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Take Control of Upgrading to Lion
Install Mac OS X 10.7 Lion with confidence!
Join Joe Kissell and learn how to best upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in the latest edition of his popular "Take Control of Upgrading..." ebook.
Whether your upgrade is fairly straightforward or utterly complicated, Joe explains what to do before you start upgrading to Lion, how to upgrade effectively, what to do if your upgrade has a problem, and how to get a smart start once the upgrade is completed. New Lion features that you'll learn about include FileVault 2 encryption (Joe recommends this for most laptop users) and Recovery mode. The ebook also covers the basics of installing Lion Server.
"I was surprised at how much good information was included in this book, and how much I didn’t know. ...Joe Kissell has knocked another one out of the park."
—Elisa Pacelli, MyMac.com reviewer and self-described techno geek.
Benefit from Joe's experience in writing about how to install Mac OS X since 2003, and let him help you install Lion. You'll get specific advice for how to:
Part with Rosetta: Understand and manage the fact that PowerPC-based software will not run under Lion, given the lack of the Rosetta emulator that was used in recent versions of Mac OS X.
Handle your hardware: Check your hardware for Lion compatibility. Also, in order to fully enjoy Lion, it might be time for you to install more RAM, free up disk space, or add other peripherals, particularly a Magic Trackpad.
Deal with duplication: Learn what a disk duplicate is, why having one is essential before installing Lion, and how to make one easily and affordably. Also, get help with backing up a Windows volume, should you be running Windows on your Mac via Boot Camp.
Verify that all systems are go: Test to be sure your memory and disks are running properly—better to discover and correct a problem now than during your upgrade—and find advice on clearing extra files and software off your disk so that you get a fresh start with Lion (and more disk space for it!).
Consider a few geeky details: If you secure your data and documents with some form of disk encryption now, or would like to do so under Lion, get advice on what to do before you upgrade and learn how Lion's much-improved FileVault 2 will operate, plus consider the pros and cons of running FileVault 2. Also, read what Joe thinks of partitioning and what you might want to do about it before installing.
Make a plan: Learn how to install Lion if you're installing over 10.6 Snow Leopard, and consider the pros and cons of several techniques for how to install onto a Mac running either 10.5 Leopard or 10.4 Tiger. Also, if you have more than one Mac in your home, learn ways to download the Lion installer only once, but use it legitimately on your different Macs. And, if a nearly 4 GB download is unrealistic, get guidance for how to best obtain Lion.
If your "upgrade" involves moving to a new Mac from an old Mac (or a Windows PC), learn how to best install Lion (if needed) and transfer your old stuff. A tip: if possible, do not even turn on a new Mac that has Lion installed until you've read this ebook!
Install with confidence: Buying, downloading, and running the Lion installer isn't all that difficult, but it is an an entirely new (and rather slow) way of installing an operating system upgrade, so Joe explains what to expect.
Solve problems If your Mac won't restart after the installation, this ebook explains exactly what to do (knock on wood!).
Avoid slowdowns: Put off a few tasks (running Spotlight, turning on Time Machine) that will slow you down during your first few hours in Lion.
Get set and go: Joe reminds you to run Software Update, helps you set up an extra user account while noting a few account-related changes in Lion, discusses the pros and cons of the new FileVault 2 and gives directions for enabling it, explains the Incompatible Software Folder, provides need-to-know-now Time Machine basics (including encryption of Time Machine backups), gives you the low-down on what's going on with Apple Mail plug-ins, and more.
Go beyond...Learn why the $49.99 Lion Server is interesting for Lion users, and how to complete a basic installation.
View the hidden volume: A final chapter explains the new-in-Lion Recovery HD volume, and even tells you what to type in Terminal so you can check it out.
Recover from disaster: Find out how to boot in Recovery mode, in case your Mac won't boot and you don't have a convenient way to boot it otherwise.
Read the sequel: Although this ebook won't teach you much more about Lion beyond what is described above, note that it was written in coordination with Matt Neuburg's Take Control of Using Lion, so it winds down as that book picks up.
Save money with a bundle: Check the left margin of this page for bundle pricing if you purchase both titles together.
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About the Author
Joe Kissell has written numerous books about the Macintosh, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He's also Senior Editor of TidBITS and a Senior Contributor to Macworld, and previously spent ten years in the Mac software industry.
