Take Control of Upgrading to Tiger

Which Method Is Right for You?

The choice of Upgrade Mac OS X, Archive and Install, or Erase and Install comes down to a few simple factors.

Choose Upgrade Mac OS X if:

  • You have never installed any non-Apple software on your Mac; or
  • You recently performed a clean installation of Jaguar or Panther; or
  • You have a new computer to which you’ve made few changes; or
  • You want to gamble. This is the fastest method of installing, if all goes well. However, if all does not go well, it is the slowest. (See Joe’s Compromise Method on the next page for a way you can potentially have your cake and eat it too.)
  • Choose Archive and Install if:

  • You do not have the means to duplicate your startup disk onto another volume; or
  • You are technically inclined and wish to copy non-critical files into your new system manually (as a way of doing some spring cleaning, for instance); or
  • You’re nervous about the potential compatibility problems with Upgrade Mac OS X—and equally nervous about wiping everything off your hard disk with Erase and Install.
  • Note: If you choose Archive and Install, be sure the Preserve Users and Network Settings checkbox is selected (as it should be by default).

    Choose Erase and Install if:

  • You have an external hard drive (or a second internal drive) with enough space to duplicate your primary volume; or
  • You have severe disk problems that Disk Utility cannot repair; or
  • You have very little free space on your internal disk; or
  • You are paranoid about problems that could occur with other methods and want the best possible chance of upgrading success.
  • Double Serious Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn Your Warning! Take Control ’s publisher, Adam Engst, who is a major wuss when it comes to erasing hard disks, has asked me to remind you that Erase and Install really will destroy all the data on your hard disk (or partition) prior to installing a fresh copy of Tiger. If anything were to go wrong with your backup, you would be very unhappy. (Adam would have at least two independent backups before starting). So check and double-check your backups before you proceed!

    All things being equal, I prefer Erase and Install because it offers the best combination of robustness and ease of upgrading. It does require, in most cases, that you have a second hard drive in order to back up your primary volume; even if you’re backing up your data to a separate partition, you will want a second drive to hold your data during the partitioning process. But then, I can think of many good reasons to purchase a second drive—especially if it’s an external FireWire drive, which makes a superior backup device.

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