Relevant mostly to OS X admins
10.5 to 10.9 upgrade
March 15, 2014Posted by on
The time came to upgrade my mom’s trusty iMac 8,1 to Mavericks: being stuck on Firefox 16 and no access to the App Store just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Unfortunately, the minimum system requirements to install Mavericks is to already be on 10.6.8. I didn’t want to sit through 2 OS upgrades, so instead I went with the following:
- Purchase Snow Leopard. Not a required technical step, but technically required to be legally compliant. If you opt to skip this step, Apple will never know.
- Partition a spare external drive into 2 volumes. I took an unused 1TB drive, made a 50 gig partition, named it Tools, and named the rest Transfer.
- Use AutoDMG to make an unbooted 10.9.2 .dmg, including extra packages as needed. Since she’s a CrashPlan user, Java was appropriate.
- Use Disk Utility to duplicate that .dmg output to both the Transfer and Tools partitions.
- Boot my computer from the Tools partition, and go through the setup wizard. I then downloaded Carbon Copy Cloner into the Tools volume.
- Take this disk to mom’s place, and boot from the Transfer volume. The never touched 10.9.2 install will start, and Migration Assistant will be happy to see the computer’s internal drive and Time Machine as sources to migrate from, and import data and settings to this temporary boot volume. Don’t let the icons confuse you- in this case, they’re backwards, and don’t represent what’s really happening:
- When this completed, I had a full copy of her stuff migrated into 10.9, and I’ve not yet touched her real boot volume. In the small possibility that something might go awry, no real data was at risk. At this point, I could confirm the new volume, see that Mail upgraded, printer drivers downloaded, ect.
- Once satisfied the import to the new OS was working properly, I rebooted from the Tools volume, and used Carbon Copy Cloner sync the internal disk to match the Transfer volume. It’s smart enough to see that there’s not a recovery partition on the old 10.5.8 disk, and handle making that.
- With that done, it’s all good to go, and I have one more copy of her iMac in case old harddrive starts acting old.