Reviews of Previous Editions
Table of Contents
Read Me First
Upgrading your Mac to a new operating system can be a daunting prospect, but with some expert advice, you’ll be running OS X 10.7 Lion in no time. This book eliminates the uncertainty and the confusion, guiding you through every step of the process. This book was written by Joe Kissell, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
Since the introduction of Mac OS X in 2001, Apple has named each version of its operating system for Macs after big cats—Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and now, Lion. Each release adds features, fixes bugs, and alters the user interface at least a bit. The result is a Mac that’s more powerful, more secure, and easier to use.
In Apple’s relentless drive forward, each new release also has greater minimum system requirements than the one before it and enforces new standards for software. Older hardware becomes obsolete; older software becomes incompatible. Inevitably, some users feel left out—especially if keeping up with Apple means laying out a significant amount of money, giving up a favorite piece of software that’s no longer being developed, or changing deeply ingrained habits. But most people find that the rewards outweigh the pain.
This time, however, the changes are especially profound. They start with something subtle yet important: Apple has quietly dropped the “Mac” from “Mac OS X” in many of its marketing materials, often referring to the new version, released in July 2011, as “OS X 10.7 Lion.” This hints at the fact that Apple’s operating system for desktop and laptop Macs is starting to look more like its operating system for handheld devices. At the same time, iOS, which powers the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, is slowly gaining capabilities formerly found only in Mac OS X. Already pundits have begun to speculate that in a few years, the two operating systems will converge, and that Apple devices of every size and shape will use essentially the same software. Whether or not that eventually happens, Lion users will certainly notice a great many changes, mostly in the direction of greater simplicity and reduced clutter—but perhaps also a few unwelcome complications.
The good and bad news starts with installer. For the first time ever, Apple is selling a major operating system upgrade online, through the Mac App Store. For people who are already running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and have fast Internet connections, this will mean a speedier upgrade—no waiting for a FedEx delivery or standing in line at an Apple Store, no messing with DVDs—and a surprisingly low price, too: $29.99 for as many Macs as you own. On the other hand, those with slow Internet access may prefer to wait for Apple to release Lion on a thumb drive in August for $69—and those with older versions of Mac OS X (which can’t use the Mac App Store) might find the upgrade process to be cumbersome.
Beyond the mechanics of obtaining and installing the upgrade, the changes in Lion have other potentially troubling implications. A great many Mac users are up in arms over the loss of Rosetta, the software that lets an Intel-based Mac run older software designed for PowerPC processors. And the absence of a bootable installer DVD raises worries about restoring a damaged system, or reinstalling Mac OS X if that becomes necessary. Despite Apple’s efforts to make Lion easier to install than any previous big cat, the changes may leave users feeling disoriented and apprehensive about this upgrade.
That’s why I wrote this book: to guide you through the entire process, eliminating confusion and uncertainty. I’ve written Take Control books about upgrading to the previous four big cats, and have performed a great many test installations of Lion under numerous conditions, so I have a good idea what works, what doesn’t, how to prepare properly, and what to watch out for. I share all that with you in the coming pages. This ebook covers getting your Mac in shape for its new operating system, obtaining the Lion software, choosing an installation method, working your way through the installer, and dealing with post-installation steps and surprises. It will also tell you how to install Lion Server, use the new Recovery mode, troubleshoot installation problems, migrate to a new Mac running Lion, and more.
Version 1.0 of this ebook was released before Lion shipped, in order to help readers prepare for the upgrade so they could jump right in as soon as possible. If you’ve already read that version of the ebook, you should know that this new version, 1.1, not only takes you through the rest of the upgrade process but also fills in many details about Lion that I couldn’t reveal previously because of my nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Apple. I summarize this information, and tell you what to do next, in Welcome Back, Version 1.0 Readers.
Meanwhile, I still expect new information about upgrading to Lion to emerge in the days and weeks after its official release, and if anything significant turns up, I’ll mention it on this book’s blog, update the text of the ebook, or both. To check for an updated copy of this ebook (or any other significant changes), click the link in Ebook Extras.
I’ve carefully arranged this book in logical order—I strongly recommend performing all these steps in the order I present them. You need not learn every last detail, but because the Lion upgrade process includes so many elements that surprised even me, I hope you’ll take the time to read through the whole thing. Here’s a brief overview of the steps you should take.
New Mac? Does your “upgrade” involve moving from a Windows PC or from an older Mac to a new Mac? Read Migrate to a New Mac right away!
