Tiger Prep


As more and more signs point to a sooner than later release of OS X 10.4 – Tiger – I find myself planning for that future. Huh? It’s ok, follow along and I’ll explain a skosh more.

You see, I hammer on my OS X system pretty hard. I’m constantly installing new applications to try them out, uninstalling apps (when I get around to it) to free up some space, trying new programming stuff on my local system, and so on and so forth. Let’s just say, I’m sure I cause more problems to my system than the typical user.

In the past, (shortly after ‘switching’) I ran into problems after updating the OS atop my thoroughly hammered system. You see, small bugs or problems that have surfaced over time – whether by your hand or that of software – are only magnified when a new version of the OS is installed on top of them. Often it breaks more things than you can really live with. I found all this out the hard way, and ended up reinstalling things to make it all better.

So as I anticipate the Tiger, I’m already cataloging my system settings, apps, plugins, helper files (like contextual menus, bookmarks, app DBs, etc), system preferences, and running a massive backup of all my personal files. Once I know the official release date of Tiger, I’ll wipe my system clean by doing a full installation from scratch. I’ll run all the software updates until it’s a pristine 10.3.8 (or .9 by that point..?) Then I’ll install all my apps again, set my preferences, and be back to normal working status, only on a machine that I know to be as bullet-proof as possible, awaiting the Tiger injection.

Ok, so I’m probably a little anal about this stuff. I surely don’t recommend this for everyone. But if you tinker more than the common user, and know there are subtle niggles that have surfaced over time, you might think about this process. It’s not great fun, but it’s easier to plan for it than to be caught by surprise and have to do it out of necessity should something go wrong after you’ve updated to 10.4.

So are there any other Mac users out there planning the same type of things I’m doing? I know I didn’t share my particular process, as that wasn’t my focus when penning this article – but what processes will/do you follow? (If you’d like mine, I’m happy to share that too of course.) Or do you think I’m flippin mad for putting myself through all this? Sound off people. What else have we got to do until tomorrow when we may or may not hear about Tiger officially…?



When Tiger arrives, I will install on one of my secondary drives. This system has less software installed and will allow me see if any problems arise. It all goes smooth, will move and install on main system drive.

Jamie Kirkpatrick

agreed, but you’ll find that happens anyway. all the stuff in /System/Library, /Library, /usr/local gets cleaned (thats the bulk of the crap that accumulates over time) + all apps installed. I personally use a different system to organise my apps – basically anything non-Apple i put in /Users/Shared/Applications and categorise under that. This means if I reinstall all my third party stuff is already installed and I only have to run though reinstalling things like Photoshop that put stuff in /Library.

I too was pretty reluctant about the whole upgrade process but I have to say that Apple have gone out of their way to make this as easy and as clean as possible. Use archive and install so you still have access to the old system folders for a few days should you need them – trust me…it just works® :)

Nick Santilli

Thanks for all the great thoughts and insight!

Jamie – it’s nice to hear this from someone who’s played around already. I’ll take it into account.

But I think more than anything, I’m thinking along the lines that DCMACTECH mentioned – just use it as an opportunity to clean all the extraneous stuff out of your system that you don’t use any longer. When it comes time to reinstall apps – you’re only gonna do the ones you really use. something about regaining some of that extra HD space. Especially when you’re on a powerbook with a set HD size like me.


Lots of good ideas here. If you are going to back up your Home folder be sure to clear out your user and browser cache files.

Its also a good time to clean out the HD of apps, folders, files and fonts that you don’t need.

Jamie Kirkpatrick

I have used the betas being a select memeber and all i can say is archive and install + migration assistant is all will need. Its the same as a clean install cept it preserves your user folders and imports key settings. I found it was minimal work to do the rest from there and the system is clean clean clean. trust me I have checked.


