New iMac – Set up and Migration
I finally got around to setting up my new iMac on Wednesday. A new computer had been on the cards for a while as mine was 5-6 years old and I do use it everyday in a professional capacity as a freelance website designer.
I’ve always been a Mac user, starting way back with a family-owned Mac LC then my own LC 475 with a whopping 40Mb hard drive! I then upgraded to a Performa 6400 whilst at university and then an eMac. Followed by a short-lived Powerbook and then my Dual-Processor 2 Ghz G5 PowerMac which has been a reliable workhorse for a while.
I did think about getting another Tower based Mac, the Mac Pro but they aren’t cheap so ended up buying an iMac, and the bottom of the range one at that with a 21.5 inch built in screen, Core 2 Duo processor at 3.06Ghz and 8GB of RAM. I know it is still pretty expensive and I have thought of changing over to a Windows based PC to save some money on the purchase of the computer in the past. This time though that wasn’t an option and at just a little over £800 it wasn’t much more expensive than a comparable PC.
It arrived last week but I didn’t set it up straight away as I was in the middle of a website design project. I finished that and launched the site on Tuesday so set up the iMac on Wednesday. First of all I made several complete cloned back-ups of my PowerMac, and tested the back-ups by booting from them.
Then came the unboxing which with Apple packaging is always a pleasant affair. I may be a bit of a Apple fan, but there’s no denying that they do make good looking kit. It was then time to crawl under my desk and do battle with the spaghetti mess of cables. I unplugged everything from the PowerMac except one back up drive and plugged it into the iMac. The came the moment of truth, time to switch it on.
Bong, that familiar start up chime, and up popped Snow Leopard on my new computer. So far so good, it automatically found the funky new bluetooth ‘magic Mouse’ and keyboard and paired with them on its own and then started asking me some set up questions. This is where I hit my first problem. I tried typing in my name, but the middle row of letter on the keyboard didn’t work. I tried a few things but it was definitely broken so I called the AppleCare number and arranged for a replacement to be delivered to me.
Luckily I had a USB keyboard so plugged that in and continued with the set-up. There was actually very little that needed to be done and within 5 minutes I was up and running with my new computer and new operating system.
The upgrade involved changing from the G5 chipset to the Intel chips and a jump from Tiger to Snow Leopard (10.4 – 10.6) so I didn’t use the Migration Assistant built into the OS to transfer all of my ‘stuff’ from the old computer but did it manually. This did take a bit of time, but it was easy enough to do. With one of the back up drives from my old computer attached to the iMac I simply copied stuff across. This included all of my documents, music, videos etc. The applications were a little more complicated as I wanted to install them afresh, but also copy across all of my settings etc. It wasn’t too bad though, I installed the app, copied across its folder from the Application Support directory and from the preferences directory and for the most part that was all that was needed.
All was up and running and Time Machine had kicked in and stared backing my new computer up too.
The only thing that took a bit of time was setting up my web-server. OS X comes with Apache and PHP built in, but I had to remind myself how to enable PHP and how to change the Apache Configuration files so that it would process Server Side Includes etc. on my local machine. A bit of Googling and some config file changes and all was working just the way I wanted it.
I’m quite pleased with it so far. It is faster than my old machine. Benchmarks tests suggest that it is about twice the speed and although it is noticeably faster it isn’t a huge jump. That’s to be expected though as I went from a top of the range pro-user PowerMac to a bottom of the range consumer iMac. It is fine for what I need to do and the fact that I’m up to date with an Intel chip and the latest operating system means that I can at least run modern software.
I had to upgrade to a newer version of Photoshop (which added a little extra cost), but it is good to be up to date.
It did grind to a bit of a halt at one point yesterday. Investigation showed two processes were hogging the CPU and some research pointed to Spotlight indexing. I checked and at the time Spotlight was indexing an external volume attached to the iMac. I switched off spotlight indexing on internal volumes and it seemed to cure the problem.
The whole migration was a little stressful. I’d been putting it off for over a year simply because I didn’t like the prospect of moving everything from one computer to the other and getting everything set up just the way I wanted it. I don’t know why such things get me stressed. I know what I’m doing and always have back-ups and back-up plans, but I still don’t look forward to it so I’m now glad that it is done.
I’m sure there will be a few little things that I need to adjust and a few new features of the OS that I need to get used to. I’m also still waiting for the replacement bluetooth keyboard so that I can free my desk of another wire but I’m now up and running and there’s no looking back!