Let’s here it for Apple’s “Migration Assistant”. It isn’t needed very often but when it is it really does the job. Y’see I decided to upgrade to Apple’s new “Leopard” operating system (OS 10.5). It wasn’t an easy decision because it involved some hardware changes for me. Well, that and money. I’m not made of the stuff.

I’m running a 2002 Dual 1 Ghz Quicksilver model. I’ve already upgraded it many times over the years and it has two internal hard drives. The original stock 80 gig drive and a second 250 gig drive. I run the operating system off of the 80 gig drive and the other is set up with a clean and basic back up operating system in case I have problems and have to trouble shoot. The problem is that the 80 gig drive is just about full. As an artist who scans in a lot of my stuff and also dabbles in photography I can really fill up a drive. I’m not sure if there was even room to install OS 10.5. I’d be pushing the envelope.

Buying a new internal hard drive was part of my decision making process. Had to be done as part of the OS upgrade. It drove the price of upgrading up but in the end I decided I needed a new internal hard drive anyway so away I went. I ordered a 250 gig internal hard drive, a USB enclosure for the old internal drive, and Leopard. Then I waited until the end of the week after all my work was done to do an install.

The first thing I had to do was open my machine up and pull out the hard drives. The top hard drive (250 gig) came out easy enough. After all I put it in so I knew how to take it out. The primary hard drive (80 gig) was a little trickier. It took me a few minutes to find the screw that held it in. It was under the cable that connected to the drive. I only found it by looking underneath the computer’s tower case and seeing a bottom bolt. Once found it came out easy. So I made the old 250 gig drive the primary drive and the new one the secondary drive. Then it was a reboot and I had to format the drive. Piece of cake.

I had one bad run at installing OS 10.5. It was my own fault because you’re not supposed to install an operating system with peripherals attached to it and I tried to install from a peripheral. Yeah, Yeah, I know, but I always use my external 16x DVD drive because it’s so my faster the the original 2x internal drive. And as I figured the install went faster. Until it failed. Then I unplugged everything and tried again from the internal DVD drive. Everything went fine but slower. Install was successful.

This is where Migration Assistant comes in. Since I was installing on a totally new hard drive none of my previous information was there. But I had purchased a USB enclosure and put the old 80 gig drive into it and now I plugged that into my tower (as an external hard drive). I fired up the migration program and it spotted the external drive and asked if I wanted to copy over my user information. I said yes and it copied all of my documents, applications, passwords, settings, and you name its. This took about two hours as there was about 70 gigs worth of stuff. But, wow, does it save time. I had to set up next to nothing. It was all there just as I left it and ready to go.

When I fired up the old beast all I had to do was update a couple of things. The Wacom tablet seems to be the one thing that always needs a driver update with each new system. Luckily there was one so I downloaded it and things were good. I checked my scanner and printer. Those are the two big things I had to get working and they’re doing fine (big ups to VueScan software). The whole upgrade took me from about 4 PM until 8:30 PM. I ate dinner in there too so it wasn’t too long.

One strange thing was that even though I had administer privileges I had to type a password to write to my primary 250 gig drive (the old one). I hit “command I” to get info on the drive and though I could give myself write privileges to individual folders I couldn’t give myself write privileges for the whole drive. I had to tell the computer to “ignore ownership” of the drive in order to give myself unfettered access to it. I didn’t have to do this with my external drives though. Weird.

I can’t give any kind of review of Leopard yet since I’ve barely used it but my review of the Migration Assistant program is ten out of ten stars. Man does it take the pain out of upgrading. You can even use it if you are buying a new computer. As long as the old and new computers have Firewire (though my external hard drive was USB 2 and that worked fine) you can connect them together and copy everything from the old one onto the new one. It make things painless. I like painless.