Installing Mac OS and Apple Software

Installing Mac OS and Apple Software

In some cases, installing software from Apple, such as applications and OS updates, works just like installing third-party software. However, most of the time you'll install Apple software using OS X's Software Update application, or a Mac OS X installer CD. In this section, I'm going to show you how to get the most out of Software Update, then talk briefly about installing Apple software manually, and finally get into the nitty-gritty of installing (and reinstalling) Mac OS X itself.

Note 

Whenever you install an update to Mac OS X itself, I recommend running the Repair Disk Permissions feature of Disk Utility (described in Chapter 1) immediately afterwards. Many users have found that doing so after installing an update to OS X avoids problems and provides better performance.

Bending Software Update to Your Will

Apple first introduced Software Update in Mac OS 9; some people used it regularly, others never even realized it existed. However, in Mac OS X, Apple has designed Software Update to be the way for users to keep their OS and Apple-provided application software up to date. This is a very good thing, in my opinion. Apple has always released minor updates to the operating system, or new versions of applications, on a fairly regular basis; however, in the past, many users were never even aware that such updates were available. Only people who actively kept track of software updates—from websites, mailing lists, or newsgroups—would know about every new release.

Note 

Although Software Update generally updates only Apple software (Mac OS X and applications like iTunes, iMovie, and iPhoto), a few non-Apple applications that are installed with Mac OS X, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, are also sometimes updated via Software Update.

With Software Update, your computer will check for updates for you, either on a regular schedule or when you get the urge to tell it to. It's a great system in that it allows everyone, from the new computer user to the web-surfing veteran, to keep their software up to date.

Using Software Update

User Level:

admin (usually)

Affects:

computer

Terminal:

no

Although there is actually a Software Update application located in /System/Library/CoreServices, Software Update is, in a more general sense, a system that Mac OS X uses to check for, and install, updates. You control this system from the Software Update pane of System Preferences; specifically, from the Update Software tab (Figure 4.5). You can choose to manually check for available software updates by clicking the Check Now button, or you can have your Mac do it for you at regular intervals by checking the "Automatically check for updates when you have a network connection" box. You then choose an interval (Daily, Weekly, or Monthly) for how often you want the check to be executed. (If your interval comes and goes, and you haven't been connected to the Internet, it will wait until the next time you're connected.) Whether you choose to check manually or on a schedule, when a check is executed, your Mac will examine the Apple-provided software (OS and applications) installed on your computer, and then contact Apple's software update servers and compare what you have to what is available. If all of your software is up to date, the Software Update preference pane will give you a message to that effect.

Click To expand Figure 4.5: The Software Update pane of System Preferences

However, if newer versions of software are available, the Software Update utility is launched and provides you with a list of available updates, including the name of each update, the version number of the software that will be installed by each update, and the size of each update (Figure 4.6). Clicking on an update in the top window will provide you with details about the update in the lower window. If you want to install an update, check the Install check box next to the update name, then click the Install button at the bottom of the window. If multiple updates are listed, you can choose to install all of them, or just some of them, by selecting multiple check boxes before you press the Install button.

Click To expand
Figure 4.6: Updates available via the Software Update application
Tip 

If you're on a dial-up connection, keep an eye on the size of an update in the System Update window. Since each update you choose to install must first be downloaded over the Internet, larger updates will take a long time to complete. If you also have access to a broadband connection, you may want to wait and install larger updates when you're connected via broadband. If not, you can always connect before you go to bed, or when you're not going to be using your computer for a bit, and choose to update then.

Since most of the updates installed by Software Update are system-related, once you click the Install button, you'll probably be asked to provide your admin username and password. The update will then be downloaded (you'll see a progress bar at the bottom of the window letting you know the status of the download) and installed. (A nice feature: you can work in other applications while the update is proceeding.) Once the installation is complete, you can quit the Software Update application, unless the update requires that you restart your computer. However, unlike Mac OS 9, under Mac OS X you don't have to restart immediately; you can switch to other applications and finish up your work before restarting.

Tip 

The Software Update pane of System Preferences keeps a list of the updates you've installed using the Software Update system. Click on the Installed Updates tab to see a complete list. In addition to using Software Update as described here, you can also use it when logged in to your computer remotely. I'll show you how to do that in Chapter 11.

