A Clone of My Own

This weekend I moved house. No, not the house I've lived in for the past five years -- my PowerBook. I transferred from a 1GHz 12-inch PowerBook G4 to the new 1.33GHz 12-inch PowerBook G4. It's got more RAM than the old system, and a bigger hard drive. I'm glad to have the new system.

But it's not quite as easy to move house in this Mac OS X era. Back in the classic Mac OS time, you could just mount a drive and drag over your files. Those days are long gone. But just because you can't drag-and-drop your system files anymore doesn't mean it's impossible to move your systems.

Since I have reviewed numerous PowerBooks since the advent of Mac OS X, I've had to transfer my files back and forth across systems at least a dozen times. The tool I use for the task is Mike Bombich's excellent Carbon Copy Cloner.

My clone operation this weekend worked like this: Plug in my new PowerBook, press the power button and immediately hold down the "T" key until the FireWire logo appears on its screen. We're now in Target Disk Mode, where my new PowerBook has become a FireWire hard drive. I plug it in to my old hard drive, and run Carbon Copy Cloner. The result is a "cloned" copy of my old PowerBook drive on the new system.

I'd like to say that I then rebooted the new system and resumed work, but it's not that simple. With newer systems, you need to boot off the included system DVD and re-install Mac OS X. (It's a pretty fast process and the OS X installer only reinstalls files that have changed.) Once that process is done, the system boots with all my information intact, as if I was still using my older PowerBook.

Only a few applications required care and feeding after I cloned my PowerBook. Eudora wanted to know where my attachments folder was. Volume Logic wanted me to re-authorize. And of course, I had to re-authorize my iTunes to play my iTunes Music Store files. (Big warning: Before you wipe your old computer's drive, be sure to de-authorize yourself within iTunes ! Otherwise you risk having your old computer eternally listed as one of your five "active" systems on the iTunes Music Store.) But generally, my applications behaved just as if I had always been running on this 1.33GHz PowerBook.

As for the new system, it sure seems peppy to me. Watch for a complete review and lab-test benchmarks in the near future.

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