As you all probably know by now, Mountain Lion was released yesterday. Unless, you’re one of those early adapter types, you’re probably holding out on upgrading your Mac for the weekend. In my opinion, though, the best time to upgrade to a new version of an operating system is when the first update comes out. In Mountain Lion’s case, that would be 10.8.1. The first version is when the really annoying bugs are fixed and the chances of the operating system screwing the user’s computer are really low.
If you still think you’re ready for the first version of Apple’s latest, greatest, this guide should help you prepare your Mac for the onslaught!
I cannot stress this point enough. Please make a backup of all your important documents before upgrading. While, Apple definitely tests their installation process hundreds, if not thousands, of times, this is a computer and murphy will strike when you lease expect him to. Since, I use Time Machine for backups, I always have a backup of my data with me. I still verified if all was well with the data and proceeded to the next step.
Take a backup of your data and thank me later.
Verify Disk/File System
This is a step that I’ve not seen anyone recommend but it is, in my opinion, the most important step in the whole upgrade process. Mac OS X uses the hfs file system for storing all your files. Normally, a file system is something the user should not be concerned with, but when things go wrong in the file system, the user has the most to lose. A bad sector on the hard disk or an error with the file system structures can lead to data loss and more.
Reboot your Mac and press and hold the Option key when the computer is booting up. This will bring up a menu that’ll let let you select the recovery partition to boot into. Now, select the disk utility option from the window that pops up on the screen.
When Disk Utility launches, select your hard disk volume from the column on the left and click the Repair Disk button on the right. Depending on the size of your hard disk, this process might take a little time. Use this time to find a spare USB drive or an external hard drive with atleast 5 GBs of free space. We’ll need it for the next step.
Download Mountain Lion
This one’s easy!
Reboot your computer back to Lion and start downloading Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store. It costs $19 and Apple really couldn’t have made it easier to download it. The installer is about 4.6GB so this might take a while, if you like in a Bandwidth impoverished countries of the world like I do.
When the download completes, the installer will launch automatically. Quit it (Use Command+Q since the installer doesn’t have an option to quit).
Go to the Applications folder and copy the installer (named Mountain Lion Installer) to the spare disk you found earlier. This is needed because once Mountain Lion is installed the installer is deleted and to use it again you’ll have to download the full 4.6GBs again, which may be a little painful.
That’s it! You’re all set to install Mountain Lion. The installer itself is pretty simple and doesn’t require too much user intervention. Let the installer do it’s magic.