Telling Software Update You Don't Want to Install a Particular Update. Ever.

User Level:

any

Affects:

NA

Terminal:

no

When you check for updates, you'll often come across an update that you don't care much about. For example, if you installed support for multiple languages when you first installed Mac OS X, every time a language update is released, it will show up in the Software Update window. This is good if you use the language, but what if you don't? Why should you have to waste your time (and bandwidth) downloading and installing it?

The solution is actually quite easy. Select the update in the Software Update window, and then select Update Make Inactive. (You can select more than one update at once by holding down the command key and clicking on each unwanted update.) The update(s) will vanish, never to bother you again.

The "inactive" updates are actually still there; in fact, if you look at the lower right corner of the Software Update window, you'll see the text "Inactive Updates: #" with the number of updates you've chosen to hide. If you ever decide that you really do want to install one of them, or you just want to see what you've hidden, select Update Show Inactive Updates, and they'll once again be visible. To make an inactive update "active" again (so that you can install it), select it and then select Update Make Active.

Saving/Downloading a Software Update for Future Use

User Level:

any

Affects:

NA

Terminal:

no

Although Software Update is a convenient and easy-to-use system, some people just don't like automatic installations; these manual types (and I admit that sometimes I'm one of them) would rather download the updater on their own and do the installation themselves. In addition, some people (and I'm definitely one of these) like to have an archive of updates (on CD or removable volume) that they can keep handy in case they ever need to reinstall something or update another Mac without having to access the Internet. These groups of people would generally have to go to Apple's software updates Website (http://www.info.apple.com/support/downloads.html) and download updates manually.

There are two problems with this approach. The first is that software updates are usually available via Software Update at least a few days, and sometimes weeks, earlier than via Apple's Website. The second is that while Software Update only lists updates that are appropriate for your particular computer, Apple's Website lists every update available for any computer with any version of the Mac OS. In other words, knowing which ones to download isn't always easy.

Thankfully for both groups of people, you can use Software Update to get updates right away, and to only get those that are needed by your computer. And it's very easy to do. You just check for updates using Software Update as you normally would; the Software Update application will launch and show you the list of available updates. To download an update (or multiple updates) manually, check the install box(es) for the update(s), but instead of clicking Install, select Update Download Checked Items to Desktop. Software Update will download the update(s) normally, but instead of installing, it will save the selected update(s) to the desktop. The Status of each downloaded update will be listed as "Not installed, downloaded." You can still install it from Software Update, but now you also have a copy on your hard drive.

Note 

In OS X 10.2 and later, you can only use the Download Checked Items to Desktop feature on updates that have not yet been installed. Once you install an update, it will no longer appear in the Software Update window. If you happen to be using Mac OS X 10.1.x, you actually download an update after you install it (by selecting it and choosing Update Save As).

One advantage of having an archive of update installers is that if for some reason an update fails, or you need to reinstall an update, Software Update won't be able to help—once you install something from Software Update, it won't be available for reinstallation. However, if you have a copy of the update installer available, you can manually install the update yourself.

Installing Apple Software Updates Manually

There are times you may need to (or want to) install Apple software updates from downloaded update installers, rather than via Software Update. Installing Apple OS and application updates manually works exactly like installing any other software manually—you just double-click on the installer package or installer application, and follow the instructions. However, unlike some third-party software installers, you are rarely given an option to choose where Apple software and updates are installed. In addition, one caveat you need to keep in mind when installing Apple updates manually is that they often must be installed in a certain order.

In What Order Do I Install Updates?

One disadvantage to installing updates manually—especially updates to the OS itself—is that if you have multiple updates to install, it's often difficult to figure out which should be installed first, second, etc. Order can be very important, because later updates often require software installed by earlier ones in order to update successfully (and they often give no warning when they aren't successful).

When you use Software Update, the issue of update order is taken care of automatically. However, if you're not using Software Update, you have to figure it out on your own. One way to do so is to Get Info on update packages and installers in the Finder (not disk image files, but the packages and installers contained in the disk images). You can often figure out when an update was released by looking at its Modified date, and use those dates to figure out the order to install updates (oldest first, newest last).

