[X-Newbies] Your opinion on updating my OS

Al Poulin alpoulin at cox.net
Sat Sep 6 14:57:44 PDT 2008


By now, you would have received a few responses from folks at the iMac  
list or the G-List.  There are just more people there ready to help.   
I urge you to subscribe at:

And while you are in that neighborhood, go back to the lowendmac.com  
home page and sniff around.  Anyway, i'll pass on a few thoughts.

On Sep 4, 2008, at 1:19 PM, <greered at appstate.edu>  
<greered at appstate.edu> wrote:
> Hello -
> I am looking for opinions on updating from 10.4.6 to whatever on my  
> maxed out 1.42 GHz eMac.

Hopefully "maxed out" means you have at least 1 or 2 GB RAM.  And you  
have a sweet machine.

Here, "updating" means going to the latest version of the current OS,  
meaning 10.4.11.  This includes Safari 3 which is much improved  
version which also comes with 10.5 Leopard.  Use the "combo" update  
rather than a series of incremental updates.
> Everything is working and I have a lot of stuff I really don't want  
> to break, some of which I would probably have
> to pay dearly to update/upgrade.

Hopefully, "a lot of stuff" means a bunch of applications in their  
proper place, the Applications folder, and that all your data is in  
your Users folder  under your Home folder.  Updating your OS will  
leave your Users folder alone.  And if you do not have a bunch of  
hacks, including some odd-ball shareware, and you have not made cute  
changes via Terminal, which modify the way your OS works, all your  
applications will also be left alone.

Now, to "upgrade" means something else:  going to 10.5 Leopard.  Here,  
there are many new capabilities.  Apple's own applications are  
improved.  However, note that your eMac will not support all of  
Leopard's capabilities.  For example, you do not meet requirements for  
one of the Leopard features, DVD Player.  You cannot do Boot Camp, or  
load Windows with Parallels.

Also, there is the possibility that a new version of the OS can leave  
applications behind until the vendor catches up with an update.  Watch  
for some impact if you run old peripheral devices where you would need  
to update the drivers.

If you upgrade to Leopard, do NOT take the "Upgrade" option given to  
you by the installer.  This merely interleaves the new 10.5 software  
with portions of the 10.4.  Small things can go awry, even to  
disaster.  Go for the Archive and Install option.  This puts the old  
OS 10.4 aside in a safe place, and it drops the entire new 10.5  
package in place, without touching your applications and data.  And it  
still protects your system settings.  David Pogue's recent editions of  
his Mac OS X The Missing Manual and similar publications which may be  
in your campus library go into more detail.  Also, there is plenty of  
guidance along this line on the web.

>  I have a silver powerbook that I can play with if I want to test  
> but hate to break
> it also since I do a lot with it, but I could.

Yes, if you also want to update/upgrade it.  But to put a fine point  
on all the above, you should back up anything you cannot afford to  
lose.  Burn to CDs or DVDs.  Buy or borrow an external hard drive.  Do  
it at the computer lab on campus.  Even some iPods have the same  
capacity as the original hard drive on  your eMac.   Also, you can  
clone your hard drive or parts of it with Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC)  
(free) or with SuperDuper ($30).  Macworld has reviews on the latest  
versions online.
> What are your benchmarks for determining if/when you update your  
> system?

Time has gone by since the release of the software and bug fixes have  
come out.  The new software has at least one feature I want.  The  
machine meets the minimum requirements.  The idea of keeping up with  
the latest versions of applications, both Apple and non-Apple, which  
sometimes leave older versions of the OS behind.

Final comment, after I bought an iMac with OS 10.5, I upgraded my 12"  
iBook, G4/1.33 GHz (2005) from 10.4 to 10.5, just to keep the OSs the  
same.  I especially love the new version of SpotLight.  It is a great  
improvement over the version in 10.4, even to giving me hits on e- 
mails that I have stored.

Good Luck in your decision,
Al Poulin

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