Pick up where you left off:
Prepare to upgrade:
Perform the upgrade:
Follow the strategy you selected earlier to run the Lion installer, choosing all the optimal settings and options for your computer and tastes, and making sure all your personal data is still in place afterward. You’ll either:
After the upgrade:
Go beyond the basics:
Version 1.2 is a minor update intended to address a few issues that came to my attention after the release of version 1.1:
Sure! The most important Lion hardware requirement is an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better. To determine if you Intel-based Mac is new enough, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu and look in the Processor line. You are looking for Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon. Unfortunately, Lion won't work with a PowerPC processor.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
How could we not publish such kind words? If you'd like to send us your comments (good or bad, though we hope they're all good), just click the Feedback link on the cover of your copy of the ebook. Be sure to let us know if we can publish your comment. Thanks!
Thanks so much for a super ebook for upgrading to Lion. I upgraded earlier today with my iMac. I had ZERO problems due to your ebook. And, all my third-party apps which I upgraded, as appropriate, worked fine. —Barry B.
I bought both Take Control books—'Upgrading to Lion' and 'Using Lion'. They've been great value and really very useful. I upgraded four Macs with no problems whatsoever after creating a boot disc as described. Where I needed to keep Snow Leopard alongside Lion, because of PPC software, I followed the instructions and once again, experienced a smooth installation. —Dave W, from the UK
Excellent books, and really useful advice. I successfully upgraded to Lion following your advice and guidance....If I had not purchased these books I would have definitely run into trouble. I had no idea the upgrade was something that had to be handled with such a lot of preparation and thought. —Thanks, C.P.
July 5, 2012 -- We don't plan to update the Lion edition of this ebook again, but check the Take Control catalog to find similar titles about later versions of OS X.
—Tonya J Engst
August 15, 2011 --
In Take Control of Upgrading to Lion, I describe the process of creating a bootable Lion installer volume using the disk image hidden inside the Lion installer application (see page 72). Not everyone needs such a thing, but it can be useful for installing Lion onto multiple Macs without having to download the installer repeatedly, and for recovering from disk errors that prevent using Recovery mode.
Although the procedure I discuss in the book is still the only way I know to put a bootable Lion installer volume onto a thumb drive, other USB drive, or SD card, a reader pointed out an easier way to create a bootable DVD from your Lion installer: simply right-click (Control-click) the Install Mac OS X Lion icon, choose Burn “Install Mac OS X Lion” to Disc from the contextual menu, and follow the prompts. That requires fewer steps than going through Disk Utility, and I'm a bit surprised that Apple put this capability there without calling attention to it.
Meanwhile, for those who have already installed Lion and would like to put a Recovery volume on a different disk or SSD from the one holding their main Lion installation, Apple now has a new solution: the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, which Adam Engst describes in this TidBITS article. Again, the main reason to do such a thing is to provide yourself a way to repair and restore files to your Lion volume in case the disk becomes damaged in such a way that ordinary Recovery mode won't work. If you already have a bootable duplicate—which you should!—it's probably unnecessary to go through this extra step, but it could be handy in certain situations, such as when traveling without the drive that holds your duplicate.
August 8, 2011 --
When, in Mac OS X Lion, Apple discontinued support for Rosetta, the software that allowed PowerPC applications to run on Intel-based Macs, one of the major orphaned applications that didn't have a newer Intel-based version was Intuit's Quicken. If you're still looking for a Quicken replacement, read the TidBITS article Finding a Replacement for Quicken for help with the process of finding a replacement.
—Michael E. Cohen
August 8, 2011 --
We’re not surprised that there have been some glitches in the Mac App Store distribution of 1 million copies of Lion in one day, but it’s worth paying attention when you download, since some people—undoubtedly a very small proportion—have seen multiple charges for Lion. Most of the problems appear to be related to using PayPal to pay for the transaction. Some people are having no trouble getting refunds; others are getting the runaround. There’s nothing special to do; just stay alert after placing your order to make sure that if multiple charges do happen, you’ve documented everything for customer service at Apple, PayPal, and your bank. You can read the experiences of affected customers on Apple's Support Communities site.
—Michael E. Cohen
August 6, 2011 --
Take Control author Kirk McElhearn reports in a TidBITS article, Video Viewing in Lion Freezes New iMacs (4 August 2011), about a freezing problem that can occur when new iMacs running Lion attempt to play video after being woken from sleep. Find out the details, the symptoms, and what Apple has done so far to address this issue. (Note: I, too, have a new iMac running Lion, and have seen the problem first-hand.)
—Michael E. Cohen
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