Unfortunately, for those updates that are not provided on disk images (they are downloaded directly as packages or installer applications), some web browsers set the Modified date as the date of download. Fortunately, Apple has provided a web page that lists the available updates to OS X 10.2: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75421. This page doesn't list application updates, but installation order isn't as important in the case of applications. (Apple also has a similar document for updates to Mac OS X 10.1, which also includes updates to Mac OS X 10.1 applications: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106713.)

Restoring Selected Software and Installing Parts of Updates

There are times when you may need to "get back" some of the software that came with your Mac. Or, you may need to get a copy of a single file or group of files installed by Jaguar or by an updater. In any of these cases, you're trying to restore software or get it from a source that generally makes retrieval difficult. Here are a few procedures you can use to get the software you need, depending on what exactly it is you're trying to get.

Using Software Restore CDs to Restore Selected Software

User Level:

admin

Affects:

computer

Terminal:

no

Every Mac manufactured in the past few years has included a set of Software Restore CDs. These CDs are designed to allow the user to restore their hard drive to the original, "factory-fresh" state. (The instructions on how to do this are included on the Software Restore CDs themselves, so I won't go into that here.) But what if you don't want to erase your hard drive and start over? What if you just need a copy of iTunes because you accidentally deleted the copy you had? It's actually not too difficult, especially if your computer came with OS X pre-installed.

If Your Computer Shipped with OS X 10.2 or later Installed

If your computer is one of the Macs that shipped with OS X 10.2 or later pre-installed, you're lucky, because the version of Software Restore that comes with these computers is much better than the one that came with older computers—for two main reasons. First, and most importantly, it doesn't require you to erase your entire hard drive. And second, you can tell it exactly which applications or files you want to restore; you don't have to install everything.

Using this version of Software Restore is quite simple, and rather self-explanatory. You boot up normally, insert the first Software Restore CD, and launch the Software Restore application on the CD. You're given the option to install everything, or to just install certain items; once you decide what to install, it installs your choices. If you've installed anything that requires you to restart, you do so; after that, you're done. Simple. Unfortunately, not everyone has this version of Software Restore.

If Your Computer Shipped with an Earlier Version of the Mac OS

If your computer did not ship with OS X 10.2 or later installed, it came with either Mac OS X 10.1 or an earlier version of the Mac OS, and you purchased and installed 10.2 or later yourself. In this case, the Software Restore CDs that came with your computer are much more limited than the ones previously described. On these CDs, Software Restore has only a single mode of operation: erase your hard drive and restore everything that was on the hard drive when your computer was new. Clearly this isn't a great solution, especially if you just want to restore a single application or a few desktop patterns. Luckily there's a way to retrieve selected files or applications.

  1. Make sure your hard drive has 2–3 GB of free space available on the hard drive (if it doesn't, you can't use this procedure, unfortunately).

  2. Create a new folder on your computer (the Desktop is a convenient location) and name it something relevant, such as "Restore."

  3. You should have a set of Software Restore CDs (generally three or four); insert the first CD. (Make sure you're using the Software Restore CDs, not the Software Install CDs.)

  4. Open the Configurations folder on the CD. Inside, you'll find a disk image; copy that image to the folder on your computer.

  5. Repeat this procedure for each Software Restore CD. Each will have a disk image inside the Configurations folder; copy all of these disk images to your hard drive (they must all be copied to the same location).

  6. Launch the Disk Copy utility (/Applications/Utilities/Disk Copy).

  7. Drag the first disk image (Disc 1) onto the Disk Copy window or onto the Disk Copy icon in the Dock (you can tell Disk Copy to skip the "checksumming" stage). This will mount the disk image on the Desktop; it will most likely be named "Macintosh HD."

  8. Open the disk image and find the software you want to retrieve. Simply drag it from the disk image to the appropriate place on your hard drive.

