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Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion
Install OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion with confidence!
Best-selling author Joe Kissell guides you through every step in the process of upgrading to Mountain Lion. You'll begin with a compatibility check, learn to make a suitable pre-upgrade backup, and then follow assorted pre-upgrade advice, including managing your Apple ID, deleting digital detritus, and making a safe copy of the installer file. Joe helps you pick an upgrade plan: in-place (easy), clean install (for control freaks), over Leopard (a time-saving option), and even how to move your stuff from an older Mac to a new one that's running Mountain Lion. He also describes the basics of installing Mountain Lion Server. After guiding you through the upgrade, Joe gets you started with key post-installation steps. You'll also find troubleshooting advice in case of upgrade failure, along with a chapter about Recovery mode.
In particular, you'll learn how to:
Manage iCloud: During your Mountain Lion installation, you'll be asked for an Apple ID, but should you enter one? And, if you have more than one, which one? You'll find advice for sorting out your Apple ID before you enter the installer.
Upgrade from Tiger or Leopard: How will you download the installer from the Mac App Store on one of these Macs? What about Rosetta for PowerPC-based apps? Joe answers these questions and discusses the special challenges you'll encounter when trying to upgrade efficiently from 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard.
Handle Your Hardware: Check for Mountain Lion compatibility, clear extra files and software off your disk, and test your Mac to be sure all the hardware and disks are running properly—better to discover and correct a problem now than on upgrade day.
Deal with duplication: Learn why having a duplicate of your hard disk is essential before installing Mountain Lion, and how to make one. Also, get help with backing up a Windows volume, should you be running Windows on your Mac via Boot Camp.
Consider a few geeky details: If you secure your data and documents with disk encryption now, or would like to under Mountain Lion, get advice on what to do before you upgrade and learn why Joe likes Apple's FileVault 2. Also, read what Joe thinks of partitioning and what you might want to do about it before installing.
Perform the upgrade: Run the Mountain Lion installer, choosing all the optimal settings and options for your computer and tastes, and make sure all your personal data is still in place afterward.
Perform post-installation tasks: You're not done when the installer is - be sure to run Software Update, set up necessary user accounts, and (perhaps) turn on FileVault and Time Machine. You'll find help with troubleshooting any problems that may have occurred with your upgrade.
Go beyond the basics: Joe even covers topics such as the basics of installing Mountain Lion Server; moving from an older Mac to a newer one that already has Mountain Lion installed; and using Recovery mode to fix disk problems, reinstall Mountain Lion, and perform other maintenance tasks.
iPad & Kindle
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 10.8 Mountain 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.
Only a year ago—in July 2011—Apple released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. At that time I imagined the next version of the operating system would be a good way off. Perhaps I’d have a couple of years before I’d start writing the next installment of my Take Control of Upgrading to… series, which began with the introduction of Panther in 2003.
But then, in February 2012, Apple surprised everyone by announcing that Lion’s successor, 10.8 Mountain Lion, would be out within a matter of months. I quickly rearranged my schedule so that I could continue my nine-year tradition of delivering books to help readers through the upgrade process.
Apple has progressively made upgrading simpler, safer, and less expensive. Upgrading from Lion to Mountain Lion will be, for many people, a painless exercise consisting of a $20 purchase, perhaps a few hours of waiting for an installer to download, and then a couple of clicks to perform the installation itself. Hardly something that requires over 150 pages of documentation!
And yet, upgrading always involves some hidden perils. For example, Apple doesn’t force you to back up your Mac before upgrading, or even suggest that it’s a good idea. But if something goes wrong during the process, or if you finish the upgrade but then realize you have to return to your earlier system for some reason, a proper backup could be your only salvation. As a result, I talk at length in this book about how to back up your Mac before upgrading—and how to use that backup to perform a clean installation of Mountain Lion, to solve problems, and to revert to your old system if the need arises.
I also explain why Apple’s minimum system requirements don’t tell the whole story about what you need to run Mountain Lion successfully, offer advice on avoiding software incompatibilities, show you how to recover disk space if you don’t have enough to upgrade your system, and explore several other issues that can complicate the process.
