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Summary:

Snow Leopard’s release is just around the corner, so here are some quick and easy steps to make sure that you are ready to upgrade. Turn On Time Machine If you haven’t already, now is a great time to turn on the Time Machine built in […]

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard’s release is just around the corner, so here are some quick and easy steps to make sure that you are ready to upgrade.

Turn On Time Machine

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to turn on the Time Machine built in backup. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great first line of defense against data loss.

Make a Bootable External Drive

Use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper to clone your Mac’s hard drive to an external USB drive as an emergency backup, in case both the upgrade and the Time Machine backup both go south. The real point of both this step and the Time Machine step are to backup, backup, backup! Get your data off of your computer and onto something else that can be saved in case of the worst.

Get Rid of Haxies

Haxies are unsupported hacks that alter the appearance or functionality of OS X. While they can be cool, and nothing against Unsanity, anything that’s done under the covers or outside of what Apple says is OK to play with is easily broken during a major OS upgrade. Application Enhancer has been a known culprit in the past, and some developers will ask that it be removed before support or ignore crash reports that involve it all together.

Disable Bundles

Bundles like SIMBL are also a sort of hack that can cause problems during an upgrade. As I said before, they are a good hack, but a hack nonetheless, and can cause unforeseen problems during an upgrade.

Sync Up

iPods, iPhones, MobileMe, any third-party devices or syncing that you have set up…make sure they are all synced and up to date before starting the upgrade procedure.

Update Your Apps

This shouldn’t be that big of a deal as long as you are already running Leopard, but it’s still a good idea to check and make sure that you are running the latest released version of your apps. Developers who joined the Apple Developer Connection as a premier member have had access to Snow Leopard for a while now, and have hopefully worked out the bugs in running their app. That being said, upgrade your apps, just to make sure. I’ve found that it’s also a good practice to download updated installers for your favorite apps and burn them to a CD or DVD for quick access.

If you are feeling daring, you may want to give AppFresh a look and see about having it update all of your apps for you.

Clean House

Have a ton of old apps laying around that you don’t need anymore? Now is the best time to AppZap them! I seriously do not understand why AppZapper, or some similar functionality is not built into OS X. Both Cocktail and Onyx have functions to clean out temporary files, check permissions, and ensure that the OS is in good operating order.

Watch the Clock

Snow Leopard is set to be released in September 2009, which as the writing of this happens is just around one month away. Snow Leopard brings with it the opportunity to make your Mac “Better, Faster, Easier,” than ever before.

Have a favorite OS X upgrade tradition? Sound off in the comments!

  1. Wear belt and suspenders much?

    Upgrade costs $40 but the backup media is another $250!

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    1. Upgrade costs $29, not $40.

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  2. I like to do a clean install when there is a new system. Then I manually copy the pref files and other files of my commonly used apps over.

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  3. I’ll be curious to hear if there’s a benefit to just running an upgrade, vs, formatting your drive and starting all over again. With a Time Machine backup and a SuperDuper disk, there should be little risk to installing fresh. Obviously, you’ll save a lot of time and setup from upgrading, but I’ve always been under the impression (from Windows, at least), that a fresh install of an OS will be better.

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  4. The only reason why I would clean install is if they finally add the option for the ZFS disk format. Otherwise it sounds like an upgrade may be the way to go.

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    1. I’ve heard that 10.6 will include zfs support, but only in server releases for now. :-( Check out http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=335

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  5. clean install then migrate files back form time machine

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  6. Forgive my ignorance, but if you back up everything to an external HD, clean install, and then move everything back – aren’t you just moving problem files off the disk only to move them back on to it again?

    I’m sure I’m missing something – can anyone enlighten me?

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    1. Depends on what the problem is. If it is an issue with your user and yes, you migrate the user right back onto the clean install – then the issue is still there. If it is in the core files, then when you migrate data back after Snow Leopard installs then chances are less likely that an issue will still occur.

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  7. @Chris

    It’s more about not creating problems when installing / upgrading a system OS. If it’s a problem now, then yes it would be a problem later.

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  8. I know that we are doing the upgrade first, and if all else fails then do a full re-install. We have backups in the cloud (s3), timemachine and carbon cloner so I am not worried either way.