  9. Unmount the disk image by dragging it to the Trash (or selecting it and selecting File Eject).

  10. After you're finished, you should run the Repair Disk Permissions feature of Disk Utility as described in Chapter 1. The reason is that when Mac OS X is installed, system-related files and applications are given specific permissions. When you copy files over manually, the permissions are often not set correctly. Running Repair Disk Permissions ensures that permissions are set correctly.

Warning 

If your Mac shipped with an earlier version of the Mac OS (OS 9, Mac OS X 10.1, etc.), and you later installed a newer version, you should not use this method to retrieve files or applications that were updated by the newer version of the Mac OS. For example, if your Mac came with Mac OS X 10.1.5, and you later purchased and installed OS X 10.2, do not use this method to get a copy of iTunes or TextEdit. You should instead read the next section, "Installing Parts of an Update, System, or Software Install," to get the version of iTunes or TextEdit that came with 10.2. You can still use this tip to get third-party software, such as a game or other application, that originally came with your computer but did not come with 10.2.

Installing Parts of an Update, System, or Software Install

What if your computer didn't come with OS X 10.2 or later (you bought it and installed it yourself) and you want to reinstall an application or file installed with the newer OS? In this case you wouldn't be able to use the procedures described in the previous sections, since your Software Restore CDs don't contain the newer version. Or, what if you want to reinstall a single file or package from the Mac OS 10.2.3 updater (such as the Mail application package), or from some other installer package? Or, what if you want to reinstall a particular part of OS X (such as printer drivers) without having to run the entire installer?

Many of these types of files are located inside installer packages of the type I discussed earlier in this chapter. In fact, the Mac OS X installer itself is actually many different installer packages grouped together for installation. It's possible to use the View Package Contents feature of the Finder to browse the contents of an installer package, but without knowing where to look, where to install the pieces, and how to properly set permissions, this isn't a very easy task.

Luckily, third-party developers have provided solutions to this dilemma. There are currently several utilities for working with packages, including OS X Package Manager, ReViewPkg, and Pacifist. Pacifist (http://www.charlessoft.com/) is my current favorite. By dragging an installer package onto the application's icon (or the Pacifist window if it is already running), Pacifist presents you with a list of software included in the package, and gives you the option of installing individual items.

This is a good place to provide an example of what you can do with Pacifist. I mentioned earlier in the chapter that if you move any of Apple's OS X applications from their original location, Apple's Mac OS X updaters will not update these applications correctly. When I installed OS X 10.2, I accidentally moved the Mail application inside another folder. When I used the Mac OS X 10.2.2 updater, it was unable to update Mail. So I was left with Mac OS X 10.2.2, except for Mail, which was still stuck at an older version. I could have run the entire OS updater again, but an easier solution was to use Pacifist to update just Mail. Here's how to do it:

  1. Launch Pacifist.

  2. Mount the Mac OS X 10.2.2 Update disk image in the Finder.

  3. Drag the MacOSXUpdate10.2.2.pkg package onto the Pacifist window.

  4. Pacifist will present you with a list of the package's contents; click the disclosure triangle next to Applications to see the applications contained in the package. You'll see Mail.app as one of the options (Figure 4.7).

    Click To expand
    Figure 4.7: The contents of the Mac OS X 10.2.2 updater package as viewed in Pacifist

  5. Select Mail.app. If you click on the Get Info button, you'll see some information about the Mail application, including where it will be installed and the permissions that will be set for it.

  6. Click the Install button to install the Mail application in its default location. Pacifist will confirm the action, and then ask you for an admin username and password. (You can also choose to save the application elsewhere, using the Extract To button, but I recommend using the Install command.)

  7. Pacifist will then present a dialog telling you that Mail already exists, and asking you what to do: stop, leave the original application alone, replace it, or update it. Click the Update button and Pacifist will update the Mail application. (If I had instead been extracting the full Mail application from the OS X installer CDs, I would have clicked the Replace button. If no previous version existed, I wouldn't have seen this particular dialog; Pacifist would have simply installed the application.)

