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OS X Leopard-Unable to Archive & Install-Hard Drive Error?

by markw10 / November 27, 2009 6:09 PM PST

I am trying to do an archive and Install of OS X Leopard on a MBP but the installer won't allow me to do this.
I have tried the install by holding down the Option Key at bootup with the Leopard DVD in the drive. I follow all the options and then try to do an Archive and Install but when it gets to the screen with the Hard Drive icon it shows the Hard Drive icon with the Exclamation point in the yellow color. If I select options it tells me I have to erase the hard drive and do a fresh install of OS X.
I have also tried the install by booting into OS X and then selecting the OS X DVD icon and going through the same steps.
I have used Disk Utility and done both a verify and verify permissions but no errors at all are found. One odd issue is when I hold down the Option key at bootup it actually lists my internal hard drive twice. It appears everything is fine. Disk Utility finds now errors, shows it has the GUID partition table, and is formatted with OS X Journaled.

What started all of this is a couple weeks ago I started having Wi-Fi issues. Anywhere I connect to Wi-Fi it connects with the signal but I don't have internet. I'm not able to use Firefox, Safari, or Apple Mail. I posted earlier about this but was unable to fix this problem so eventually went to the Apple Genius Bar. They thought it was a simple issue and tried a couple procedures to renew IP or something like that and restoring some files. After none of that worked the guy then said it's something deeper in the OS and a Archive & Install is the best way to solve it.
When he tried this though it didn't work. He did a Verify in Disk Utility and found some hard drive errors so corrected them. Once this was done he did another Archive & Install and ran into the same problems I encountered.

Of course I'm still having this issue. His suggestion was to do the erase and said to first plug in my Time Machine Hard Drive, Do a Backup now, do the erase on the Hard Drive and reinstall Leopard, then he said Time Machine should prompt me to restore or something like that and will copy over all my stuff, documents, itunes music, dock settings, desktop, etc. Basically everything to put my computer back to where it was before. Now I do have a SuperDuper backup but since this is a mirror of the internal hard drive he said it would likely copy the problem back to my internal hard drive.

Is there a way to possibly do an archive & install? I prefer to go this route but don't know why it won't let me do it. If not, would the above suggested option with Time Machine solve this problem and would I lose any settings or data?

Another option I may try is I have Leopard on the Machine but have bought Snow Leopard. I haven't done the upgrade because one program I have, PGP, is not Snow Loepard compatible until the next version comes out. Since I haven't used PGP yet if necessary I am willing to uninstall it and install Snow Leopard but i'm not sure if the Snow Leopard upgrade will work and solve the Wi-Fi issue.

Thank you for your help.

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Nasty problem but,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 27, 2009 9:55 PM PST

I don't see where you have told us what version of OS X is currently on the machine.
I'm assuming 10.5, so I'll go with that.

To startup the machine from the install DVD, is this the restore disk or a retail version of OS X, hold down the "C" key, not the Option key.

The normal reason for there being an Exclamation point on the HD that you want to use is either because the drive has a problem or that there is already a copy of OS X on the drive that is newer than the one on the DVD.
At that point in the install, there should be a button marked, Options. Do you see it when you run the installer?
Clicking that should give you an option to Erase, or Archive and install.

Do you get that?


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No Archive & Install, only Erase option
by markw10 / November 28, 2009 4:09 PM PST
In reply to: Nasty problem but,

Thank you for your response.
The version of Mac OS X I'm using it 10.5, Leopard. Of course it's updated to the latest version of 10.5. The DVD I'm using is the Retail DVD, the Family Pack.
I was using the Option Key at bootup so this time I used the C key but it seemed to take me through similar prompts. I still get the hard drive with the yellow exclamation point. I then selected options but only get two options. it says the hard drive must be erased and gives two options to format, both Mac OS X Journaled but one is case sensitive, one isn't. For some reason I don't see an Archive & Install option, only erase.

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 28, 2009 10:29 PM PST

What happens when you have the DVD in the optical drive and you reboot the machine without pressing any keys?

Does it boot from the DVD?

There is certainly something going on with that drive that the installer does not like.


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Hard Drive
by markw10 / November 29, 2009 4:36 PM PST
In reply to: Interesting,

If I boot up with the DVD in the drive but not pressing any keys it boots up from the Hard Drive. Is it supposed to do it?
It seems it just wants me to format the hard drive and is treating it like it's not a bootable hard drive but yet the hard drive does boot.

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Yes, it's supposed to do that
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 29, 2009 8:49 PM PST
In reply to: Hard Drive

which makes me wonder why it would refuse to install the OS on there.

Bear with me on this question, are you absolutely positive that the OS that is currently on that HD is 10.5.x
and not 10.6.x?

