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Upgrading To Snow Leopard


I have only been a Mac User for just over half a year. I have never been through a Mac OS upgrade before, although I knew from the moment before I purchased my MacBook, I would take the jump to Snow Leopard as soon as it comes out. Previous to that, I had only been through one OS transition and that was from Windows XP to Windows Vista. If I had a Windows machine, I would have upgraded from Vista to Windows 7. As soon as Snow Leopard was available to preorder on the Apple Store website, I immediately bought it. Launch day came, no Snow Leopard for me. After the weekend, Snow Leopard was go.

Before my disc arrived, I set up my machine for the upgrade. I arranged all the clutter into directories. I deleted or moved any files that weren’t necessary to have on the hard drive. All this was for a smaller amount of data to backup in case anything went horribly wrong. I had never been through a big upgrade like this so I didn’t know what to expect so I took all the precautions. After all that was done, I set up Time Machine on my old 500GB External HDD. After all the cleaning, I only had 100GB to be backed up which only took a couple of hours.

A quick note here. First, I picked Time Machine because the tools were already built in. I had heard around the Internet that Time Machine isn’t that great, but I hadn’t heard any bad experiences from the OS X users I know. I don’t know how reliable this software is because I most likely, well at least I hope I’d never use it. For this upgrade, it was a precaution and wasn’t expecting to have to use it, it was there just in case and also ave me piece of mind.

All that was going well until a disc got stuck in my drive. This was one of the worst things that could happen because that component, the least used one on many notebooks or computer, is required to upgrade the OS. I tried all the tricks in the book from all the help sites. Nothing worked. I pretty much gave up and decided it was going to have to go get repaired. In desperation, I shut it down and shook it around a few times. Maybe something in the drive got stuck or the disc was doing something weird and needed to be nudged. Lucky for me, this actually worked. When I booted it up and ejected the disc from in OS X, the disc came flying out. Saved by the shake.

When the disc arrived the following morning, I put it in. By this stage, the rest of the world had got their copies and there were a few complains about software not working in Snow Leopard but that was basically it. The software I use was either supported by Snow Leopard before launch, or an update came out over the weekend to fix incompatibility issues. I was willing to take the leap of faith. As you know, I have always been an early adopter of alpha and beta software. I popped the disc in, launched the installer from within Leopard and then left it for an hour to do its thing.

Upon return, there it was, Leopard… I mean Snow Leopard. I didn’t have any compatibility issues with any of my software. All software ran as it did before. Everything seemed fine. Over the past week, the only issues I’ve had are with a small glitch in the OS and one program that crashed once out of the blue. This has been a pretty smooth OS upgrade. Of course there are going to be a few small issues but none have really effected me. I’m more than happy with the upgrade process.

In contrast with my last OS upgrade with Windows, it resulted in me getting a new machine. For a lot of Windows users, that is when they upgrade their OS, they don’t buy and install it on their old hardware. Also switching from XP SP2 to Windows Vista RTM was a nightmare in comparison. System crashes and software not working for weeks, if not months after the OS release. And then, it wasn’t really until SP1 came out 12 months later that Vista was really stable.

Upgrading is going to be less problematic going from XP or Vista to 7. Windows 7 is a pretty solid OS, well at least from the limited early usage I had with it and from the experiences friends that have used the Beta and Release Candidate versions. But that will never be enough to put it on par with simple and seamless experience of an OS X upgrade. The many different versions of Windows makes it difficult to do an “upgrade” but instead requires a fresh new install and then you migrate your data over. A lot more steps and a lot more work than the simple Mac upgrade. Just another aspect of Macs that “just work.” :)

posted under Computer
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“Upgrading To Snow Leopard”

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