3 Replies Latest reply: May 8, 2013 7:48 AM by Pondini
zairmaq Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Ive just upgraded to Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard (after cleaning, checking and formatting my mac).

 

I dont have a time machine backup from the Snow Leopard time, but did copy ALL of my computers previous content on an external hard drive.

 

I now need the various apps and plugins etc that I had installed and was using at the time of Snow Leopard.

 

Is it possible to install Snow Leopard again, then paste all of the previous apps, plugins, files, folders, etc. from the external Hard Drive back in - order to continue using the MacBook as I had been previously?

 

Any experiences and advice appreciated.

 

Thanks


MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    zairmaq wrote:

    . . .

    I dont have a time machine backup from the Snow Leopard time, but did copy ALL of my computers previous content on an external hard drive.

    Exactly what did you copy, and how did you do it?  If you used the Finder and copied your Applications folder and your home folder, you probably missed a lot of critical stuff.

     

    Is it possible to install Snow Leopard again, then paste all of the previous apps, plugins, files, folders, etc. from the external Hard Drive back in - order to continue using the MacBook as I had been previously?

    Probably not.   Many 3rd-party applications (typically the ones that come with their own installers), install more than just the app in the Applications folder.  They may also install "helper" apps and/or other files in other places, such as to make background jobs run at the proper time.  And some may be hidden, so the Finder won't copy them.  If you don't know what all those are, the app probably won't work properly, if at all.  Thus the apps need to be installed from the original discs or re-downloaded.

     

    Simple apps, though, such as ones you just dropped into the Applications folder, will probably be fine.  But be sure you get any associated data files (usually somewhere in your home folder), too.

     

    Plugins are similar -- some (perhaps most) will work fine;  others may not.

     

    But if that's all you've got, about all you can do is copy what you can, reinstall what you can, and deal with the resulting problems as best you can.

     

     

    That's the advantage of a "proper" (ie, full) backup, such as those made by Time Machine or one of the "cloning" apps (CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper).  They save everything, including hidden files and folders, and items you don't normally have permission to see or copy.  When you do a full system restore, or use Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant, all that stuff is transferred seamlessly.

  • zairmaq Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for addressing my query Pondini.

     

     

    Pondini wrote:

     

    zairmaq wrote:

    . . .

    I dont have a time machine backup from the Snow Leopard time, but did copy ALL of my computers previous content on an external hard drive.

    Exactly what did you copy, and how did you do it?  If you used the Finder and copied your Applications folder and your home folder, you probably missed a lot of critical stuff.

    I copied all of the contents under the 'Macintosh HD' directory in finder

    ie Applications, Application support, caches, library, systems, users etc etc

     

    Most of the apps had their own installers. Then I had to manually ad plugins, vstis, preset packs etc etc after performing seperate installs for some, unarchiving for others. It was a very painstaking task that had taken about 2 years...

     

    Hence I am thinking that If i have a copy of all the directories inclusive of contained files still in tact, I would revert to Snow Leopard istantly as opposed to starting fresh...

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    zairmaq wrote:

    . . .

    I copied all of the contents under the 'Macintosh HD' directory in finder

    ie Applications, Application support, caches, library, systems, users etc etc

    Ah, that's most of what you'll need.

     

    Most of the apps had their own installers.

    Then you should be able to get nearly everything for 3rd-party apps back, assuming those apps weren't upgraded and will work on Snow Leopard.  Many of the files involved will be in the top-level Library folder, especially the Application Support, LaunchDaemons, LaunchAgents, Preferences, and PreferencePanes sub-folders.  But there may be others.  That sort of app isn't supposed to put anything in the top-level System folder, but a few do.  I have no idea how to find them, so your best bet will be to reinstall as many of those apps as possible from the original discs and/or downloads.

     

    Then I had to manually ad plugins, vstis, preset packs etc etc after performing seperate installs for some, unarchiving for others. It was a very painstaking task that had taken about 2 years...

    You'll have to copy all of those as well, of course.

     

    Hence I am thinking that If i have a copy of all the directories inclusive of contained files still in tact, I would revert to Snow Leopard istantly as opposed to starting fresh...

    Ah, you want to revert from Mountain Lion to Snow Leopard.  I was afraid of that. 

     

    There's no easy or automated way to do that.  You can go "forward" (from Snow Leopard to Lion or Mountain Lion, for example).  That's because some apps have different file/folder structures and layouts. Newer versions of OSX have the ability to convert the older setups to the new one.   But you can't go "backwards" because the older versions don't have any idea how to deal with the newer setups.

     

    Thus, the only way to revert to Snow Leopard is to reformat your drive, install Snow Leopard, then copy your stuff "piecemeal."  But you can't revert everything that way.  The Snow Leopard version of Mail, for one, isn't going to work with the Mountain Lion version of the file layout.  I don't know of any way to convert them without a working version of Mountain Lion.   There may be others, too.

     

    There is a User Tip covering this:  https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-3351.  It's not as clear as it might be, and doesn't give any details on what to copy once Snow Leopard is installed, though.