Take a look at About this Mac, under the Apple menu, and see what OS it thinks it has installed


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by markw10 / November 30, 2009 10:51 AM PST

I checked and it's Leopard, 10.5.8. I have tried to do this install using both a Leopard and Snow Leopard DVD and neither work.
OF course I'd rather fix the Wi-Fi problem than do the install but if I am able to choose to do a Arhive & Install or even Migration Assistance would it keep all settings and data? I realize that it does a fresh install of the OS and is supposed to copy over settings such as documents, ilife data, music, photos, etc. but I use Office, iLife, iWork, and lots of other programs such as SOHO Notes, OmniFocus, etc. Does it actually copy over all data and settings?

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You entire Home folder
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 30, 2009 8:47 PM PST
In reply to: 10.5.8

is kept intact.
Only the System folder is changed out.
All data and settings are preserved during an Archive and Install.

Migration Assistant does not play a role in this.


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Time Machine?
by markw10 / December 1, 2009 1:32 AM PST
In reply to: You entire Home folder

Okay, I think I understand. Does Time Machine play a role in this? The Genius Bar had mentioned after an Archive & Install I can restore data from Time Machine but is this necessary? Maybe they suggested it just as a second option in case I run into any problems. Thank you again for all of your help.

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After an Archive and Install
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 1, 2009 5:55 AM PST
In reply to: Time Machine?

there is usually no reason to use any restore function, Time Machine or other, because the data is preserved.
However, on an Erase and Install, ALL the data is wiped out and Time Machine would be able to restore your missing data


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Time Machine
by markw10 / December 1, 2009 4:53 PM PST

Okay. I know how Time Machine backs up files on an hourly basis or so (I have it set up for hourly) but does it actually do a complete backup that if you had a hard drive issue you could actually restore from Time Machine all data? To do this should you simply reinstall the OS and then do a restore from Time Machine? How do you go about doing this? I guess what I'm asking is after the install do you just plug the Time Machine drive in or go into the time machine options on the freshly installed OS.

Also, since I have a 250GB hard drive in my MBP I was almost out of hard drive space. I ended up finding a holiday sale on a 640GB hard drive so purchased that. I have done a hard drive upgrade once before on a MBP and know it's not easy but should be able to do it and I figured this is a good time for the upgrade. Also, I have an external hard drive enclosure to hold a second hard drive.
Now if I go this route what I'm thinking of doing is :

Formatting the new hard drive first in the external enclosure. If I'm correct I have to use the GUID partition table and Mac OS X Journaled.

Then I was hoping a freshly formatted drive may be recognized by the Archive & Install. What I'd like to do if possible is after the format mirror the internal hard drive to this external drive. Which is the best way to do this and should I use a program like SuperDuper?

Is it likely the above would possibly correct the issue that is causing my hard drive to not accept an Archive & Install? I am then considering doing an archive & install on this external drive to see if it works. Would it be possible to do this on an external drive?

Like I stated the original issue that started all of this is I can get the wi-fi to work but not the internet and it's obvious I have hard drive issues anyway. I may bite the bullet and even upgrade to Snow Leopard instead of the archive & install. If I go this route can I do the Snow Leopard upgrade on an external hard drive?

I apologize for all the questions and appreciate all the help you've offered. I just want to get everything together so I know what I'm doing once I start this procedure.

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 1, 2009 8:56 PM PST
In reply to: Time Machine

Yes, Time Machine backs up just about everything that you need.
When the new OS is installed after an Erase and Install, you will be presented with a page asking if you have data to move from another Mac or a Time Machine backup.
At this point the Time Machine drive is already connected.
Tell the system, Time Machine drive, show the system where it is and press the "go" button.
All will be restored as it was.

Replacing an HD in a MBP is extremely easy. It slides into a slot inside the battery holder.

You cannot do an Archive and Install on a freshly formatted drive as there is nothing to Archive!

Snow Leopard upgrade may depend on Leopard being present on the external drive. Your choice would be a full install on the external.

Suggestion. Pull the internal, replace it with the new one. Boot from the DVD, format the drive and install Leopard. Use Time Machine to bring your stuff back in and then upgrade to Snow Leopard.
It is likely that TM will balk at restoring to a disk that does not have the same OS on it that the data came from.


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Thank you again
by markw10 / December 2, 2009 4:33 PM PST
In reply to: Answers,

Thank you again for the help. I'm just waiting on the package to arrive with the new hard drive. I will follow the suggestions you made and it helped a lot.

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HD Free Space
by timhood / December 4, 2009 1:35 PM PST

My first thought is that you don't have enough free space on your hard drive to do an archive and install. Have you checked how much free space you have available? If you can go through and clean out some files to free up some space, you may be able to do the archive and install.

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