From Snow Leopard To Yosemite

From Snow Leopard To Yosemite - by David R Beebe
You may remember the overwhelming issues I experienced with upgrading from OS X Snow Leopard to OS X Mavericks last June. I am happy to report that the new attempt to upgrade from OS X 10.6.8 to OS X 10.10.1 has been flawless. Here is the upgrade path I followed:

  • I waited for the 10/10.1 release as there is no reason I can think of to ever upgrade to a .0 release.
  • I purchased a USB powered WD Passport Ultra 500GB HD from Amazon. It matches the size of the current disk I have for Macintosh HD after I got rid of the failing (again) Seagate that Apple had already replaced once.
  • Using Disk Utility, I partitioned the volume with 1 partition with the GUID Partition Table option set to make it a bootable drive. I erased the disk mount point to format it as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • Using Disk Utility, I repaired permissions on Macintosh HD (SuperDuper! can do this also).
  • I used the app SuperDuper! to clone my previous OS X boot disk to the WD Passport.
  • I booted from the WD Passport external.
  • Using Disk Utility from WD Passport, I ran Repair Disk against Macintosh HD just to make sure there were no disk errors (You can’t do this on the drive you booted from). Disk errors screwing up the upgrade seemed to be the most common reason for poor reviews of the OS X. Not really the upgrades fault though. This step also verified that the bootable disk really works and provides a safety net outside of Time Machine.
  • I booted back to Macintosh HD. From the App Store, I downloaded Yosemite update and let it install.
  • I applied updates as they came available. You won’t have as many to deal with coming from a later OS X. Camera Raw and my printer driver came up as updates in the App Store as did the Works suite and iMovie/iPhoto. My Wacom tablet and Epson scanner work. Toast 11 had to be updated to 11.2 and I need to test it with my LG BD burner.
  • One odd thing I've uncovered is that if I boot from my external Snow Leopard disk, the internal Yosemite disk does not appear in the System Preferences/Startup Disk list. I have to restart, hold the Option key and select Macintosh HD from there. Once restarted on Yosemite, I can select it as the future Startup Disk.
  • I tested all of the minor apps first. So far, all of my issues with OS X Mavericks have been addressed in Yosemite. I can again publish my calendars to my own web server so that my old MacBook Pro running OS X 10.6.8 can still subscribe to them.
  • I’ve had no problems with SplashID, Quicken or TurboTax. TurboTax was the last straw that forced me to update OS X 10.10.1 as it would not run on OS X 10.6.8.
  • My Aperture libraries had to be updated to from 3.4 to 4.6. One of the recent changes I’ve made is to hold all of my Aperture libraries on a WD MyBook 3TB. I use SuperDuper! to backup each night to a 2nd WD MyBook 3TB. I did this because I had outgrown the capacity of my 4TB Time Machine disk. Before proceeding with the Aperture update and test, I took the 2nd WD MyBook 3TB offline until I am satisfied that all is working. Once a library is converted to the new format, there is no way back. This may be a non-issue for you if your libraries are already there. The upgrade is only needed once per library but it is a little cumbersome. If I select a 3.4 library, I am told I have to relaunch Aperture first. Then I am prompted to upgrade it. It would be nice if there was a batch update process.
  • RapidWeaver 5, which I use to create my main website structure, works as-is with Yosemite.
  • My very old copy of jAlbum 7.4, which I use to create separate photography projects, required the legacy Java for OS X be installed. You can find it at Apple here.
  • The final hurdle was the upgrade of my FCP projects. The Contour Shuttle needed a new driver and doesn't work as expected. Keyboard Maestro needs to be tested with FCP.

So bottom line, I think the upgrade is safe with a little bit of care and preplanning. From my perspective, it doesn’t seem to deserve the overwhelming number of 1 star reviews (50% more than 5 star reviews). I repeated the above process on my MacBook Air, upgrading from OS X 7.1.5 without issues as well.