The Developer Preview of Mac OS X Lion has been released and is functional on its own, you never want to upgrade your current Operating System with a Beta or Developer Preview. Performing a clean install is the best route but how do you migrate your user account to the new OS without hassle? Here’s how.
The biggest pain in using a preview version or Beta of Mac OS X is safely migrating your user information. The worst method to take is installing a Beta OS such as Lion over your existing, retail OS like Snow Leopard. Creating a second partition on your primary Hard Drive or using an external USB/Firewire Drive is the easiest path to upgrade.
Simply open Disk Utility and select your main hard drive in the left hand bar and go to the Partition tab. Click the + button in the lower left hand corner and adjust the size of your new Partition. Make sure the file format is Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)
During the installation phase of Lion, you’ll be asked to create a new user account. The username, shortname and password must match the existing account you’re using in Snow Leopard/Leopard. When logged in, go to System Preferences and select “Users And Groups”. Go to your existing account and right click on your username then choose Advanced Options.
Restart your Mac and log in again. Your user account is now accessible in OS X Lion and any changes made will be reflected when you boot in to another version of OS X.
Tip: To jump between Lion, Snow Leopard and Leopard easily, hold down the Option key during boot up. You’ll be presented with a row of Hard Drives and Partitions that contain an Operating System. From here you can choose to boot in to Lion, Snow Leopard or Windows if you have it installed.