Install OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion with confidence!

Take Control of
Upgrading to Mountain Lion

Joe Kissell

Make the move to Mountain Lion with Joe Kissell’s expert advice! Sort out compatibility issues, deal with Apple IDs, make a suitable backup, and pick your upgrade plan — including a clean install. You’ll also learn about key post-upgrade tasks, what to do if something goes terribly wrong, and how to “upgrade” to Mountain Lion while moving from an older Mac or Windows PC.

This product has been discontinued.

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.

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.

What’s New in Version 1.2

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:

  • Clarifies an extra step you may need to perform to uncheck a volume’s Ignore Ownership setting; see the sidebar RTFM
  • Adds a note about Mountain Lion’s Web Sharing feature in Check Service Settings and Turn Deactivated Features Back On
  • Includes direct URLs for Mountain Lion in Obtain the Installer, and Mountain Lion Server in Install Mountain Lion Server
  • Updates the sidebar Make a Bootable Mountain Lion Installer Volume to give directions for using Lion DiskMaker
  • Adds a recommendation to Turn Off Anti-malware Software to avoid potential problems downloading Mountain Lion
  • Adds a step in Migrate from Another Mac to avoid a crashing bug in Migration Assistant

Before I buy this ebook, can you tell me if my Macintosh will work with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion?

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

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.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Mountain Lion Upgrade Quick Start
  • Older Cat? Learn New Tricks
  • Check Your Mac for Compatibility
  • Get Your Head in the Cloud
  • Back Up Your Disk
  • Clean Up Your Mac
  • Make Sure Your Disk Is Ready
  • Decide on an Installation Method
  • Meet Me Back Here on Upgrade Day
  • Make Final Preparations
  • Upgrade Using Plan A: In-place Upgrade
  • Upgrade Using Plan B: Clean Install
  • Upgrade Using Plan C: Install over Leopard
  • Perform Post-installation Tasks
  • Troubleshoot Upgrade Problems
  • Install Mountain Lion Server
  • Migrate to a New Mac
  • Use Recovery Mode
  • September 5, 2014 -- We don't plan to update the Mountain Lion edition of this ebook again, but check the <a href=catalog>Take Control catalog</a> to find similar titles about later versions of OS X.


    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

    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.

    Great Value

    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

    Really Useful Advice

    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.

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