Note 

If you want to extract/install items from the Mac OS X installer CDs, when you open the CD in the Finder it may appear as though there are no packages on the CD. The reason is that all of the installer packages are located in a hidden folder on the CD, /Volumes/MacOS X Install Disc 1/System/Installation/Packages. (If you have a single DVD, the path will be slightly different.) You can get to this folder by selecting Go Go To Folder in the Finder and typing in this path. You can also access these packages by opening a new Finder window, selecting View as Columns, and then navigating to the Packages folder. You can then drag individual packages onto Pacifist to view the files installed by each. (Most of the key System-level files are contained in BaseSystem.pkg and Essentials.pkg.)

Updating/Reinstalling the Entire OS

User Level:

admin

Affects:

computer

Terminal:

no

If you buy a new Mac, it comes with the latest version of Mac OS X pre-installed; if you want to install Mac OS X on a new hard drive, you just insert the OS X Install CD or DVD, run the installer application, and select the new hard drive when asked for the installation destination. However, what if you want to install a newer OS X over an existing Mac OS X installation (e.g., version 10.1.x or earlier)? The OS X installer includes an "upgrade" option, but many users have reported problems when using this option; if your current installation has any problems, those problems will likely still exist, and possibly be worsened, by installing a newer OS X on top. Or, what if you're having serious problems with your current OS X installation and want to just reinstall and start over? Chances are you've got accounts set up and personal data and preferences that you don't want to lose.

The installers for Mac OS 9 and earlier provided users with the option of a "clean install"—a new System Folder was installed, but your previous System Folder was preserved. This was considered a good way to get a "safe" system, and then gradually transfer over any preference files and system add-ons, rather than simply dumping a new system on top of an older one (especially bad when the old system was having problems). Users of Mac OS X waited a long time to get similar functionality, and OS X 10.2 and later finally provide it—and do it one better.

OS X's version of the clean install is called "Archive and Install," and is available from the OS X installer's Options screen (Figure 4.8), which appears immediately after you've chosen a destination for installation (in this case, presumably the volume that already has OS X on it). When you choose the Archive and Install option, all of the files from your existing OS X installation (whatever the version of that installation may be) are moved into a new folder at the root level of your hard drive called Previous Systems. OS X is then installed as if the hard drive has no operating system. In addition, the installer moves any third-party applications that you had previously installed into the new /Applications directory, saving you the trouble of reinstalling them.

Click To expand
Figure 4.8: The Archive and Install option of OS X 10.2 and later

A second option, called Preserve Users and Network Settings, (Figure 4.8) is where the newer installer really shines. This option retains all of your user accounts, files, and settings, as well as your system-wide network, Internet, and dial-up settings. When the installation is complete, you can restart your computer and boot into your new copy of OS X without missing a beat. The login screen will appear with all of your user accounts available, and you can connect to the Internet immediately upon logging in.

If you're reinstalling OS X 10.2 or later, or installing it over a previous version of Mac OS X, I highly recommend these two options, as such an installation will likely be more stable than an "Update" install, and will get you up and running much faster than an Erase and Install, or even just an Archive and Install (which would still require you to set up all of your accounts and network settings).

Note 

The Archive and Install option is only available from the full install CDs for OS X 10.2 and later. It is not available from OS X "update" CDs—the free update CDs Apple provides for users who buy a new Mac or copy of OS X after a major release (10.2, 10.3) is announced, but before it's available. I've seen mentions on the web of a procedure (unsanctioned by Apple) to turn the update CD into a standard installer that provides these options, but otherwise users with update CDs will have to simply use the "Update" install.

However, despite the advantages of an Archive and Install, even with the Preserve Users and Network Settings, there is still some cleanup that needs to be done to get your Mac running as it was before the install.

Restoring Other Files after an Archive and Install

User Level:

admin

Affects:

computer

Terminal:

no

Although the previous procedure preserves your user accounts and network settings, and even your installed applications, there are a good number of system-level files that didn't get transferred over to your new installation of OS X. You may want or need some of these if you want your new system to have the same functionality as your old system. Some examples are system-level system add-ons and plug-ins, and application support files.

At the root level of your hard drive, you'll find a folder called Previous Systems. If you open this folder, you'll find a sub-folder called Previous System 1 with contents that mirror the files and folders at the root level of your hard drive: Applications, etc, Library, mach, mach.sym, System, Users, and var; you may also have a folder called Developer. These files and folders are simply the previous contents of your hard drive—your old Mac OS X. While you'll eventually throw many of the files inside these folders away, some are things you may want to transfer over to their corresponding locations in your new installation of OS X. Follow the guidelines below to decide what to move from the "Previous Systems 1" folder to the corresponding location in your new OS X installation (and what to leave).

