[Updated: At the bottom of this page I added some links since this was originally published that may be helpful to you.]
I decided to upgrade my Snow Leopard OS to the new Lion OS last week. I knew from the literature that this upgrade would be more complex that previous Mac OS upgrades so I planned a strategy to make the transition as easy as possible.
About 14 years ago I learned the hard way about performing a complex upgrade without preparing a proper migration strategy. Back then I wasted about 14 days after a hard drive crashed near the end of the upgrade. No need to make the same mistakes twice in life! 😉
The first action item was to order last week Wednesday, a new fast external hard drive to store the new OS and to have room for backup redundancy. I ordered a OWC Mercury Elite Pro 1.5 TB FireWire 800 7200rpm drive for speed and storage purposes. It arrived last week Friday evening.
I then partitioned the drive into three segments: one to hold the new Lion OS; one to hold Snow Leopard Time Machine backups; and; the last to be a spare storage area.
I decided to keep my current Snow Leopard OS installed on my iMac’s internal drive and use the new drive partition to be its backup. I would then use my current 500GB external FireWire 400 5400rpm drive as Lion’s Time Machine backup device. This is how my redundant backup strategy is designed.
I copied my current Snow Leopard OS onto the Lion partition using Carbon Copy Cloner intending to have a bootable Startup Volume. It was after that copy process completed that I discovered my new fast drive wouldn’t boot as a Startup Volume. I spent several hours trying to figure out what was wrong. In the end, I knew the drive was defective and it would be returned.
Last Monday I obtained an RMA# and shipped the defective device back to OWC. At the same time I ordered different brand, smaller in capacity, NewerTech miniStack v3 1.0 TB FireWire 800 7200rpm drive. It arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
I quickly partitioned it, copied over Snow Leopard OS and it booted fine —and fast as a Startup Volume! I then ran the Disk Utility on the three new volumes to make sure all was in order before proceeding further.
I purchased Lion via Apple’s App Store and it installed without issue.
Then in a mater of hours to handle the two Time Machine backups and set a few other user preferences. I am very happy with the speed improvements.
Gestures are used extensively in Lion, I purchased a Magic Trackpad from the Carlsbad Apple Store on Thursday afternoon. I’m slowly getting used to using gestures and the new Lion features themselves. 🙂
I can still boot my Snow Leopard OS if I need to use some of my legacy applications that won’t run as-is on Lion. As time goes by I will likely eliminate that need.