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Nancy's Leopard Upgrade Advice & Tips for Mac Novices

Computing with Bifocals - Nancy's Leopard Upgrade Advice & Tips for Mac Novices

November 14th, 2007

The new Mac operating system 10.5, better known as Leopard, is out.  I was one of those people waiting in line outside my nearby Apple store to buy it the day it was released.  In fact, I was second in line.  It is really fun to wait in line with 500 of your closest friends.  Really.  No Really.   People walk by and give you strange looks or send their kids over to ask why you are all in line.  Meanwhile, you get to talk about Macs to everyone around you.

So, I'm being asked the same question about Leopard that I was asked about Tiger -- "I'm a beginner, should I upgrade?"  And I'm giving the same answer -- "Maybe". 

In my opinion it depends on your comfort level with Tiger.  If you feel that you know Tiger well enough to start learning something new, then why not move on to Leopard.  Leopard has some cool bells and whistles.  But if you are still learning Tiger, then maybe you want to wait until you are comfortable with your Mac operating system as a whole before you add another layer.  Leopard isn't going anywhere.  You can add it a month or more from now and by that time the glitches will have been addressed and fixed.

If you do decide to add it now you should listen to the experts and install it using the archive and install method of installation.  Leopard is a sophisticated piece of software and the more sophisticated something is, the greater the chance that something can go wrong.  You need to protect your current operating system until you are comfortable that the new system is functioning properly, and using the archive and install method will help insure that.

Below you will find simple to follow instructions for doing an archive and install installation of Leopard if you are currently running Tiger on your Mac.  Don't try to use these instructions if you are jumping from Panther or some earlier OS to Leopard. 

I wrote these after completing my own installation and then they were tested by a group of beginners.

Basic Steps For An Archive And Install of Leopard

Recommendation:  Backup your files before you start.  Even though the Archive and Install process will preserve all  user settings, mail keychains, photos, music, etc. if everything works properly, you should remember there are no guarantees.

When you do an Archive and Install your current operating system is preserved in a special folder, called Previous Systems, on your hard drive.  If anything goes wrong with the installation of your new operating system, you will be able to retrieve your old operating system.  You should keep that preserved folder until you are sure that everything is working fine with the new system.  Therefore, an Archive and Install procedure requires that you have enough space on your hard drive to hold both the old operating system and new operating system during this process.

1.    Insert the Leopard installation disk.
2.    Open the CD icon and double click on the Install icon.
3.    Click on Restart.  You will be asked for your Administrative password.
4.    The restart will boot off the installation disk.
5.    Walk through the installation process until you get to the part where you are asked to select a destination (target) drive. 

a.    This step is recommended but not required.  Go to the Menu bar, select Utilities and then select Disk Utility.  That will launch Disk Utility.  Then select Installation Target disk.  Choose “Repair Disk Permission”.  If any errors are reported, repeat the process.  Next select “Repair Disk”.  If any errors are reported, repeat the step.  When the process is finished, click “Close Disk Utility”.  You will be back at the Select Destination (target) drive window referenced in step 5.
6.    Click the Option button.  When the window opens, choose “Archive and Install” as the destination and then continue through the installation process.
7.    The next screen lets you make some customization choices.  For instance, you can choose to not install additional localization's (language translations), and printer drivers.  Not doing so will save hard drive space.  I recommend that you do elect to install fonts.
8.    You will be asked if you want to check the installation CD.  That means check to see if it is damaged in any way.  This step is up to you.  It takes a very long time.  Since you are doing an archive and install you are basically protected from problems so you can skip it if you wish.  It is completely up to you.
9.    When Time Machine comes up, be sure to tell it not to back up your back ups.  For example, I don’t need Time Machine backing up the SuperDuper backup that I run every night.

When the installation finishes you will see your shiny new desktop with the black apple at the top left of the menu bar, where the blue one used to sit and the beautiful new three deminisional Dock.  Before you get too involved playing with everything, check to make sure all your music, photos, email, etc. are still in place.

After running Leopard for a few days, when you know everything is working just fine, don't forget to go to your hard drive and discard the Previous Systems folder that contains your old operating system.  Drag it to the trash and empty the trash to remove it from your hard drive.  As long as it stays in your trash it is still taking up space (lots of space).

In my next column I will cover some of the new treats available as in Leopard.  Let the fun begin.

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.

Computing with Bifocals Archives.

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