You just arrived home with your copy of Tiger. You tear off the shrink wrap and are ready to upgrade. What’s the best way to move up? Are there certain precautions you need to take? Follow these steps to ensure the smoothest road to Tiger:
1. Back Up Your Hard Drive
Make a bootable backup of your current system before you upgrade. Backing up is always good advice, but especially so now. After upgrading, you may discover that Tiger has some bugs that are serious enough to force a temporary retreat back to Panther until the bugs are fixed.
There are many excellent programs for “cloning” your drive. My recommendation here is SuperDuper! from Shirt Pocket. It boasts a unique Safety Clone feature that creates versions of your old (Panther) and new (Tiger) systems on two separate volumes. Both systems remain current with the files in your Home directory, so you can easily revert back to Panther if desired.
If you don’t want to clone your entire drive, at least make sure you have a backup of your Home directory, just in case disaster strikes while installing Tiger. Similarly, make sure you have backups of all your third-party software readily available.
2. Consider Partitioning Your Drive
If your Mac’s hard drive is divided into at least two partitions, you can install Tiger on one partition while leaving your current Panther system installed on the other. This gives you the opportunity to test out Tiger before you commit to it. SuperDuper’s Safety Clone also works best if your hard drive has been divided into at least two partitions.
If your drive currently has only one partition, don’t worry. With software such as iPartition or Drive Genius you can partition a drive without having to erase it. Find out how in “Multiply your drive” from the May 2005 issue of Macworld .
Of course, if you own second hard drive, you can use this instead of a separate partition.
3. Install Tiger
You’re now ready to start up from the Tiger disc and run the Installer. If you are upgrading a drive that is currently running Panther, the Installer’s default selection is Upgrade. This means it modifies or deletes existing Panther files, as needed, installing the Tiger modifications and files as replacements.
However, you have other choices. If you click the Option button in the Installer’s Select a Destination screen, you can select to Archive & Install. With this method, the entire Panther software is moved to a separate folder called Previous Systems; a completely new install of Tiger is put in its place.
I strongly recommend doing an Archive & Install (adding the option to preserve your Home directory and Network settings) rather than an Upgrade. While an Upgrade generally works well, it can lead to problems if, for example, you have modified or moved any OS X files such that the Installer can no longer upgrade them properly.
4. Give Tiger a Test Run
After starting up with Tiger, check to make sure all the basic features of the OS are working. In particular, check out whether your Internet connection is active and whether the Finder’s features are working as expected. If you are having problems that you cannot resolve, check the Web to see if others have reported the same issue and can provide a solution. If not, try reinstalling Tiger. If even that fails, you may want to revert back to Panther until you can figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
5. Give Your Applications a Test Run
Assuming that Tiger passed its initial test, now’s the time to check that all your third-party programs are working. If the program required a serial number when you first installed it, you may find that you need to enter it again. In some cases, you may have to completely reinstall a program to get it running again.
Finally, some programs may need to be updated to work with Tiger. If so, the vendor has hopefully either already released an update or plans to do so soon. To check, go to the vendor’s Web site or to a more general software update site such as VersionTracker. You can also check Macworld’s updated listing of Tiger-compatible programs.
If you have gotten this far successfully, congratulations. You are ready to enjoy Apple’s latest and greatest version of Mac OS X!
[ Ted Landau is a Macworld contributing editor. ]