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Happy Snow Leopard Day

This article was written by in Software. 6 comments.

For the increasing number of Mac users in the audience, today’s the day to start deciding whether you want to upgrade your operating system: “Snow Leopard” is on the scene.

Number-wise, this is a move to OS 10.6. It will only work on Apple computers with an Intel processor and at least 1 GB of RAM. For anybody whose Mac came with 10.5 (Leopard), this should include you. And for you, it’s a $29 upgrade. (Users of 10.4 “Tiger” will need to spend more if they want to upgrade, but it’s still possible.)

The $29 fee is kind of a double-edged sword for me: it’s the cheapest operating system upgrade of, I think, my entire life. And yet, because it’s so inexpensive, that must mean it’s not necessarily worthwhile. Apple’s been pretty upfront about that, though… most of the changes are pretty boring.

Here’s what I recommend for right now:

  • Find yourself a good, detailed review of the Snow Leopard features
  • Wait at least a week and keep your ear to the ground for problems people are having: I’ll be watching my Apple friends on Twitter and this part of the macnn.com forum.
  • Not sure how often this will be updated, but I also found a list of programs that we know don’t work (or are restricted) with Snow Leopard
  • If you can manage it without losing any software, I strong recommend doing a clean install that wipes your hard drive first. In my experience–and I used to do this for a living–the only reason to upgrade an operating system (as opposed to a clean install), is to document what goes wrong.

Personally, I’ll be watching to see what new gee-whiz features Apple will soon introduce that won’t work on anything earlier than 10.6.

Updated March 13, 2011 and originally published August 28, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar novice

any advice on how to do the clean install?

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avatar Smithee

The short version: 1) update existing applications in 10.5, 2) backup everything, 3) look for the “erase and install” option on the DVD.

More here: http://www.tuaw.com/2009/08/27/getting-ready-for-snow-leopard/

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avatar Jason Kratz

“And yet, because it’s so inexpensive, that must mean it’s not necessarily worthwhile. Apple’s been pretty upfront about that, though… most of the changes are pretty boring.”

Thats an interesting take on it. What is boring about a smaller, faster OS, that has actually a lot of new features? Look at the page on Apple, past the 3 or so items they think are a big deal, and its a huge upgrade. There are nice updates all around the board.

Most definitely worth the $30.

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avatar Mike L

Ran the install yesterday and have a couple of notes:
#1 – there is not (at least I didn’t see one) a clean install option. Upgrade only.
#2 – my ENTIRE system is running extremely faster. The notes I have read on this is that they rewrote a lot of how the software uses the hardware, which sounded like marketing garbage, but it really is blazingly faster – it even sped up my internet browsing, and i esp notice when I’m on a slower DSL connection! Great news all around here.
#3 – only downside was that parallels desktop 3.0 is on the incompatible list, so I had to upgrade it to 4.0, but it wouldn’t go through properly because it couldn’t access the old 3.0 software. My problem here is more with Parallels than Apple, and have sent them a couple nasty e-mails trying to get it resolved (terrible company since I started using them 3 years ago).

The whole process took me about an hour total on my 2007 macbook pro (aside from the parallels issues). Good luck and trust the upgrade!

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avatar Mike L

***Update*** Parallels Desktop customer service actually came through and helped me out with my problem (somewhat, I still had to figure out a lot of the issue on my own). I am now fully happy with Snow Leopard!

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avatar Smithee

Here’s an even friendlier set of instructions, which also covers how to do a clean install:


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