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View Full Version : Before upgrade to 10.11.6, how not to lose Mail, bookmarks, make dumb mistakes?



Sparky61
01-27-2017, 02:36 PM
Iím about to upgrade my Mid-2009 MBP from Snow Leopard 10.6.8 to El Capitan 10.11.6. I have up-to-date Time Machine backups on an external drive. I will be retiring this drive and replacing it with a Glyph drive for backups immediately following the OS upgrade. I intend to continue to use TM but welcome any input on changing my backup procedures. Generally I let TM do itís thing but have it run a backup just before any major change, like yesterdayís memory upgrade to 8GB or a recent upgrade to a Samsung EVO 500GB SSD.

Currently, I have 10.11.6 on a bootable flash drive and like it a lot so Iím excited to upgrade. I also need to upgrade Firefox and such. I welcome input on browsers ... Safari is OK, I just like FF better. Iím considering Chrome ... eh ...

Hereís my concern: I must not lose access to e-mails saved in Mail, bookmarks in Firefox, and most importantly, data files. It would give me great comfort to know I could run my MBP off the TM backups to access e-mail, bookmarks, and data files just in case something goes wrong/wacky in the OS upgrade. This concern stems from the SSD drive upgrade. My understanding is that you can't go "backward" to an earlier OS. In the SSD upgrade, the OS wasnít the problem, not even data. Data was there, if mixed all up, on the SSD. The problem was the loss of Mail and bookmarks. It would have taken ages to rebuild everything, put the data where it belonged, etc. I tried this and that but ended up formatting the SSD and cloning the old spinner drive to the SSD. No problems since ...

I have the install DVD (10.5.7) and applications DVD the machine shipped with, but all these would do is get me up and running again. E-mail and bookmarks gone = much gnashing of teeth, cursing, and other unpleasantries. Perhaps Iím being overcautious, but better a cautious newb than a sorry one. What, if anything, do I need to do to ensure all I get is an OS upgrade and not a major problem? Please advise, and thank you!

pigoo3
01-27-2017, 03:42 PM
A great way to avoid the potential issues you describe. Clone your computers internal storage with Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper apps (on a separate external storage device of course).:) Then if you do run into issues...you have an exact copy (clone) of your computers internal storage before the OS upgrade.:)

- Nick

harryb2448
01-27-2017, 03:47 PM
G'day and welcome to nthe forums.

There are going to be changes as you have stayed stuck in a six operating system old work place. Your Time Machines backups are vital so make sure verything is current. I would suggest when you pop the bootable thumb drive in, erasing the hard drive and formatting Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and doing a nice, new clean install rather than a simple upgrade over all the mystical junk you will have stored on the hard drive. This is the penalty for that 'ages' you mention. After completing the install, enter your location etc details, hook up the TM backup and use Migration Assistant to bring everything over. Some old PowerPC applications, such as Office 2004, will not work but everything should be okay.

You have not shared with us how much memory your MBP currently has. It can run 8GB and I would suggest you are wise to have that amount installed. When you are up and running I would be cautios about Firefox as there has been much disappointment with Mozilla lately, and giving Chrome a miss altogether. Suggest installing and using Duck Duck Go as your search engine rather than Google unless you enjoy being tracked everywhere you go.

Regarding TM, please consider using cloning software which is much easier to handle than TM. SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner when used on your external drive are both bootable which can be a huge advantage if there are problems. I use SD and the registered version has a Smart Update section which I run every Friday, and it compares the current clones copy to the existing operating system, and makes changes accordingly. The one problem is if you wanted to go back two years for a file, and if it is still not on the internal drive, it is gone.

Some folk run two externals, one with TM and one with a cloned system. You are right to be cautious and you have been.

I made this post before pigoo, but these administrators have power of time and motion, and even the planets, so he moved mine back!!!!

Sparky61
01-28-2017, 10:28 AM
Thank you both so much! I hadn't considered cloning my internal drive to the external (SSD Glyph Atom that arrived yesterday) drive.

harryb, I'm running 8GB of memory, just installed. I don't have any old apps like Office 2004 (different machine, project for a later time). My MBP runs Office for Mac 2011. Well, that's "new" to me ...

I'll look into SuperDuper and CarbonCopyCloner today and follow your advice on a clean install. As far as I know, the 10.11.6 on my 64GB flash drive is a clean copy, not an upgrade. Once Sierra came out, Apple hid the upgrade to El Cap, so I called Apple and the tech directed me to El Cap ... but human memory is malleable and I may be wrong about it being a clean copy. OK, step 1 is SD or CCC, so off to investigate.

