How do you plan to upgrade your Mac to OS X Leopard? There are many ways to get your Mac ready to upgrade, but only two that we recommend at Mac360.
Both upgrade methods involve an extra hard drive, but you’ll need that to take advantage of Time Machine in Leopard anyway.
First, consider that the files on your Mac, whether Tiger or Panther, are valuable to you, and losing them would be catastrophic. Think of it this way: how will you feel if you turn your Mac on and all your music files, digital photo files, movies, and documents are gone?
Anything as important as those files requires a backup plan anyway, and installing an entirely new operating system as complex as OS X Leopard requires an emergency plan. You know, just in case.
Second, Mac users are somewhat spoiled these days because OS X has been so stable and secure. It’s easy to get into a comfort zone and not worry about the inevitable? Inevitable? Yes, one day something will crash and all your files, or some of your files, could disappear than Britney Spears’ career.
Mac OS X Leopard comes with the strictest requirements yet for a Mac OS upgrade. You’ll need an Intel Mac, or a PowerPC G4 Mac, or a PowerPC G4 Mac with at least an 867mhz CPU. Also required is 512 megs of RAM, a DVD drive, 9 gigabytes of hard disk space.
To use Time Machine as your backup mechanism, you’ll need an additional (internal or external) hard drive. Other requirements are steep, too. To use all the features in iChat and PhotoBooth, you need an Intel Mac. Ditto for using Boot Camp to run Windows.
Leopard is the most complex and feature-laden version of OS X to date, so getting your Mac ready for the upgrade could save your some grief later. The Official Mac360 Upgrade Plan™ is deceptively simple.
Step #1 – First, make sure your Mac has an external hard drive (or, in the case of G5 or MacPro models, at least a second internal hard drive) to clone your current version of Mac OS X and all your files.
Step #2 – Second, check for the latest updates on other Mac applications and utilities that you use to ensure that they’re ready to run on OS X Leopard. The past week or so has resulted in a flurry of updates, so check yours to make sure they’re up to date, the latest version.
Step #3 – Third, depending on which backup utility you use, we recommend cloning the hard drive so you have an exact replica of your Mac as a backup. Again, it’s just in case everything goes south in a hand basket, so you’ll need some way to recover everything on your Mac.
Step #4 – Fourth, choose an upgrade method. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and some of the Mac360 staffers choose one road, while others choose a different path.
Recommended Upgrade Option #1 – For example, Ron, Bambi, and I will clone our Macs first, then erase the Mac’s main hard drive, then install OS X Leopard as a clean installation, check out all the fun features, and then go through the tedious step-by-step process of reinstalling and checking each of the rest of our Mac applications and utilities and files. That’s the long road, but often takes less time should trouble arise.
Recommended Upgrade Option #2 – This is Apple’s recommended method. Alexis, Wil, Jeffrey, Carol and Jack all plan to do the archive and install option first. Failing that, they’ll take up Recommended Option #1.
There are advantages for both options, but #1 is more tedious and requires you to know where to find your preference files from your old installation of OS X, and know where to move them in Leopard.
Option #2 lets Leopard do the heavy work. Leopard will archive all of your Mac’s files, install OS X Leopard, then copy applications and preferences from the archive back into the new version of Leopard.
Assuming all goes well, your Mac boots up in Leopard and all your files, applications, utilities are running just fine.
Either option could work flawlessly, or there could be a major problem crop up, so having that cloned hard drive backup is imperative. Regardless of which upgrade option appeals to you, Mac360 will do both and report on both this weekend, following Leopard’s launch October 26th.
We would also like to hear of your plans to upgrade to OS X Leopard, and what steps you’ll go through to ensure a safe and flawless upgrade. Talk Back to Mac360 and share your view in the Comments section below.