Note 

Note: If you attempt to move a file or folder from your "Previous" system to your new OS X installation and get an error that you don't have the right privileges, you may need to use the Finder's Get Info command to change them (as described in Chapter 1). Just be sure that after you move the items, you change privileges back to their original values. An easier way to move restricted files without changing permissions is to use a utility such as SkyTag Software's File Buddy (http://skytag.com/filebuddy/), which allows you to move files and folders using root/admin access.

  • mach, mach.sym These files have been replaced by updated versions; you can safely ignore them.

  • Developer If you're upgrading from an earlier version of Mac OS X, the developer support files in this folder are not compatible with the newer OS X; you should leave this folder and its contents here. If you're reinstalling the same version of OS X, you can either move the "Previous" Developer folder to the root level of your hard drive, or leave it here and install a fresh copy of the Developer tools.

  • Applications All of your previously installed applications and utilities have been moved from this folder to the new Applications folder at the root level of your hard drive. In fact, the only files you will find inside this folder are older versions of Apple-provided applications, all of which have been replaced by newer versions in the new Applications folder. The same is true of the Utilities sub-folder. The lone exception is if you had previously moved files or folders inside the AppleScript folder under your previous Mac OS X installation; if you did, they will still be inside the archived AppleScript folder, and you will need to manually move them to the new Applications folder.

  • Users As explained previously, the OS X installer moves all user folders from the archived Users folder to the new OS X Users directory—except for one. For some reason the Shared user folder does not get transferred. If you had previously placed files in the Shared user folder, you'll need to manually move them from the archived Shared folder to the Shared user folder in your new Users directory. (Make sure you copy the contents of the folder and not the entire folder.)

  • Library This is the most complex folder to deal with because of the mix of older Apple-installed files that you don't want to transfer over and newer user- or application-installed files that you do. Luckily, again, the OS X installer does a few things for you. It moves the Application Support, iTunes, and PreferencePanes folders, as well as the contents of the Preferences directory, into the new /Library folder. However, many applications install other support files in this folder, and other files, such as contextual menu plug-ins, browser plug-ins, and Services are installed here for system-wide use. If you decide to manually reinstall applications, support files, and third-party add-ons from scratch (some people do), then you can ignore this folder. However, if you want to retain the full functionality of your previously installed software, going through this folder is the only way to do it. Note that because of privilege issues, when you drag files from the archived Library folder to the new Library folder, some files will copy while others will be moved; this is normal.

    The first step is to look for any folders that exist in the archived Library folder that don't exist in the new Library folder. It's safe to simply drag these over wholesale. Dealing with the rest of the folder is a bit more tedious. You'll need to open the new Library folder and the archived Library folder side-by-side and compare the contents of each sub-folder. Files that exist in the old Library but don't exist in the new one can be moved over—some examples are fonts and Internet Plug-Ins. On the other hand, don't replace files or folders that already exist in the new folder—chances are these are newer versions—without first checking the version numbers and/or creation dates on each (using the Finder's Get Info command). A few folders warrant special consideration:

    • Don't transfer the contents of /Library/Caches from the archive to the new /Library. OS X will recreate these files as needed.

    • In the /Library/Receipts archive, only copy over receipts that were clearly installed by third-party software (e.g., FaxSTF, Windows Media Player). If you're unsure about an item, leave it—these aren't vital.

    • If you were previously running a web server off your Mac, but were using the system-level web directory rather than your user-level web directory, be sure to transfer any custom contents of /Library/WebServer/Documents.

    If you installed a new OS X over a version of OS X prior to 10.2, the following three tips apply:

    • The folder /Library/ColorSync/Scripts in the archive corresponds to the new directory /Library/Scripts/ColorSync .

