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5 Things to Know Before Upgrading Your Mac to Lion

Apple will be releasing their newest operating system, Lion, some time in the next few weeks.  If you are planning on upgrading, here are a few tips to follow to get yourself ready for the big release:


1. Check Your Specs
In order to upgrade to Lion your Mac must have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor.  In other words, the newer the better.  You should also have a minimum of 2GB of RAM.  If you are not sure of the current capabilities of your Mac, click on the Apple menu item and select “About This Mac”.  You will be able to see your system’s memory and processor information.


2. Run Software Update
You’ll need to make sure you are running the most recent edition of Snow Leopard, the current Mac operating system.  To perform a software update, Click on the Apple menu item and select Software Update.  It is recommended, especially if you’ve never run a system update, to backup your system prior to running a major update (see #5 for more details).


3. Give Your Mac a Checkup
While Macs don’t have the usual Windows tools for defragmenting your hard disk or cleaning up the Desktop, they do have a tool to verify the health of your hard drive.  In the Utilities sub-folder of your Applications folder you will find “Disk Utility”.  From the “First Aid” tab, click on “Verify Disk”.  If a problem is found, you will have an option to “Repair Disk”.  Note that in some cases you may need to reboot from your install media (restart with media in the drive and hold down the C key).  That brings us our next tip…


4. Find Your Old Media
Being in the support business as long as we have, we often find that people it never fails that people don’t think about the discs that were shipped with their computer.  Like most disaster recovery items, while they are rarely needed when a problem arises, they can be a lifesaver.  If for some reason your upgrade goes awry you will need to re-install Snow Leopard and recover your old system.  To do this you will need to find the original DVD that was purchased with your system.  However, if you can’t locate it, Apple (at least currently) still offers Snow Leopard on DVD for the low, low price of $29.  If you don’t have the original DVD, now would be the time to stop by the Apple Store or Best Buy and grab a copy of Snow Leopard in case of emergency.


5) Backup Your Hard Drive

Apple makes backup and recovery an amazingly simple task with the inclusion of “Time Machine” in the Mac operating system.  If you have never used Time Machine, all you need to do is plug in a new USB external hard drive and when your Mac prompts you if you’d like to use the drive for Time Machine click on “Yes”.  This will provide a continuous backup of your system and allow for quick recovery.  Time Machine is also very useful if you need to format and rebuild your computer or if you are upgrading to a new machine.  It will carry all of your programs and settings to the new or reformatted system.


Is your Mac in need of a memory upgrade?  Do you have questions or need assistance upgrading to Mac OS X Lion?  BolderImage provides IT services to assist in all issues great and small.  Call (630) 915-5619 or contact us for further information.

- Matt Stone
Network Administrator

Tags: Apple upgrades 


Krysitan Says:
August 9, 2011
Thanks for the valuable tips. I am actually in the process of upgrading, about 30% now. I think my system is ready, except I did not use the Disc Utility to run a disc check. Hopefully I won''t see any smoke coming out of my laptop.

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