I think you’re on the money Nick. Of course, I’m hoping to solve the same problem with a brand spanking new PowerBook, with Tiger. Then I’ll just move my documents over, and reinstall all my apps with the most up to date versions :-)

David Alan Gregory

I hammer my Mac in a similar way and ALWAYS do the ‘Clean Install’ thing. With the new Core Data function coming with Tiger, PLEASE– back up all of your documents and stuff (yes, your iTunes Library) to Optical Media. Don’t trust your backup to erasable media. The same problem that can kill your HD data can screw up your external HD.
The Backup app that comes with .mac does a great job with DVD media. You can also save your keychain and all the other goodies to media or Apple’s servers.


Doing clean installs is for wimps!

There is very little reason to perform one with OSX, people who do it are simply wasting their time.


Mon Dieu! You’re already prepping for Tiger?! Is the plan to run out and get it Day One?

From someone who’s been around since before the System 6 days, a word of advice. Wait. Wait ’til you see the .1 release. Let the diehards find the bugs, and let Apple fix the most egregious. And save yourself innumerable headaches.

Yep, we’re all excited. But don’t be the first in line to meet the Tiger. She might still be hungry.


The Secret…..

1. Get Cocktail or something like it, and run through the system maintenance scripts, prebindings and permission rebuild.

2. Remove hard disk and place inside FireWire case.

3. Install Tiger on nice fresh hard disk.

4. At the end of the tiger intallation, it will ask if you already have another OS X system. Say “Yes” and plug in your FireWire case.

5. The apple installer will move all your old programs and info from the firewire disk to your new Tiger System.

6. Enjoy the goodlife with a nice fresh Tiger system and all your old apps living in perfect harmony.

I HIGHLY recomend this method, as you will probably be running Tiger on the new drive for the next 18-24 months. Drives are cheap enought today to warrant replacing every 24 months. You can use your old drive for back ups etc.



As far as Windows is concerned, I would NEVER run an upgrade – however it’s done. But I’m pretty confident about Mac OSX and Apple, so I’ll just to a standard upgrade here… Of course, only after I’ve saved all my docs, bookmarks, etc…


I’m going to do a clean install of Tiger. I am already preparing for it, organizing, deleting, and backing up all my files..

Then i’ll wipe my hard drive, install Tiger, and throw all my documents and such back on there and re-install all my apps. It’s a bit more work to do a clean install, but its well worth it in the end IMO.


Definitely do a clean install of Tiger if your going to all the trouble.

Once your stuff is backed up just wait till Tiger and then do one last back up of any new Docs or Apps.

I’d then install your Docs and most important Software first then start adding the kitchen sink

Nick Santilli

Paul – good point.
But what about all the junk that’s accumulated from Apps being installed, uninstalled/removed, hacked around with…?
That stuff is in the /Library folder, not /System.

f course, I’m not too proud to ask – is that part of the clean System install process? I didn’t think it was, but of course I’ve been wrong once or twice before…

Paul Grandinetti

Look, Apple has thought of this already. There an option during the install of an upgraded OS that will let you install a clean System Folder and it will automatically transfer your old setting into the new Ssytem. Once this is done you can trash the Old System Folder and your done. Don’t waste your time, let Apple do it for you

Nick Santilli

Mostly because I’ve only got the powerbook – no other systems to use in the meantime. So having all my other apps installed and usable in the meantime is necessary for me. Then when Tiger arrives, I just update the OS and I’m fully ready to roll. I’ve got so many apps on my system that it takes a while to do the dang thing were I to wait for Tiger to come out and do it all at once.

But who knows. I’ve got some bigger projects coming up – if they hit before Tiger comes along, then I won’t have time to do all this ‘prep’ until Tiger’s out. Then I will just do the straight Tiger install.
If things get drawn-out, and I’ve got more time sooner than later, I’ll go ahead with my ‘prep’ work.


Why not just do the whole backup thing and do a fresh install of Tiger instead of taking the time to reinstall Panther and then install Tiger.
Upgrades are never as clean as a fresh install. Personally, I’ve got my new 250 GB hard drive ready in my G5 to take on cloned images of my G5 system partition and my PowerBook once I get that Tiger disk.

David Appleyard

Tomorrow shall enlighten us… hopefully…

Out of interest, why do you re-install everything on your copy of Panther, then wait for the ‘Tiger Injection’. Why not just format and re-install everything on Tiger once your copy arrives?

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