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  9. But I’m curious what benefits you might get from a fresh install, besides cleaning up in general. Would it necessarily run faster or have less issues? I remember an upgrade from Win 98 to Win XP resulting in a horrible running system, but wiping everything and just installing XP turned out great.

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  10. But does an upgrade works finde? I got my MBP recently and I’m not willing to make it clean just three months after I bought it.

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  11. I’ve done both, and the upgrade generally works fine. I prefer a clean install, but that’s because I’m completely anal about how my system is set up.

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  12. Indeed, I pre-ordered it this morning (the family pack) at Amazon and am expecting to see it some time in Sept or Oct. Amazon seems to have pre-order items out sooner than most places.

    I hope it’s as good as they say. Of course, unexpected things could always happen.

    Rcently I came across a pretty neat “filler finder” to get Amazon’s free shipping. It is at: http://www.uberi.com

    Perhaps others will find it useful too.

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  13. When installing an update (e.g. 10.5.6 to 10.5.7) I do Time Machine and apply the patch.
    When installing a new version (10.5 to 10.6) I do Time Machine and a clean install. More so with 10.6. Why a clean install? Among others:
    1) Snow Leopard is 64 bits – I don’t want any 32 bits lying around where they shouldn’t be
    2) wiping the drive, removes possible unwanted files (temporary, apps orphans, log files, caches, etc.) and creates a new fresh, possibly optimised, file structure on the drive
    3) no hacks or programs, other than Apple own apps&files, can hinder the installation process
    4) wiping out apps and their prefs is actually a way to clean up one’s Apps Folder “mess” and start fresh – you might be surprised how many settings and apps you really didn’t need
    5) it gives a pleasant sense of Zen neatness ;)
    6) doesn’t leave you with, if “Archiving previous installation”, an “old system” folder to get rid of, someday, taking lots! of space on the HDD

    Therefore I backup only my data (docs, pics, projects, etc.) and the installers. Everything else can go.
    Making a major version OS installation via an upgrade has never been IMHO a good idea – a fresh installation for me is the way to go, whenever possible. Both for Mac and Windows.

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  14. snow leopard is snowing! http://www.studiomds.com/snowleopard/

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  15. By clean installation do you mean a clean Leopard install then apply the Snow Leopard upgrade or are you guys forking out for a Snow Leopard full install disk?

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  16. Good question Jon – if a clean from scratch directly Snow Leopard installation is not possible, then yes, I would go through the hassle of installing Leopard and then Snow Leopard on top.
    But I doubt that you cannot install Snow Leopard on a clean disk. It can just check if you have a Leopard installation disk by asking for it at the beginning, or simply install without asking…

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  17. @Paolo, I agree. I had the Leopard upgrade disk for a while, and it would just ask me for the Tiger disk to prove that I was eligible for the upgrade, and then proceed with an clean install. I’m hoping that Snow Leopard works the same way.

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  18. @Jon – I hope as well :)

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  19. So using the upgrade disk, it checks if you have the Leopard disk and if so just does an install of Snow Leopard in a sense not upgrading anything just installing Snow Leopard

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  20. I purchased a used mac. Do I have to upgrade to Leopard before upgrading to Snow Leopard?

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    1. @J From what I understand, yes. The $29 price tag for Snow Leopard is an upgrade price.

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  21. I bought a MacBook Pro a year ago; I am reading that with the $29 dollar upgrade disc the user may be prompted to insert a previous disc before it allows you to install. Does this mean I just have to insert one of the discs that came with my MacBook Pro? It has Leopard on it, of course, but its not a “Leopard Install Disc” per se. Will one of these discs work since they have Leopard on them?

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  22. [...] • Upgrade Strategy: Get Ready for Snow Leopard . [...]

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  23. I was thinking of buying a new drive and installing snow leopard. Question is whether / how to reinstall apps from current drive.

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  24. [...] Microsoft Exchange out-of-the-box from Snow Leopard. TheAppleBlog have prepared a detail guide on how to upgrade to Snow Leopard. Being a newbie as a Mac user, should I spend $29 for the Snow Leopard upgrade? « DiGi [...]

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  25. [...] Upgrade Strategy: Get Ready for Snow Leopard (tags: osx mac "snow leopard" leopard) [...]

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