(Part 3 in my ongoing Lion upgrade/hard drive replacement saga...)

When I get my computer back in a few days, it will have a brand new hard drive with a clean Snow Leopard install. I will be upgrading the OS on the new drive to Lion. I have complete backups of my old drive on a Time Capsule, automatically backed up now and then by Time Machine. Should I restore this data before or after upgrading the OS? Would restoring Snow Leopard backups to a drive running Lion cause any problems?

(I am leaning toward getting the Lion upgrade out of the way first, just in case anything goes wrong, and then restoring my data to its new home.)


It won't matter as far as the software goes since Lion runs the migration script one time only on your Snow Leopard data whether you migrate it in from a backup or it's there when you do the upgrade to Lion.

From a human standpoint, I would encourage you to make a "test" account (pick a different short name to prevent conflict or confusion when migrating your "real" account later)

Updating and testing Lion lets you build confidence the Lion is working on your repaired hardware.

  • Run Snow Leopard updates to 10.6.6 at least to get the App Store if needed
  • Install Lion
  • Run all updates
  • Test Lion in the test user. Once you're happy it works, migrate in your user data.

There's no right or wrong here - so do whatever makes the most sense to you. You've had a rough spell with the first upgrade / hardware failure - no need to over complicate things unless you really feel more steps is better.

  • Thanks for the tips. But what's the purpose of doing this in a test user as opposed to in my regular user account?
    – hairboat
    Jul 23 '11 at 14:03
  • Thanks for catching that - if the short user names are the same - the migration assistant will want to rename your main account by changing the name. I'll edit the answer since that will surely confuse others.
    – bmike
    Jul 23 '11 at 14:06

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