Upgrade 10.6.8 to 10.9.1


My wife's iMac is running 10.6.8. I would like to upgrade her to Mavericks and have already prepared a thumb drive with DiskMaker X. As part of the process, I would like to create a recovery partition to use in emergencies going forward. My tentative process is

  1. Back up!
  2. Boot from an external disk. Part of previous step is a SuperDuper! (SD) update.
  3. Erase the internal disk.
  4. Run Mavericks installer from thumb drive. This is a "clean" install due to the previous step, so it's supposed to offer to create a recovery partition.
  5. Boot again from the SD external and use SD to clone it back to the internal disk's main partition after erasing it.
  6. Boot from internal disk.
  7. Back at the original system, run the Mavericks installer again to install over 10.6.8, leaving all my files in place.
I also run Time Machine - it too is part of the above back up step. I can replace steps 5-7 above with the Migration Assistant pulling my stuff from my TM disk. Which way is preferable? Are there other methods?

My feeling is my 7 step plan is safer because it does not involve moving user directories and applications, etc., back into place from TM.
There's no need to mention that Mavericks will create a recovery partition - it will (without asking on a normal hard drive install)
If there is a full backup, then you have little to fear from the upgrade process.

Why would you take the time to do an erase/install MavX/erase the same drive AGAIN/clone your backup to the drive you just erased a second time, then REINSTALL MavX to upgrade that full system that you just cloned back.
Unless I am missing something about what you listed, why would you do a full erase of the internal hard drive TWO times?
That would be hard on the hard drive, if nothing else, and for no reasonable use.

I would modify your steps, starting with:
4. Reboot to the Mavericks installer (it's bootable, if you used DiskMakerX to create it.) You can then delete your step 3 as you can run Disk Utility booted from the installer, and erase the complete hard drive then (if you want to). However, I would simply run Repair Disk on your hard drive, and NOT erase, then Quit, and run Update OS X - updating your wife's iMac directly, which will eliminate all your other steps.
Now - I understand that "things happen" during an install to update an existing system. You will have a certain amount of apps that you may need to upgrade for Mavericks - but you also may find that not much needs doing after an upgrade install.
And - you still have your full backup, in the (unlikely) event that you need to restore the iMac to 10.6.8
I fully expect that you won't need to do that, and your wife's iMac will get to 10.9.1 without much great drama - other than an hour or two for the upgrade process to complete.
Thanks, DeltaMac. I got the impression from somewhere that a recovery partition is created only when the target disk is empty. If a normal install of Mavericks over Snow Leopard will create and populate it, OK. It's just that I get an itch between by shoulder blades when anyone, including Apple, promises they can repartition my drive without losing data.
Another way to look at this:
You have the Mavericks installer on a USB flash drive.
When you boot to THAT, it is essentially the same as the recovery partition (except better, because you don't need to download all of the system files like you would need to do from the standard recovery partition. And you have all the other utilities provided by the recovery partition - so, best of both worlds - AND, you can do whatever the recovery partition will do for you already.
The recovery partition, then, is useful but redundant (when you have the USB installer)
How do you boot to the 10.6.8 that has been saved on the USB flash drive? Or know it is even bootable? ( I 'think' I saved it to a USB) :)
If you insert your USB flash drive, then open System Preferences/Startup Disk - your flash drive will appear in that Startup Disk pane, where you can choose it. That will change the system boot default to your flash drive. Another method is to restart, holding the Option key. You will see bootable devices on that screen. If your USB drive is inserted, it should appear there, too. If your flash drive does NOT show in either the Startup Disk pane, or on the Option boot screen - then it is not bootable.