Before I upgrade...

Hi Koz and Steve.

Hope you’ve been well.

I’m on Audacity 2.4.2 but still on Mojave 10.14.6.

I want to make sure it’s ok to upgrade to Big Sur. After the painful rollback I had to do from Catalina to Mojave I’ve been skittish about upgrading my Mac’s OS.

No known problems with it happily running Audacity? Anything else you can think of that should give me pause?

Thanks a million as always,

I’ve been running 2.4.2 and the various alpha test build’s I’ve had for the upcoming Audacity 3.0 with the following versions of Big Sur

  1. macOS 11
  2. macOS 11.1
  3. macOS 11.2
  4. macOS 11.2.1

all have been fine with Audacity.


Maybe not running Audacity. The upgraded OS’s may make it harder to use external microphones and interfaces. Some of the other support programs and packages may stop working.

How are you doing backups? Once you get off the upgrade bandwagon, backups are super important.

I use external hard drives and do manual Time Machine backups about every two weeks and also an ordinary Copy of the /Users directory based on the recommendation of a Systems Administrator at work. That last one will give you a simple copy of your Desktop, Documents, Music, Movies, etc, and the other common user folders.

I also have a folder where I keep all program installers, add-ons, and settings. I include that with the /Users folder backup.

And yes, we are eventually going to get nailed with staying behind, but I’ve also been known to keep very old machines available on the house network for old software. My off-air, antenna-on-the-roof “TV Set” adapter is no longer supported on current machines.

Remember “television?”



Yes I remember television well. I’ve worked in television my entire career. We just keep changing the name. Streaming, OTT, IP, the ever popular “content.”

Anyway, I do regular backups on time machine to an external drive - two actually that I rotate. But I don’t do all the extra stuff you do of the /Users directory etc.

So what are you recommending, Koz? If I stay where I am on Mojave, I continue to not be able to back up my iPhone and iPad (other than to the cloud which is tedious).

Have you seen many reports of problems with the latest OS? Peter seems to be fine! (Thank you, Peter).

and thank you, Koz,

two actually that I rotate.

Ever try to get “content” back off a Time Machine backup? It can give you a warm/fuzzy feeling until you try to use it. That’s why I make a copy of the /User/koz folder. No magic. It takes a long time, but I get a plain copy of all my good stuff.

That’s just what works for me. You can do what you like. I was very leery of all the things that were happening on the High Sierra > Mojave update. Then the step to Catalina created all sorts of problems. My production stayed at 100% capacity through all that.

So now I will be four steps behind and will need to literally start over, which can be refreshing instead of struggling with not knowing which portions of my digital life are going to survive and which not. When I hit a stumbling block, go back to the old machine for a while until I sort it out.

As with my TV Set, some services don’t go forward.

I know this isn’t popular, but it’s good to remember who is servicing whom.


I’ve also updated to Big Sur. Audacity’s working fine for me.

Before updating the OS, check that any other software and any peripherals (printer / webcam / external sound card / scanner / …) that you use, are compatible with the new version.

Thank you Steve.
How/where do I check for compatibility?
And then I’ll take the plunge and leave Koz in the dust!
I don’t have the luxury of multiple machines.

Also Koz - I agree recovering from Time Machine is not a picnic.
Tell me how to do your fancy /users backup.

Thank you both so very much,

The manufacturers websites usually state the “system requirements”.
If they have a “download drivers” section, they often say there which operating systems they support.

Tell me how to do your fancy /users backup.

Quick note, it’s “/Users”. Sometimes upper and lower case matters.

Plain Mac Backups (by Kozikowski)

Some of this may be a little different on your more modern machine. But I doubt it’s that different.

I keep my internal hard drive visible on my desktop.

That Year/Name picture is handy if you have links to more than one machine—and they look similar.
I’ve been burned with graphically attractive record keeping which leaves out the year. Scan over your desktop quick right this second. What year is it?

Being professionally obsessive, I never connect the network and the backup drives at the same time. Apple > System Preferences > Network. Make a note of where everything is and disconnect it all. This is also the same reason I don’t use iCloud … yet.

Double click Macintosh HD and highlight the Users folder and, in my case, Installers-Keys-Settings.

Mount/plug-in/turn on/open the backup drive. Check how much room there is. Right-click > Get INFO.

This might be a good time to do your Time Machine backup. That’s what Backups.backupdb is.

Create a backup file structure you like and drag your two backup folders over to it. The Mac will COPY not MOVE to an external drive.

Please note I use the list structure (red dot) for all this rather than the blizzard of pretty icons which is impossible to follow. If you’ve never used list structure, this may be a shock. I come from older machines where that’s all there was.

Go make coffee.

When it’s done (mine chongs at me), do a quick check.

Un-mount the backup drive (EJECT), and put it away.

Apple > System Preferences put the network connection(s) back.

I know this reads like the three volume set “How To Make Toast.” I printed all steps on a card and I check them off as I do them.



Thank you Steve. I will take the plunge this week. I’ve checked system requirements of my mic interface, printer, software i could think of.

Thank you Koz. You don’t use iCloud? That’s the main reason i transitioned from being a Windows person - I wanted all my music and photos to sync.
I appreciate the detailed backup instrux.

Very grateful as always. And will give you progress report.

You don’t use iCloud?

I’m sure that’s going to catch up with me, but I do have a couple of circumstances. I’m a dot-com. So any time I want to post something for universal later use, my web site is right there waiting. That’s all those “kozco” postings you see.

My internet download speed is nothing to call the newspapers over, but it’s enough for animations, movies, and YouTube. My up speed for posting new work is awful. So if I mounted an iCloud “drive” on my desktop, it would be as if I had installed a floppy. When I did that production recording Skype test with Denise, she complained the whole time how bad my sound was. Her voice was, of course, perfect, which was the goal.

They are feverishly installing new internet services in my area and the existing suppliers are desperate for me to sign a long term contract. Thanks no. I’ll wait until the wireless 5G goes in.


Hi Steve, Koz, and waxcylinder -

Wanted to tell you i upgraded to Big Sur 11.2.2 and Audacity is just fine. Great, in fact.

Thanks so much as always,

ps One weirdness i can’t figure out. The track suddenly slid up so I could only see the bottom of the wave. I have no idea how i did it and couldn’t figure out how to undo it. Any thoughts?

Thanks for the feedback :sunglasses:


Right-click on the vertical scale in the Track Control Panel and select Zoom Reset.
– Bill


Thanks again!