Time Machine with Different OS X Versions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by squonk2, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. squonk2 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2014
    #1
    Hi. Please bear with me as I'm a newbie.

    My wife has an early 2008 iMac that was running OS X Lion (10.7). We'd faithfully run Time Machine backups until the beginning of February. It contains all our family photos (original files also backed up separately to a different drive). The need to use software that required a minimun OS later than Lion forced an OS X upgrade. Apple sent me a link for El Capitan (the most recent that her machine can use). I did the upgrade to OS X El Capitan (10.11), but haven't run any Time Machine backups until I was sure the upgrade was all ok. The iMac runs VERY slow now. Before I was able to run a Time Machine backup after the upgrade, we had a power surge that blew the iMac's power supply. After talking with some third party technicians, I got a replacement power supply and the iMac is running again... but I know I'm on borrowed time.

    I'll need to purchase a newer (used, etc) iMac to replace this 2008 model. The techs who put in a replacement power supply spoke of how a Time Machine back up only likes to restore to the version of OS X within which it was saved. True...?

    My dilemma: I know the older Time Machine backups done in Lion are good (minus two weeks or so), but if I can only restore to Lion, I have to buy a machine that is almost as old as the one that I have. I can run another backup, but I don't want to overwrite the preceding Time Machine backups if my upgrade to El Capitan is having problems. I'm about to run a brand new Time Machine backup to a different drive just so I have two different types of Time Machine backups to use (depending on what advice I receive here). I have also copied the file folders from within her "user" on the machine as yet another backup.

    The question: Have I messed up the computer system by upgrading straight from OS X 10.7 to 10.11? Is that why the iMac is performing poorly since the upgrade or did the upgrade go ok and is it simply too old & slow a machine to handle the OS? Depending on that answer, how should I restore to the next iMac once I purchase it? Should I get an El Capitan iMac and restore from my new TM Backup?

    Truly sorry for the long question, but I feel I've created a chicken/egg scenario from which I don't know how to emerge.

    Thanks for any help...
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    Of the external drives that you have, is one as large or larger than the iMac's internal hard drive?

    If so, I suggest you do this:
    1. Download CarbonCopyCloner from here:
    http://www.bombich.com/download.html
    CCC is FREE to download, and it's FREE to use for 30 days.
    Important:
    The version of CCC that you need is 3.5, and it runs free of any charges at all.

    2. Use Disk Utility to re-initialize the external drive you're going to use with CCC.

    3. Connect the external drive to the iMac and launch CCC.
    On the left, select your source (the internal drive)
    On the right, select your target (the external drive).
    Now, let CCC do its thing.

    You will end up with a clone -- an EXACT COPY -- of the internal drive (on the backup) which is "finder mountable" (in ANY version of the OS) and it's also bootable.
    Far, Far Far superior to any Time Machine backup.

    You'll be able to connect it to the newer iMac, and then use Migration Assistant to bring your stuff over.

    Or -- mount the backup in the Finder, and "copy over" what you need (you'll first have to go into the backup drive's "get info" box and put a checkmark in "ignore ownership on this volume" to get around the "permissions problems" issue).

    I'd trust a CCC backup over TM any day!
     
  3. squonk2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2014
    #3
    Thank you for the feedback! I really appreciate it.

    I know CCC and have used it on other macs before. When using Migration Assistant on the new machine using the clone drive as a source, is the OS X version now irrelevant? Managing the OS X versions has been my biggest wild card in all this. If using CCC & Migration Assistant is not impacted by the version of OS X, then that saves me. So, is this the case?

    Lastly, can I assume that my upgrade of OS X 10.7 directly to 10.11 is ok to clone? The iMac is SO slow now, I have my concerns about what I've done. If the data (photos, docs, email, etc) are all ok in spite of the upgrade, then this would be the way to go.

    Thanks again for any thoughts...
     
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #4
    The Time Machine backup will be compatible with newer versions of the OS. People do this all the time (old Mac to new).

    I also have an early 2008 iMac. It's certainly showing its age, but it's been running better under El Capitan (and Yosemite before it) than it had been running for several years before that - not necessarily due to the OS itself, but because I had to do some serious housecleaning, and at one point disk errors required that I erase/reinstall the OS (I still have the original HDD).

    That Mac likely came with 2GB of RAM - if that's what it has, a RAM upgrade is definitely in order. While El Capitan (and Sierra) will run on 2 GB, it's the bare minimum. You can put up to 6 GB into that machine.

    There are many potential reasons for the Mac running slower under El Capitan. My feeling is that you don't encounter more issues jumping directly from Lion to El Capitan than you would going step-by-step through each intermediate version of the OS. The difference comes in that, if you had upgraded the OS annually, you would likely have fixed performance issues as you encountered them. By making the big leap you're hit with all the issues at one time.

    In my experience, many of the issues come from out-dated software - perhaps startup items that no longer work, incompatible kernel extensions... I've found EtreCheck to be a huge help in chasing down that sort of thing. http://www.etrecheck.com
     
  5. squonk2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2014
    #5
    "There are many potential reasons for the Mac running slower under El Capitan. My feeling is that you don't encounter more issues jumping directly from Lion to El Capitan than you would going step-by-step through each intermediate version of the OS. The difference comes in that, if you had upgraded the OS annually, you would likely have fixed performance issues as you encountered them. By making the big leap you're hit with all the issues at one time."

    Thank you for that input! I really appreciate it!
     

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