember the info myself. Is this key bundle just one file containing all the info I have stored? If so, how can I back it up? If I was to start from scratch on OSX without these "keys" there would be quite a few places I wouldn't remember the login info for.

    5) Anything else I'm missing??
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Backing up to a Time Capsule can be slow, even over gigabit ethernet. If you are upgrading a machine (or merely wiping and starting over), there are a few options worth thinking about...

    1 - Use the Time Capsule for day to day backups but use a USB or Firewire disk to transfer your stuff to a new machine, new HDD or fresh install. Tell Time Machine to use the removable disk and the first backup might take hours but at least it's not days and you now have two backups. One on the Time Capsule and one on the removable drive.

    2 - Get an SATA to USB adapter and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your disk to the new drive. I have CCC but I haven't tried this as I didn't want to buy one of those SATA to USB kits.

    3 - Use a service like crashplan to back up your stuff off site and then restore after you put the new OS on your machine.

    4 - Use a Time Capsule backup but bear in mind the restore time might be slow over the network. DO NOT TRUST ONE AND ONLY ONE TIME CAPSULE BACKUP. Even if you decide to restore over the network, make a local backup as a "backup of a backup" in case you find out (too late) that the backup on your Time Capsule is corrupted.

    BTW, you do realize Lion is simply something you buy in the app store, right? Are you saying you plan to do a restore to Snow Leopard, then run the SL combo update (a 1 gig download) and THEN download Lion from the app store? I just recently upgraded HDD so I plan to simply grab Lion from the app store when I get around to it.

    You can copy the entire iTunes folder somewhere and copy it back. No problem. You can copy the entire iPhoto library somewhere and copy it back. TEST IT FIRST. Mine got corrupted and I lost everything. Don't fret, I never put my only copy of any photo in iPhoto. In fact, I keep my photos on a firewire drive and an NAS drive and I don't let iPhoto copy my photos. This way my iPhoto library is only about 5 Gig for a set of photos and movies that is over 100 Gig. Of course you can copy your DMG and zip files somewhere and save them. Lastly the keychain should come back when you restore from Time Machine.

    I should mention that a lot of users report Mail.app lost its mind after a Time Machine restore. I once again "lost everything" and had to set up my email accounts over again, but as I am known to do for iTunes and iPhoto, I NEVER allow my only copy of any email to live in mail.app. As much as I like Apple products, they are human and they can't get me my stuff back if it's lost. I had to send a Time Capsule back to Cupertino for a failed power supply. You think they sent me DVDs of all the stuff I had on it? I think not. So practice safe "backup of a backup" computing and your transition to a new HDD, Mac or OS X version should go smoothly.
  3. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    Thanks for your reply. Yeah I know Lion is something I get from the App Store, but I just want a complete restore when I get it. So I guess I will swipe my Snow Leopard when it comes out and install it again. Then before doing anything I will open the App Store and download & install Lion. After this I will copy over whatever I have saved for backup.

    I don't plan on using Time Capsule though, because as far as I know that is a complete backup of what my Mini looks like now - meaning that whatever is slowing my Mini down now will be copied over with Time Capsule. Therefore, I will just locate the files and folders I need to backup on my Mini and copy them over to my external harddrive.

    It definitely would be easier to just load everything from Time Capsule but I fear that might not be the most efficient way if I want my Mini to act as "new and fast" as possible.
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Hmmm... I'm not sure I agree. My Macbook was getting a bit slow before I upgraded my HDD. After the upgrade it was much faster. Then all of a sudden I saw the beachball. I was running Firefox 4 at the time. I ditched FF 4 for Chrome and haven't heard the fan running or had slow response since. Well the fan runs whenever I have a flash video going but other than that all is cool and quiet. I suggest you rethink doing a "brute force" backup as you will have to reconstruct things like your keychain. Why not try things in increasing order of severity:

    1 - archive and install

    2 - wipe and install with restore from Time Machine (local usb or fw disk should be faster)

    3 - wipe and install with manual restore of your files (most difficult and the sort of thing windows users have to contend with)

    If you must run FF 4, close it after use. Session manager comes in handy for starting back up where you left off. Don't use Safari if you can avoid it. If you must use Safari, be sure to switch off the "automatically open safe files" option that Apple leaves on by default and that is part of the only credible malware vulnerability affecting OS X right now.
  5. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    Guess I might as well give it a shot. I just don't see why the thing that is slowing my Mini down now would be gone after a restore if I use Time Machine to read my entire backup image.

    Also, I seem to have this bug in my iTunes. It won't let me install any iOS on any iDevice. So I have to pull out my old Vaio and use that whenever I need to install an iOS. Really annoying and weird too. Reason I'm writing that in here is if I copy the whole iTunes folder, then would that mean that this bug would carry over when I use the iTunes folder sometime in the future after I've restored? edit: cause that would suck. I don't want to lose my playlists and song info I've created myself

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