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Tutorial: Upgrading to Tiger 10.4.x & FCP 5 Suite

May, 2005

Upgrading to Tiger 10.4.x & FCP 5 Suite
A Procedure That Works For Me


By David A. Saraceno


Apple has both substantially upgraded its operating system, and started shipping the Final Cut Pro 5 application suite, which consists of new versions of Final Cut Pro, Motion, DVD SP, SoundTrack Pro, Compressor, etc. Although the Suite will run in 10.3.9, Tiger (10.4.1) is the recommended OS to take full advantage of many of the Suite's new features and capabilities.

The question remains as to how to move to FCP5 and 10.4 with the minimum of issues. The process delineated below is the path I always follow for both "dot-one" OS maintenance upgrades, and a wholesale upgrade such as Panther to Tiger. It is a tedious, time consuming process. It involves a number of steps, safeguards to preserve critical data, and some advanced preparation. However, at least for me, it rarely results in any substantial issue in the upgrade. However, while and I others recommend it, your mileage may vary.

What You Need:

1. A spare external FW or SATA drive of sufficient capacity to hold the full contents of your internal boot drive; or, an internal hard drive to which you can clone (not copy) the contents of the boot drive.

2. A cloning utility such as the shareware app Carbon Copy Cloner, or the $19.95 application SuperDuper. Tom Wolsky recommended SuperDuper to me as more versatile tool for both straight OS clones, and incremental backups. It was an excellent recommendation.

Carbon Copy Cloner

Super Duper

3. Install CD/DVDs for Tiger, FCP5 Suite, and all other applications on your boot drive together with a pdf or text file of all your application serial numbers.

4. A CD or individual files of all upgrades to your applications, utilities, and other files.

5. A digital text or hard copy of your ISP, mail, and other internet information.

6. About four to six hours.

The Procedure:

1. Using Apple's Disk Utility, repair permissions on your boot drive.

2. Then using Disk Utility, format/initialize your designated backup drive as MacOS HFS+ (extended), and name it "boot backup HD" or something similar.

3. Launch your cloning utility (CCC or SuperDuper), and make a complete clone of your boot drive. Depending on how big the volume is, be prepared to wait about 30 minutes or so (my time on a 40 Gb drive).

4. Once completed, carefully examine the back drive to determine if it contains all the files you need. You might even boot from it, and test it to determine that is contains all data, including apps, preferences, address book data, mail, and other critical files.

5. If you are completely satisfied that the all the cloned data is intact, launch the Tiger install DVD, and do a clean install of Tiger following a complete erasure of your boot drive. Do NOT do an archive and install, and do not have any external peripherals, including firewire drives, connected to the Macintosh when doing the install.

6. Once you've established your user preferences, repair permissions on the Tiger HD, and then run software updater to move to 10.4.1 or use a downloaded full installer of 10.4.1 ­ the procedure I prefer. Repair permissions again.

7. Install your FCP 5 Suite apps, and repair permissions again.

8. Reinstall all your other applications, utilities, and updates to them. Repair permissions.

9. Restore your mail account, address book data, bookmarks and other critical files from the cloned drive by copying the files to their appropriate places.

10. Repair permissions again.

The Result:

Again, before following these procedures, you should have a thorough, and comprehensive understanding of how your Macintosh operating system works. If you don't understand it, get a good book on Panther, or Tiger and read it thoroughly. Make certain your back drive is good quality, with good cabling and power supply.

It is absolutely critical that you make a perfect cloned copy using the utilities noted above ­ so make certain you understand how your cloning utility works. Verify that all your files and data are correctly cloned to the backup hard drive. Alternatively, back up critical files such address book data, mailboxes, preferences, text files, ISP info, iTunes music, iPhoto data to a CD or DVD in addition to making a clone. You need to identify which files are necessary to be preserved.

I make no warranty as the procedure, so use it at your own risk. However, it is the procedure others and I follow, and we simply do not have the problems when upgrading that we see so often at 2-pop and elsewhere on the web.

Good luck.

Copyright ©2005 David A. Saraceno

David Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane, Washington. He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines. David also moderates several forums on

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