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Rip Vega 10-23-2009 12:00 PM

Updating to Snow Leopard - Safely
Being a Mac convert of some 10 months standing, I still have concerns about OS upgrades from bad Windows experiencing.

Before I upgrade my unibody MBP to Snow Leopard, I thought I'd take a disc image as an additional back-up to my Time Machine backups.

My questions are:

Is this possible?
What software do I need?
What external (cheap) HDD would you recommend and how should it be formatted?
If it all goes badly wrong, can the disc image be successfully restored and how?


bobtomay 10-23-2009 12:11 PM

I don't believe there are any problems in well over 90% (maybe as high as 95-98%) of cases in just doing an upgrade. There will be the rare case, as in mine. After the upgrade I booted to a kernel panic and couldn't get into SL due to a piece of 3rd party software I had.

I would recommend using SuperDuper! to create a full bootable backup onto an external drive - the choices for this are almost endless nowadays - but I personally prefer WD drives. I also use an external quad case from OWC instead of an external kit from WD - it is more expensive and not necessary for most people.

This is what I had prior to my upgrade. Upon realizing I couldn't boot into SL, I simply rebooted the machine into my external SuperDuper! Leopard backup, opened up the error logs on the internal drive, found and removed the errant application causing the kernel panic and then booted up into SL, no problem.

This will also allow you time to make sure all the apps you require are fully functional in SL. If you find there is something not compatible with SL that you must have, simply boot back to the SD! backup and now do a reverse backup from the external to the internal. In less than an hour you're back to running Leopard again.

You now have the time to track that app from it's developer to see when they'll have it upgraded to work in SL for another try.

One thing to note, after creating your bootable backup, make sure you boot to it and verify that all is ok and it's functioning prior to doing the upgrade on your internal drive.

Rip Vega 11-01-2009 06:33 AM

Thanks for the help, it's appreciated.

I'm guessing that I have to use a USB drive as I won't be able to boot from a network drive. Is that correct?

Is there anyway I can use Time Machine to do this instead? I already have Time Machine back-ups on my Time Capsule.

neilf 11-01-2009 07:11 AM

Haven't there been some instances whereby people have lost their data when doing an upgrade?
I recall it had something to do with booting into a guest account before booting into their admin account, when accessing SL for the first time after the upgrade from Leopard.
Personally, I have disabled my guest account until there is a fix for this.
Does anyone know if this problem has been fixed yet?

(I am running SL without any further problems)

Sur3Mac 11-01-2009 07:36 AM

Time machine makes a back-up which you can implement on an installed system, you cannot boot off a Time Machine Backups Folder.
What bobtomay described is making a full bootable duplicate.

As for a cheap ext. drive, I recommend a again what bobtomay said a Western Digital "My Passport", I believe they come in 250- and 320 GB, respectively around 75$ and 100$ (new).

Rip Vega 11-04-2009 07:07 AM

Will a 250Gb drive be enough to create a SuperDuper bootable image for my Mac which has 160Gb of used hard drive?

It seems that the SUperDuper created image is larger than the drive it's copying. Is this correct?

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