In this post I’m going to write up what I do to get a fresh installation on my MacBook Pro and how I transfer apps and settings and things I forget. I’m no good at writing and this is a work in progress so I apologise for the lack of coherence below.
My Core2Duo MacBook Pro started showing signs of RSS (Random Shutdown Syndrome) last week (about 2 weeks after my AppleCare warranty ran out!). The usual repair permissions didn’t help and resetting the PRAM and NVRAM seemed to have done something but since it’s hard to recreate a random shutdown I don’t know yet if that solved the issue. In case you’re having trouble and you don’t want to reinstall everything, it might be worth trying that one.
I’m taking this as an opportunity to do a fresh install of Snow Leopard in the hope that it’ll solve my random shutdown problems and I’ll clean up my HDD removing apps that I don’t need anymore in order to free up some of that much needed space.
Preparing the Backup
SuperDuper has been my backup app of choice since I started using OSX. It’s simple, does the job and helps me maintain boot-able backups of my laptops at all times. Having 2 laptops with 120GB drives, the best solution for me was to get a 250GB drive and partition it in order to have both laptop backups on that one drive. Having 2 backups of everything I do has saved me a few times already and the importance can’t be mentioned often enough!
It’s all pretty straight forward and there are tons of options for moving your old data to a new version of OSX but I always follow my rule that I don’t trust these automatic updaters. I’d rather handpick what I want on the fresh installation instead of automatically copying all the junk that I wanted to get rid of in the first place.
Note: OS X comes with all those extra printer drivers that you might want to deactivate if you want to save space. Snow Leopard has a slightly better option of installing only popular printer drivers (if you really can’t be bothered to download only the ones you need). At least that saves some space.
The whole process takes about 30-40 minutes on a 2.33GHz MacBook Pro.
Restoring Apps, Settings & all the other stuff you forgot about
Having that boot-able backup will be the lifesaver in the coming days. I normally go through each app in the old Application folder and install, update/upgrade and restore settings one by one. Depending on the app it could be a simple case of copying a few settings from the Library or it could be a case of setting it all up again.
If you don’t have some strange setup, all it takes is to copy your old library and files to the new drive (in your Music folder) and Bob’s your uncle.
Settings, Passwords and things
Generally, a good place to start looking for application settings is in the Application Support folder in either your main Library or your users Library folder.
Possibly the easiest way to transfer Keychains is via MobileMe. Or if you’re using an application like 1Password, you can easily backup and restore your passwords from within the app.
Adium & Settings
There are two places with your settings to look for:
- YOURUSER/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/
MobileMe helps me a lot with restoring Mail accounts and settings on the fresh installation. That, along with the convenience of the Screen & File Sharing makes it worth the money for me right now. Highly Recommended timesaver! I know, it’s all possible to get for free and if you like fiddling with things, it’s all good. I’d rather spend time away from a computer if at all possible…
On The Job
I have been using Stunt Software’s “On The Job” for my time tracking and invoicing for a while now. It’s very accurate and is also a great tool to have a record of the exact time it takes for me to finish certain tasks or projects. This often helps with any estimate I have to give before I start a new freelance project.
To transfer the data from the old installation to the new one, you have to go to YOURUSER/Library/Application Support/OnTheJob/ and copy that to the new installation. That copies your logo and invoice data.
Presets in Lightroom are located in YOURUSER/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/
Don’t forget to copy over the font collection from an old installation.
SVN on Snow Leopard
Once you install XCode you get subversion on Snow Leopard. I had to get an older version and the simplest way I could find was to use one of the binaries from here. I use and can recommend svnX for your basic svn GUI needs.
Updates and Upgrades: a price to pay
This installation proved to be more expensive than I thought! Snow Leopard Family license at £39 is pretty good, but updating some of the old software I use proved to be a pricey little adventure.
This turned out much more random than I thought. I’ll still leave it up here in case someone stumbles across it and finds something in here useful.