MacInWin
01-28-2017, 10:57 AM
I took Harry's excellent description of what to do and added one clause to it, as a precautionary:
After completing the install, enter your location etc details, [but do not create an account for yourself], hook up the TM backup and use Migration Assistant to bring everything over. That way, MA will both migrate the data and create the account. If you create your own account on the Mac first, MA will not migrate to that account, but still create a new one and you'll have to move it all over again, fix permissions so you can use that other account's files and generally have to do a lot more work.

S.SubZero
01-28-2017, 01:59 PM
You may also want to consider trying to move some of this stuff to the cloud as a longer term solution. Your mail can be set up to live on the mail servers full-time (and has been a default thing on most mail providers for years), and Firefox has a sync function.

Sparky61
01-30-2017, 10:34 AM
Jake, thanks for steering me clear of a Newb mistake, much appreciated!

S.SubZero, the cloud is going to be part of my strategy. I'm just trying to focus this thread on one topic at a time so it isn't so tedious. But I do appreciate you chiming in, thank you! I'll probably use BackBlaze as suggested in the Official Backup FAQ thread. And THANK YOU to all who contributed to that thread!

So, it's looking like CCC for me. I cloned my internal SSD to a Glyph Atom, and I'm probably going to clone it to another low-use spinner I have laying around cuz the idea of formatting my internal drive makes me nervous even though I know it probably should not.

Q: Per the advice in the OB FAQ, you should test your clone to be sure you can boot to it. I have El Cap on a bootable USB, and if that's plugged in, my MPB will boot from that drive on startup. If I have the Atom (clone) plugged in, the MBP ignores it and boots from the internal SSD. Why? I'm guessing the machine knows the OS is the same, so it ignores the clone. Back in my Windows days, I would enter BIOS and tell the machine which drive to boot from, but frankly, I don't know how to do that on a Mac ... Otherwise, the clone appears complete, files are accessible, etc.

macalot
01-30-2017, 12:01 PM
Q: Per the advice in the OB FAQ, you should test your clone to be sure you can boot to it. I have El Cap on a bootable USB, and if that's plugged in, my MPB will boot from that drive on startup. If I have the Atom (clone) plugged in, the MBP ignores it and boots from the internal SSD. Why? I'm guessing the machine knows the OS is the same, so it ignores the clone. Back in my Windows days, I would enter BIOS and tell the machine which drive to boot from, but frankly, I don't know how to do that on a Mac ... Otherwise, the clone appears complete, files are accessible, etc.

Yes, you should test your clone drive to be sure you can boot from it. Plug in the drive, and restart the MBP while holding down the option key. A screen will appear that will allow you to choose a drive to boot from, and your clone drive should appear as an option. Select the clone drive.

By the way, I completely agree with the advice provided above about cloning your drive and then doing a clean install of the new OS on your MBP, and then using Migration Assistant to migrate needed files from your clone drive.

Sparky61
01-30-2017, 07:56 PM
OK, I have two bootable clones (tested both as advised) and a bootable USB drive containing what I believe is a complete copy of 10.11.6 (cuz my MBP will boot from it). I know I have to format my internal SSD to do a clean install of 10.11.6. No problem, I located Disk Utility while my MBP is running 10.11.6 on the USB. Then ... duh, dunno what to do.

How do you install 10.11.6 from the bootable USB to the newly formatted internal SSD? Yes, I'm a Newb ... gotta admit your ignorance before you can overcome it. Holding down the Option key at startup gives me "10.11.6 recovery" option ... That might work but there's probably a more elegant or correct way to go about this. Please save me from my ignorance. Thanks!

ferrarr
01-30-2017, 09:39 PM
You can either boot into Recovery, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314, or you can plug in the USB and boot from that, if it is an installer.

How did you create the bootable USB?

Sparky61
01-30-2017, 09:51 PM
ferrarr, thanks for chiming in. I had called in to Apple when I could not find a copy of El Cap in the app store. The tech directed me to a couple things, I downloaded onto a USB drive, all good.

After my last post above, I think I figured out what to do. I knew I needed an "installer" for El Cap but a diligent search of the USB revealed no such installer. Then I recalled that after the El Cap download, there was a new icon in my Dock. I ignored it but ye olde light bulb finally went off, I checked in Applications, and viola, El Cap installer (app) was there. I just copied it to the USB drive because that version of Applications will get wiped out when I format the drive (I assume). Now all I have to do is work up the courage to format my SSD (I'm writing this from another machine) and run the app from the (bootable) USB drive containing El Cap ... I think ... :)

Sparky61
01-30-2017, 09:58 PM
I would suggest when you pop the bootable thumb drive in, erasing the hard drive and formatting Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and doing a nice, new clean install rather than a simple upgrade over all the mystical junk you will have stored on the hard drive. This is the penalty for that 'ages' you mention.