    • In OS X 10.2 and later, Apple has replaced some of the available login pictures with new ones. If you'd like to retain all of the pictures from Mac OS X 10.1.x, make sure you move the appropriate files and folders—specifically the Cheetah and Orangutan files and the Landscapes and X Images folders—from the old /Library/User Pictures folder to the new one.

    • Before transferring any files from /Library/Printers, try setting up your printer—there's a good chance support for your printer already exists in the new version of OS X. The exception is if you had previously installed FaxSTF, in which case you should transfer over the /Library/Printers/SmithMicro folder.

  • System This folder can largely be ignored, as it is rarely modified by users or applications, and the new OS X System directory contains newer versions of almost everything. One exception occurs if you've customized sendmail (Mac OS X's built-in Unix mail server); if so, carefully check the contents of the archived /System/Library/StartupItems/Sendmail folder. You may need to move some of these files over (and you will probably need to change permissions or use File Buddy or another utility to do it).

  • etc and var These two "folders" are actually aliases to folders within the invisible /private directory in your archived OS X folder. Most users can safely ignore them. However, for a few users (you'll know if you're one of them) there is important information contained in a few subfolders:

    • /etc/crontab If you've made changes to cron, this file is important.

    • /etc/hostconfig If you've set up sendmail on your Mac, this file is important.

    • /etc/httpd.conf If you've manually edited your Apache configuration, you'll want to move this file over.

    • /usr/local Some Unix software packages (MySQL, CVS, ViaVoice) install files in this directory. Unless you plan to reinstall these packages, you will need to move their support files to your new /usr/local directory.

    • /var/log This folder contains archives of system-level log files. If they're valuable to you, copy them over.

    • /var/mail Again, if you've set up sendmail on your Mac, the contents of this folder are important.

    • /var/root If you previously enabled the root user in Mac OS X, this is the root user's user folder, and contains the Desktop, Documents, and user-level Library directories (as well as any other files/folders that may have been created or saved to the "home" folder when logged in as root).

  • Kernel Extensions One other type of file that the OS X installer does not move into your new installation of OS X is kernel extensions (located in /System/Library/Extensions). And with good reason, since they interact with the OS at a very low level and incompatibilities can cause major problems. If you're not sure which kernel extensions to move over, a safer approach is to simply reinstall them using the original installer. Examples of applications that install kernel extensions include USB Overdrive, Kensington Mouseworks, and other utilities that affect input devices.

Once you've used these guidelines to transfer files over from the archived system to your new OS X installation, it's a good idea to restart your computer and then login. You'll need to set up your printer(s) again, but apart from that there should be minimal additional setup necessary. Once your Mac has been running smoothly for a few days, you can delete the Previous Systems folder and its contents; note that some of the remaining files may have permissions that prevent you from doing this without changing some permissions; in order to delete the folder, select it in the Finder, and use the Get Info command to give yourself read and write privileges. Click the "Apply to Enclosed Items" button to change the permissions of everything inside the folder. You can now drag it to the Trash.

Note 

If you installed a newer version of OS X over an older version, it's possible that some of your older software doesn't work with the new OS. If one of these applications was previously set up as a Login Item, it will launch at login just as it did before, which can cause problems. To fix this, press the shift key just after the login/startup screen, and hold it down until after the Finder loads—this will prevent all Login Items from loading. You can then remove the offending Login Item from the Login pane of System Preferences and then log out and back in.

After installing Mac OS X, especially when you've performed an Archive and Install, it's a good idea to run the Repair Disk Permissions feature of Disk Utility to ensure that all system-level files have the correct privileges.

Note 

If you're reinstalling the same version of OS X you previously had installed, remember to also reinstall any updates to OS X that have been released, since your OS X installation CDs/DVDs are most likely not the latest version.

Forcing Apple Setup to (Re-)Run after an OS Install

User Level:

admin

Affects:

computer

Terminal:

yes

The first time you startup your Mac in OS X, the Apple Setup utility begins and walks you through the setup process. Afterwards, you never see it again. However, if you've reinstalled the entire OS and want it to run to make setup a bit easier, here's the quick and dirty solution: launch Terminal and type sudo rm /private/var/db/.AppleSetupDone <RETURN>. Restart your Mac, and the Apple Setup Utility will run at startup.




 
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