In particular, although upgrading from Lion or even Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion is usually easy, upgrading from older “big cats” isn’t. Some people own Macs that can run Mountain Lion but that are still running 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard. This is a real problem for users who want to upgrade those computers to run Mountain Lion, because Apple is distributing Mountain Lion only as a digital download from the Mac App Store—which requires 10.6 Snow Leopard or later!
For the first time ever, Apple won’t provide any physical installation media for Mountain Lion, not even as an option. This poses problems not only for those with older operating systems, but also for those without robust broadband connections that can handle a 4+ GB download. And even if you find another way to obtain a Mountain Lion installer, you may find that it refuses to run on your older system.
Furthermore, users who are still running Snow Leopard or earlier may have PowerPC applications that rely on the Rosetta software Apple discontinued with Lion. That means an upgrade without the necessary preparation steps can leave them with no way to do their work.
All these problems have solutions, which you’ll find in the pages ahead. You’ll also learn how to install Mountain Lion Server, how to migrate to a new Mac that’s running Mountain Lion, and how to use Mountain Lion’s Recovery mode for troubleshooting.
If you’ve upgraded Mac OS X numerous times, keep excellent backups, have up-to-date hardware and software, and consider yourself technically proficient, then really…you don’t need this book. But if you count yourself among those feeling anxiety, confusion, or uncertainty about upgrading to Mountain Lion, you’ve come to the right place. In this book, I spell everything out in detail. Follow my steps carefully, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
I’ve carefully arranged this book in logical order—I strongly recommend performing these steps in the order I present them. You need not learn every last detail, but I hope you’ll at least skim the whole thing. Here’s a brief overview of the steps you should take.
Cliffhanger: The remaining steps will include information that I can reveal only after Mountain Lion is released (see Meet Me Back Here on Upgrade Day). But a rough outline of the steps you’ll undertake follows.
Version 1.2 is a minor update intended to address several issues I learned about in the week or so following Mountain Lion’s release. Apart from small typographical changes, this version of the book changes the following:
Mountain Lion's basic hardware requirements are somewhat complex. According to Apple, you'll need not just an Intel Core 2 Duo or better processor, but also a logic board that’s designed to boot into a 64-bit kernel, as well as an "advanced GPU (graphics processing unit) chipset." Apple lists which Mac models meet these requirements at http://www.apple.com/osx/specs/.
To find out which Mac model you have:
If you're running 10.7 Lion, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu and then click More Info. Then choose Window > About This Mac.
If you're running 10.6 Snow Leopard or earlier, well, you could buy this ebook for more help—you can ask for a refund if it turns out that your Mac is too old. Another resource is the MacTracker app.
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!
I just did an upgrade to Mountain Lion from Lion and all I can say is....WOW! Your Take Control instructions were educational, informative, and well directed. —Kristopher Johnson
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.
We don't plan to update this 10.8 Mountain Lion ebook again. For the 10.9 Mavericks edition of this ebook, see Take Control of Upgrading to Mavericks.
October 14, 2013 --
Who is the tall dark stranger riding into town? Mavericks is its name. Pull up a chair and sit down for a spell as Joe Kissell tells Chuck Joiner of MacVoices what you need to do to prepare your Mac for OS X 10.9 Mavericks. The discussion includes backup strategies, software upgrades, and more. Special bonus for viewers of the video feed: the striking beauty of Joe's aloha shirt in gorgeous digital color!
—Michael E. Cohen
August 1, 2012 --
We have just held the second TidBITS Presents live event using Google+ Hangouts, this one dedicated to Mountain Lion. Joe Kissell and Matt Neuberg, authors respectively of Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion and Take Control Using Mountain Lion, each gave live presentations and answered questions from viewers. Why are we telling you about it after the event is over? Because the Internet never forgets: although you won't be able to ask questions, you can view and listen to the event in its entirety on our TidBITS Presents page.
—Michael E. Cohen
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