Apr 27 2009
What to do before installing Panther
By: Jon Gales
Well this is it. The Monday before the Friday that Panther becomes mainstream. Since this is the last day to write a PowerUser Monday before Panther ships, I figured that I would let you in on some installation tips. It’s a big change, but hopefully these simple tips will help smooth the transition.
Seems obvious, but with OS X it’s pretty darn easy. Unless you’ve tried to massage OS X into OS 9 by tossing out the theory of a Home folder (yes, I’ve seen it done), you should be able to get by with only backing up the following:
- Home Folder – Again, this should be pretty obvious. The Desktop, Documents, Pictures, and Music folders are all stored here. Also, the user Library (~/Library) is kept here. You’ll soon find out that a lot of important stuff is kept here.
- Applications – Some people like to start fresh with their Application folder after intsalling a new OS. To each his own, but you’ll never say, “Oh crap, I backed up my Applications.” It’s not that hard. Do it. Depending on what kind of installation for Panther you do, your applications may or may not be copied over. However, anytime you do something major like install an OS, don’t risk it. Back up just in case.
- Main Library – Back up /Library to scoop up all the loose ends. This is easy to forget, but important stuff like the WebServer directory live in this folder. Other goodies include all access Fonts, printer drivers, some Application Support items and some application documentation. You may not need any of these things, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Take a quick look at / just to make sure there are no rogue files that you need that aren’t in any of the aforementioned directories. Remember that everything on the Desktop is really in the Home folder (even though it looks like it’s “on top”).
Once you pop in the disc and click through enough screens that you’re actually ready to install, look for the customize button. Click it and then look for stuff that is checked that you don’t need. A great example of this is all of the language files that Panther tries to install by default. I only know English, so I check off all the extra ones.
Another great example is the load of printer drivers. You know how when you plug in a printer it “just works”? Well that’s not a miracle. Standard installs put on over half a gigabyte of printer drivers. If hard drive space is limited, uncheck the drivers that you don’t need. Epson’s drivers are the biggest by far, so if you don’t have an Epson, you get a lot more disk space.
Register. As long as you bought a legitimate copy (there’s no excuse not to when you look at the family pack), go ahead and register. I know it’s annoying, but every once in a while Apple surprises you with a free gift (normally a year of Macworld). I’ve even heard reports of users getting gifts for registering iSync (a free product!).
Once everything is installed, just sit back and have fun. Panther is great. I’ll be back next week with some killer Panther tips, so stay tuned!