I'm not one for change for change's sake ... But I have learned my lesson, I'll upgrade my OS more frequently from now on.

harryb2448
01-30-2017, 10:13 PM
Ahh Sparky my lad/lass, those light globes going on are magnificent. Alas they older you get, the less they shine! It will getwiped when you format the drive, but as you have just done a clean install, if you simply upgrade next time around it will still be in Applications. Not a serious point as I use the same USB thumb drive each time, and it is formatted during the process MiskmakerX runs when making a bootable thumb drive of the operating system.

Sparky61
01-30-2017, 10:23 PM
harryb2448, I be not a young lad (except at heart), so sadly, I must concur with your point regarding the dimness with which my intelligence shines: I'm not following you, brother! I have not yet done a clean install. I'm trying to figure out just how to do that. El Cap and its installer are still sitting on the USB drive, waiting for me to grow a p ... uh, work up the courage to format the internal SSD, where the installer app originally resided. I have two full clones (via CCC) and up-to-date TM backups. So I believe all I have to do is ... do it. Yes?

harryb2448
01-31-2017, 01:08 AM
Yes. Pop in the thumb drive, boot up and hold down 'C', when the window opens go to Utilities and format the drive and proceed. Hook up your latest external and migrate everything across using Migration Assistant which is found in Utilities. I am confident you will then see a performance boost. Suggest being careful with Firefox and I avoid Chrome as I don't like constant tracking.

MacInWin
01-31-2017, 09:21 AM
Actually, instead of the "C" key, hold down Option and eventually you'll see a list of disks from which it will boot. The "C" key was to force a boot from the CD, but you are using a USB stick. It may or may not work with the "C" key, but it definitely will work with Option.

Sparky61
01-31-2017, 10:10 AM
Actually, instead of the "C" key, hold down Option and eventually you'll see a list of disks from which it will boot. The "C" key was to force a boot from the CD, but you are using a USB stick. It may or may not work with the "C" key, but it definitely will work with Option.

Thanks, being a Newb, I woulda used the Option key since it is in my small knowledge base. ;P

Not knowing any better, when I downloaded El Cap to the USB, I created an account ... But at least your advice came soon enough to stop me from making things worse by proceeding with the format/clean install of 10.11.6 to my internal SSD. So ... what to do now? I bookmarked where the Apple tech directed me to download El Cap, so I think I can simply format the USB and start over. Unless you say otherwise.

On a side note, I once learned from a serious techie dude that he would create a test environment for big changes, and practice there. I may format an extra drive and practice a clean install & migration to it before doing my internal SSD ... But maybe that's a boondoggle.

In any case, thank you for the advice regarding the account setup. Part of climbing the learning curve!

Sparky61
02-01-2017, 02:02 PM
Update: Tried working around creating a new account (a mistake made earlier before I was warned about it) by formatting the USB containing El Cap and downloading El Cap again. But on retry with a fresh copy of El Cap, it put me right back into setting up a new account all over again, and would not let me skip by any method, even powering down. If I had to do it again, I'd boot from my CCC clone, format my internal SSD, then shut down again and reboot from the El Cap USB and proceed. That would ensure a clean install, I believe (given my limited knowledge base).

As things stand I'm guessing that despite my best efforts, my install of El Cap was overtop my old 10.6.8 install. I did not have to use Migration Assistant. But my MBP is snappy and stable running 10.11.6, with all Mail, bookmarks, data, etc., intact and fully functioning. I've tested most applications and all seems good. Woo-hoo!

On to browser issues: I downloaded and installed Firefox 51.0.0 released 01/26/2017. It's my browser of choice at the moment. Someone said to avoid Chrome altogether (IIRC). I have nothing against Safari. I moved to Firefox because it was recommended to me as superior in terms of privacy and security. I'm aware of Tor, haven't gone there ... yet. I use Duckduckgo as my search engine and avoid Google because of intrusive tracking. Please let me know your thoughts! And to those who contributed their expertise regarding my OS upgrade, thank you again!

Sparky61
02-01-2017, 03:17 PM
Oh, and any reason to keep the clone of my machine when it was still running 10.6.8? I want to use the drive its on (Glyph Atom) as my new clone drive for 10.11.6. Thanks!

MacInWin
02-01-2017, 05:54 PM
If you have everything off the clone that you may want, there is no technical reason to keep it. You can safely reuse it, from a technical point of view.