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Before installing Snow Leopard be sure to read our Apple upgrade warning page first.

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Update 10/23/13 See our Mac OX X 10.9 (Mavericks) upgrade warnings page here: http://www.macmedics.com/mavericks

Update 1/27/10: This topic was mentioned on the Apple forums. See the link here.

Apple released Snow Leopard to the public on August 28. This new version of OS X leaves behind support for the Power PC and it will only run on Intel based Macintosh computers. It’s faster, smaller in size, and much cheaper then previous Apple operating systems. At $29 it’s a good value and well worth the investment. It’s $29 for the single user, $49 for a 5 user family pack, and Tiger users can upgrade via the Mac Box Set which includes iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 as well as Snow Leopard.

Update 9/12/08: MacMedics has both Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Family Packs in stock in both Lanham and Millersville locations.

Our initial reaction to Snow Leopard has been good, and most of the MacMedics are running it now and have been using it and testing it for some time. While we are excited for it, we have not yet begun to install it for clients just yet.

Before you take the leap to Snow Leopard (or any other update to Apple’s OS) be sure to read our software upgrade warnings page first. It can be found here, but to get the word our we’ve copied the text of the page to this Blog post.

As noted below, MacMedics also strongly recommends you have a tested and fully functional back up in place BEFORE you install any Apple system software update. Something could go wrong, and you could have a major problem on your hands. Whenever Apple releases a major update to OS X we usually see 4 or 5 clients’ hard drives die that first day. If your hard drive is dying or already unhealthy, the extra hard drive activity needed to install a major update is often all it takes to kill a hard drive. Please see our web page on the subject of hard drive failures.

For more detailed information on installing Apple system updates, please see details below.

Upgrading to Snow Leopard and/or installing any Apple OS X software update

Running a software update from Apple (or elsewhere) as soon as it pops up is not always the best plan. In our travels we very frequently see clients who have run a software update without planning ahead for it, and as a result end up with annoying issues, sudden incompatibilities, and even data loss. One thing to consider is how healthy your hard drive is overall before running an update. Never try to solve an issue such as system lock ups or crashing by installing the latest update, as symptoms like those can be exasperated by applying a software update.

Here’s our safety checklist for running software updates or installing a system upgrade.

1. Back up your data, and double check your back up before installing any update. [Don’t forget to unplug that back-up before installing an update]

2. Repair permissions – It’s not going to hurt anything, so a quick permission repair is always a good idea.

3. Disconnect any USB or FireWire hard drives, devices, or hubs.

4. Make sure you have enough free space on your hard drive – A safe bet is to have 10% of your total hard drive free.

5. Quit all applications while running software updates. The updates should be the only process running.

6. Consider the possibility that major applications and/or features might be affected by an Apple software update or system upgrade.

Don’t run a software update on a production machine while on a deadline. You want to be certain that the update will not cause more problems than it was designed to fix. If your machine is working, let it continue working as is, and plan to install the update after you know it’s not going to cause any issues for you. We install the updates on our test machines here at MacMedics as soon as they are released to Apple Developers, and again when they are released to the public.

Can your hard drive handle Snow Leopard?

Installing a new OS is like taking your hard drive to the gym. It can be quite a workout for an older hard drive, and whenever a new OS comes out, we always see a few dead hard drives as a result. No matter what you do, make sure you have a back up of your data before you begin! Also, don’t forget (or skip over) the important task of TESTING your back up. Time Machine is what many clients are running, and while it works most of the time, it can suffer from issues. It’s very hard to test that a Time Machine back up is totally working, and we often find ones that don’t work. Just keep that in mind when you plan your upgrade.

Prices have dropped significantly on hard drives over the last year or so. MacMedics now recommends retiring hard drives after three years in desktops, and two years in laptops. Be sure to check out new web page to find out why you should retire your older hard drive and to learn about our 5 rules of data protection and preservation. Why take a chance with your data when faster, larger, and generally more reliable drives are available. Moving to Snow Leopard is a great opportunity to get a new drive, while at the same time insuring your data is safe.