Off to a Slow Start

After a tense few hours or so, I finally get Mac OS X Tiger reinstalled on my hard disk.

I started my disk reformatting project this morning as soon as I got to the office.

The first step was to archive all the stuff I didn’t need on my hard disk but didn’t want to throw away. Fortunately, all this stuff — primarily software and updaters I’ve downloaded over the past few months — was already in its own folder and would fit on a CD. I made the CD and deleted the originals.

Then came the final backup. I quit all open applications and plugged in the portable FireWire hard disk I bought a few months ago. Then I dragged my Home folder onto the hard disk icon. And waited.

It took close to an hour to count up all the files — 25 GB worth — and copy them onto the disk. While my main computer did that, I made a list of all the applications I’d want to reinstall. Then I plugged in my laptop and wrote a letter.

Next step was to restart the computer from the Tiger Install DVD. But before I started the install process, I used Disk Utility to erase the hard disk, writing over the entire surface with 0s. This is designed for security, but I used the feature to ensure that there were no phantom files on the disk and to force the computer to create brand new directories.

It took about an hour for the computer to finish this task and, when it was finished, it wouldn’t finish. I mean, it said it was creating the partition, but it kept saying that for another 30 minutes or so. There’s no way it should take so long to finish the job. So I quit Disk Utility, ignoring the warning that the disk might not be usable.

That was probably a mistake.

I then went back into Disk Utility and formatted the hard disk without the 0s. It finished up quickly and I was ready to install Tiger.

I set options so I wouldn’t have all those language files and weird fonts installed. I don’t need them and they just take up space on my computer. And clutter up my font menus. I also told the Installer to format the hard disk — why not? — and set the installer to work.

While the installer worked, I finished my letter. But when I tried to print it, I couldn’t. Both printers are “shared” through my production machine and its hard disk had been wiped clean. I could either mess around with the printer cables or wait. I decided to wait.

It would be a long wait. After a while, the Installer told me there was an error in the installation and that I should try again.

I did. Four times. I got an error message each time.

I tried working with Disk Utility again. It started giving me error messages. It couldn’t format the disk because it couldn’t unmount it. Then I shut down and tried to restart from the Disk Warrior CD. No way. TechTools didn’t work, either. It was the Tiger DVD or nothing.

When I had the Tiger CD out of the drive, I checked it over carefully. It looked scratched. I wondered whether it had gotten the scratches in my office or on the worktable at the Apple Store. I wiped it before sticking it back in. Then I started the installer for the fifth time. While it worked, I started surfing the ‘Net from my laptop, looking for a replacement hard drive.

I was ready to start making phone calls when I looked over and saw that the installer had finished without any errors. I restarted the computer and was very happy to see the computer start from the hard disk.

Whew!

By now it was after noon and I had to meet someone at 3 PM. So I started installing software and copying documents from the portable hard disk. At the same time.

Did you know that iLife ’06 takes close to an hour to install on a Dual G5?

I used the .Mac sync feature to get my address book and calendar from my .Mac account. I copied the contents of my Mail folder (in my Library folder) to the same place on the new hard disk and my mail was all restored. I copied my iTunes music library over — all 3,000+ songs. iTunes works great. When I left, the computer was working on the 11,000+ pictures in my Pictures folder. With luck, iPhoto will work great when I get to the office tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish installing the software and documents. And then I’ll get back to work.

What do you think?