The latest release of Apple’s OS X operating system, dubbed Mountain Lion, was released last week. If like us you’re using Macs in a production environment but want to jump in and upgrade we’ve some tips to help the transition go smooth.
Step 1: Check that you’re eligible for the upgrade
As with all OS updates some older hardware inevitably falls by the wayside. Last time round it was any Macs without Intel Core 2 Duo processors, but this time round it’s a bit more complex. Before starting the upgrade process be sure to check that your hardware will support Mountain Lion: www.apple.com/osx/specs/
Step 2: Wait for the dust to settle & set aside some time
It’s very tempting to rush to update and get the shiny new features, but it’s usually prudent to wait a couple of weeks for any final bugs to get reported and patched so that it isn’t you who discovers them.
Whether you wait to jump in or not you’ll want to start with one machine and some thorough testing to see if anything breaks.
It’s best to allow for some downtime around the upgrade. If you follow all the steps below, the whole process could take several hours, so this isn’t the sort of thing to attempt in a tea break or in the run-up to any tight production deadlines.
Step 3: Create a Bootable Backup
A bootable backup is your safety-net should the worse happen, allowing you to quickly jump back to your Mac’s pre-update state and continue working as before. The ‘bootable’ bit is key as it means that in addition to all your data, all the relevant system files are copied to allow you to actually boot your Mac from the backup volume you create.
To do this all you need is an external hard drive and a copy of SuperDuper, which is free to download from: www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/
First format your external hard drive using Apple’s built-in Disk Utility app. Select the volume from the list on the left then choose Erase and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format. The second step is to create a boot partition. Selecting your external hard drive again choose the Partition tab and select 1 Partition from the Partition Layout drop-down and under Options ensure that GUID Partition Table is selected before hitting Apply.
Now you’re read launch SuperDuper! and run a full backup of your Mac’s internal drive to the new volume you just created. Depending on how much data you have to copy and the speed of your external drive this part can take a couple of hours.
Step 4: Run Software Update
Backup done it’s a good idea to make sure that all your apps are up to date before starting the upgrade so run the main software update, check the App Store and then any individual apps that have their own updaters.
Step 5: Backup with Time Machine
If you’re using Time Machine for your local backups then it’s worth running a final backup pre-upgrade to make sure everything is there should you need to do a restore.
Step 6: Purchase & Install Mountain Lion
Head over to the Mac Appa Store and purchase OS X Mountain Lion. The download weighs in at just over 4GB so depending on your connection and how busy the store is it might take a little while to download.
Step 7: Configure & Test
All being well your Mac should run the installer and reboot into Mountain Lion. Launch your key applications and check everything is working as expected and then you’ll probably want to do some of the basic configuration of new stuff like the Notification Center and Mail VIPs etc. to get everything working just as you like.
At the time of writing we’ve now upgraded a few of the Macs in our design studio using this approach, so far without any trouble and we’re loving new features like the Reminders app, Safari 6, Voice Dictation and Documents in the Cloud. Mountain Lion Sever seems to have some mixed reviews in the App Store so we’re holding-off on that one for a bit, but will report back when we finally take the plunge.
By Nick Barron : Aug 1, 2012