For anyone who is contemplating switching to OS Lion and has been delaying this update. Due to the many negative reviews or for fear of losing important software. I have decided to post my experience with testing the new OS on a separate drive. This is by no means meant to be a definitive guide, review or in depth look at the changes to the new OS. I just thought it useful for those that do not know how to test and install on a separate drive or just want to hear a positive reaction to the experience.  I strongly recommend testing the OS first before installing on a mission critical drive.
The steps I took before downloading the new OS were the following:
• Update all software to latest versions
• Create 2 bootable backups of the main volume. (I use SuperDuper which is very easy to use and straight forward)
• I used an external volume lacie 500Gb hard drive. Connected via firewire to test the new OS.
• After creating the clone or bootable backup on the Lacie drive I then restarted the Mac to boot from the Lacie drive.  To do this you just need to hold down the Option key ⌥ while restarting. When prompted I selected the volume I wanted to start up from which was the Lacie clone.
• Once the computer had restarted using the Lacie drive I then used the App store to purchase and download the new OS Lion 10.7.2. I did the download overnight as its about 3gb and would have taken about 3 hours.
• When I returned to the computer there was a window asking me if I wanted to install the new OS. I clicked install and selected the clone Lacie drive to install to. Installation took 30mins.

I could see straight away in the dock software which was no longer going to work (icon covered with no entry symbol) this included:
Dreamwever MX
Epson Scan software for the 3170 model scanner
The following is a list of my  critical software which all appears to be operating well (latest version unless stated);
Filemaker Pro
Photoshop CS5
Lightroom 3
Epson Print Driver for the Stylus Photo 2100
Epson Print CD
Word 2008 v.12.3.0
Expression Media v1.0.3
Omni Focus
Colour Navigator 6

Overall the finder seems snappier and quicker when changing views. Its also less intrusive all icons now seems to be the same colour for folders, buttons etc.
All my settings have remained intact. Although one noticable change is that the sidebar on open finder windows is now reveresed, so that where before I had all my devices listed at the top below my folders and then favourites.  This is now reversed which was little annoying at first. It is possible however to drag devices into the favourites area so actually this is an improvement over the previous design. I also notice that  scrolling up/down using the  wheel on my Wacom mouse and wireless Apple mouse has reversed. Apparently Apple believe that this is more intuitive way to use a mouse. It is possible to change this via System settings > mouse settings.
So far this is as much testing as I have done, but I feel confident that I will not have problems using the new OS. I have also not looked closely at new features.

A note about the app store and downloading previous purchases

You may find after downloading and installing the OS upgrade from the app store on the test drive, that when you return to do the final install on your main drive the app store will ask you to purchase the upgrade again. See the link above to get round this.

Drop me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions!

 

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