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Mac OS X Tiger
Mac OS X

Update Procedure for the Paranoid

If you believe that Murphy was an optimist then the following is for you.

Let me say again that this is not a "requirement" BUT if you have been having problems (there are never any problems with a Mac are there?) or if want to be sure of not loosing anything and being able to restore your old OS then this should give you the best chance.

At a minimum I would have a full backup before any "major" upgrade. But all of you are backing up all the time already using Time Machine, right? If you are running OS X Lion and Time Machine you have Lion Recovery built in. However, Lion Recovery will ERASE your disk before it runs. Time Machine does not back up everything but Carbon Copy Cloner does. Accept no substitutes.

So here goes:

  1. Make sure you have a backup.
  2. Resolve any problems you have been having. If you are having major problems with your current OS installation, try addressing them first. (Re-applying the Combo installer for your current version of OS X is one way of doing this.) While OS updates can be the solution to many problems, if you are having major stability problems (i.e., random crashes, odd noises, inability to authenticate) then be sure to address them before applying the update.
  3. Download the COMBO installer from Apple's site for the version of the OS you want to upgrade to. Remember, the update that is installed via Software Update is changes only. If you want ALL changes and updates since 10.x, you MUST download and run the COMBO installer. This is most important if you have been have ANY problems.
  4. Boot from the CD or DVD that came with your Mac and run Disk Utility to (1) Repair Disk and (2) Repair Permissions. If you do not have a CD or DVD just boot into SAFE MODE run Verify Disk to see if there are any problems if Disk Utility does not report any problems only then run Repair Permissions. If Verify Disk reports a problem then you MUST boot your Mac from another volume or the CD or DVD so you can run Repair Disk. If Disk Utility is able to fix the problem only then run Repair Permissions. If Disk Utility can not "fix" the problem you have a major disk issue which must be addressed at once.
  5. Reboot into SAFE MODE.
  6. Run the COMBO installer you downloaded.
  7. After the reboot run Software Update... until there are no more updates.
  8. Run Disk Utility and Repair Permissions. (I know we did this already but believe it or not Disk Utility will find more permissions that need repair. Trust me. I could not print or type in search boxes after one upgrade until I did this.)

Requirements to be able to run "Mavericks" (Mac OS X 10.9)

Requirements to be able to run "Mountain Lion" (Mac OS X 10.8)

Requirements to be able to run "Lion" (Mac OS X 10.7)

Requirements to be able to run "Snow Leopard" (Mac OS X 10.6)

Requirements to be able to run Leopard" (Mac OS X 10.5)

Requirements to be able to run "Tiger" (Mac OS X 10.4)

New to the OS X? Start here

According to the latest reports, 40% of Mac retail sales are represented by 'switchers.' It would be safe to assume that another portion of Mac sales are made by users new to computers entirely. Last time I checked, Macs come with a rather bare bones instruction manual, if they come with anything at all. While most of us feel OS X is designed so well, it is self documenting, not all users have such an easy time. Most of the readers of MacVolPlace probably are well beyond these types of tutorials. But I get questions all the time from switchers who want a resource to get them over the initial speed bumps of the change. Rather than pulling your hair out, take a look at these sites:

  1. Mac 101: Getting Started with the Mac
  2. Switch 101: Migrate from Windows to Mac
  3. Apple "Find out How" Video Tutorials
  4. OS X Help: Insanely simple tutorials for the first time Macintosh user
  5. The Tao of Mac - How to Switch to the Mac - and enjoy doing it
  6. Apple's Mac Support Page - It provides links for all versions of OS X back to Mac OS 9 and earlier and more
  7. Apple's Open Source Projects Page
  8. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) - Orientation Training
  9. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) - What's New?
  10. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) - Universal Access
  11. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) - Orientation
  12. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.5 (Tiger) - Orientation
  13. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.5 (Tiger) - Tips & Tricks
  14. Atomic Learning Library: Mac OS X 10.5 (Tiger) - Universal Access
  15. Fink
  16. Mac OS X Security Configuration Guides (Apple)
  17. How to make OS X authenticate against ldap.utk.edu (PRE Exchange Server)
  18. Mac OS X (Apple)
  19. Mac OS X Apps
  20. Mac OS X Hints
  21. Mac OS X Support (Apple)
  22. Mac OS Manuals (Apple)
  23. Mac OS X man pages
  24. Mac OS X Developer Page
  25. Apple security updates
  26. Mac OS X System Hardening: Guidelines for Faculty and Staff Desktops (pdf)
  27. Infosec Writers: Securing MAC OS X (PDF)
  28. Mac OS X Security Configuration For Version 10.5 Leopard (pdf)
  29. Max OS X Server Developer Page
  30. Mac OS X Server (Apple)
  31. O'Reilly Mac DevCenter
  32. Tutorials:
  33. Getting Started: Video Tutorials. Most of these videos are less than 3 minutes.
  34. Finder Tips: The OS X Finder is your way to manage all your files. Leaning how to manage where you work is saved and how to keep your work organized is an essential skill. Here are some tips that will help you take advantage of OS X to better manage you work.
  35. Mail Productivity Tips: Mail is a critical tool in today's world. These tips take you beyond the basics. Being a power Mail user is easy and will have a positive impact on your productivity.
  36. Safari Tips: Safari is an advanced Web browser. Leaning to go beyond the basics with Safari will enable you do work more efficiently.
  37. Getting Started: Text Tutorials. Video tutorials are great, but sometimes all you need is a picture and some text to see how something is done. These text tutorials are great "jolts" of information that show how to do a task in a simple, easy to understand format.